20 minutes into watching this movie, I could feel the director's dilemma. How can one tell a credible story of a reformed criminal gangster, who now has a heart of gold, full of regrets, while still meeting fan's expectations of Rajnikanth, India's only true superstar. Well, he has mostly succeeded, but the director's ending , I felt, just ruined all the fun.
I have never done this, but it was my first Rajni movie, first day, first show. Don't ask me how I was lured, but maybe I just wanted to see what the hype and hoopla was all about. So I got to watch this movie from the 3rd row of an AC multiplex in Bangalore, at 9am on the first day itself. It was crazy. Fans were screaming, whistling, cat calls and claps. Grownups were behaving like kids. When we first see him, Kabali is a 60 years old, just released from prison, and he is soon surrounded by his loyal supporters, who now run a charity organization. But first, he visits the current leader of his rival gang and beats them all to pulp, for revenge.
This is the dilemma I was talking about. This contrast was too much for me to handle. During the first half, he is trying to find out what happened to his beloved wife, and just after intermission we find out that he has a daughter, and his wife is also well and alive. Ok, so everyone is alive. What is the need to continue this story then, when there is no need for revenge, the old man just got his family back. He should now just retire and spend the rest of his days with them.
Instead, circumstances cause him to return to his gangster way of life. More kills, more thrills. Sure , this is fun. But just when he has become the undisputed Don of all of Malaysia, the director decides to tell his story, and has somebody else walk in and kill him.
I could feel the shock of the audience when the credits rolled. No more claps, no whistles. I guess it was too much for them to bear. They all just walked out quietly from the theatre.
PS: That one hour flashback was like a one hour documentary. That should have been fully cut.