‘Kaala’ review: A fantastic 51% Rajinikanth – 49% Ranjith movie

‘Kaala’ is the story of a gangster from Tirunelveli — the don who rules Dharavi. Set against the backdrop of urban poverty, the film revolves around Kaala Karikaalan (Rajinikanth) who fights local politicians and the mafia to keep his people and the thriving slum safe from being transformed into a digital space.

On the surface, the premise may seem familiar, the poor pitted against the rich and the underdogs struggling for their rights. But the treatment by director Ranjith makes all the difference. Taking digs at several government schemes with the present day scenes at the slum, all of this is aptly woven into the narrative and makes for a great watch. While ample action and staged fight sequences will keep you tied to your seat, the romance between Kaala and his ex-lover Zareena (Qureshi) is a sight to behold. The movie picks up pace with the introduction of Hari Dada (Patekar) — with his intimidating stance, he is our villain clad in pristine white.

What follows next is entertainment and social commentary, all rolled in one. The director spins an interesting tale, blending the narrative around the entrenched notion that white is pure and black is evil. He makes several valid points this way. Watching Rajinikanth in this avatar on the big screen will be a visual delight for his fans, while the scenes where he fluently speaks Marathi and Hindi will surely make them smile.

Rajinikanth beautifully personifies Ravan, but wait for the climax, as this one isn’t the evil demon from our folklore.