With Kaala’s teaser, director Pa Ranjith once again grabs headlines. If his previous film Kabali, also with superstar Rajinikanth, dealt with the marginalisation of people, it is evident he has something similar planned with this film too.
On first viewing, the many similarities between the two projects swim into view. The visuals, the music, the punch lines… there’s a strong sense of deja vu. But, if Kabali was about the life and times of Rajini’s character Kabaliswaran, a much-respected leader who represents oppressed Tamils in Malaysia, here, he’s Karikaalan, who steps up against the evil forces who take advantage of his people.
Pa Ranjith has always tried to convey his political stand with regard to the uplift of the downtrodden. Attakathi, Madras and Kabali have a leader that people look up to. Each film is set in a different milieu and tackles local issues. So, if it was a wall in Madras and the Malaysia gangster scene in Kabali, it is the slums of Mumbai in Kaali, with a resplendent-in-white Nana Patekar in contrast to Rajinikanth who wears black and speaks of how he loves the dirt.
In fact, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani plays a cameo in the film too. And, you can expect the film to speak about a fairer world where everyone gets justice. Ranjith is a smart filmmaker, who buries hidden meaning in scenes. And so, his movies deserve a second, even third watch, just to understand them. As a viewer invested in his movies, you enjoy the process of discovery. When was the last time someone had you pore over the walls in every frame to see who’s painting hangs there as inspiration or scan the bookshelves of the protagonist to check what he/she’s reading?
That said, while the script is rich with meaning, the scene sometimes falls short, thanks to the desperate attempt to keep it massy. And so, while the teaser of Kaala impresses, it also leaves you feeling a little cheated with the predictability. You expected this from Ranjith. What you hoped for and did not get is a de-glam, realistic, non-punchline teaser where a young fiery filmmaker works on his second film with a reigning superstar, and gives the audience back the actor they so loved in the 80s till he became a star.
But, one thing is certain. This film too will make you think. Of privilege, suppression and the need for a revolution.