I miss Ranjith, the filmmaker. I know it isn’t fair to compare someone’s previous works with their current one, but I really do miss the filmmaker who put more effort into story telling rather than using the medium to propagate his ideologies. Or maybe I’m not the right target audience for these kind of films. Kaala worked for me in parts but as a whole I felt it needed a little more effort into actually making a “film”.
The movie is about how the powerful people try to grab Dharavi off of the natives and how they keep fighting them off. The whole film felt like the same set of scenes were just repeating all over. Someone tries to do something to Dharavi and Kaala fights them away. Every time the obstacle is different and the way they fight them away is different but it is the same thing over and over again. Maybe the point was to make us realise that’s what has been happening in Dharavi all these years but did it work out on screen? I doubt it.
The personification of a real life politician as villain would have been a great character if he wasn’t someone who was evil just for the sake of being evil. Kaala and Hari keep taunting each other the same way even though they both know that it didn’t out the previous time. Are they trying to convey that mindless behaviour like this never works? Or that’s how things are happening right now? I did not want to ask these questions and just watch the film as a film but I’m not able to help myself. Every character had a straight line journey throughout the film. Hari’s people attack Dharavi, Kaala’s people attack Hari’s people. They kill someone from Kaala’s gang, these guys kill someone from their gang. Kaala taunts Hari by inviting him into his house, Hari taunts Kaala later. It seemed like a cat and mouse duel. None of the events that happened affected anyone in any way other than acting in the way they would usually act for revenge. Maybe they are trying to say all the oppression has made them characterless? (ok I’ll stop)
The music was amazingly in sync with the screenplay though. The build up scenes were scintillating. The romance between Kaala and Zareena, although a little cringy, had beautiful score in the background. Kannamma, being my favourite song of the album, blended in well with the scenes, given that we did not know the context behind the scenes. Whistling gives the right amount of subtlety to Kaala’s build up. Sama Weightu seemed like a forced addition but it worked out as an actual “introduction” song that introduces us to the characters and the place.
I liked how they used colours to paint the scenes and characters. The background and costumes were carefully chosen to reflect each person and the mood of the scene. The climax also had a rainbow of colours to welcome Hari into Dharavi. Leaving the climax open for interpretation while satisfying the “hardcore” Rajini fans was a nice touch.
I was really hoping Kaala would be a Ranjith film and not a Rajini film, It did turn out to be a Ranjith film but not the film I wanted it to be. I learned many things by watching the film but that is not why I personally go to watch a film in theaters. I get that Rajini fans would be happy with this and some poraalis who would orgasm during some of the scenes but I came out of the screen without a change of character, just like the ones in the film.