In Kabali, he is the gangster with a heart of gold. A man who loves strutting about in suits. An Indian who fights for the rights of Tamil workers in Malaysia. A doting husband and caring father. A Good Samaritan who helps drug addicts and frees caged birds. The mannerisms are all there too – the walk with swagger, the crossing of the leg, the beaming smile and the tuck of hand in the pocket. And yes,
He is still invincible. “Itni asaani se marne waala nahi hoon,” says Kabali to let his nemesis know what they are up against.But that’s all there to the film, which relies far too much on the super star credentials of its leading man to carry a listless story forward. The love for slow motion sequences here backfires as the gangster drama unfolds in slo-mo too. There are far too many back stories and flashbacks.In one,
Kabali shares his violence-marred origins story with school students, inspiring one of them to take up arms to avenge his loss and another to accuse him of failing to protect his pregnant wife after two hours and 30 minutes we still don’t know what keeps his empire running given that it is against his principles to trade in drugs or women. Radhika Apte as Kabali’s wife appears more as a model for India’s rich handicraft tradition by ambling about in beautiful saris.
Dhansika is the better-served female character here as a feisty contract killer, whose introduction alone is a giveaway to what her back story is.Rajinikanth displays ample of charisma but his Robin Hood act is not enough to keep the Thalaivar fans entertained.