I had the opportunity to view the film of the matinee idol of Tamil Nadu- now in his sixties but still considered 'super star' and the highest paid in Tamil Nadu Rajni Kanth's ‘Kabali'. My mind went back to fifties - as a child of eleven or twelve. It was the first day first show of 'Kabali’ at the Colombo Cinema and it was a single show at 4 pm only. I was able to witness the anxious crowds in the queue, holding each others shoulders in order not to miss his place in the queue.
I was a bit disturbed by an elderly Muslim film buff, who was always trying to get in front of me! I offered my place willingly to him to show my generosity; But not a word of thanks! Anyway I was lucky enough to get a ticket in the ODC. It was in 'G' row, the first seat in the right, three seats from mine were not occupied. Somebody came and tried to sit in one of the seats… "No, you can't sit in this seat! I have kept it aside for my family members… The newcomer argued…. He said: “Don’t you see the back rows? The theatre management has kept ‘Reserved’ cards… The other seats like this are free to all… Anybody can sit anywhere! All of a sudden a call to the cellular phone…. Where are you? Where? In bus? Traffic?”
While he was at it, the film show began. Still the fellow was trying to call his beloved ones!
A thundering applaud and uproar… Clapping! Hooting!! It was a mix up of the uproar and the sound of the film track… After the titles the film frame No. 1, a close up of man's feet wearing a pointed shoe… The sound track was thundering! And the film audience was uproaring! During the first 20 minutes Rajni Kanth's full frame appeared on the screen, it was only the echo of sounds! Was it a planned promotion campaign or was it really something happened by heart and soul?
From there onwards it was fast run new model cars going on some highways, slamming the enemy…chitty chitty bang bang… People get killed like flies! Or they run after each other like rats, cats or dogs! Isn't there a police protection? No, they come to the scene after it is all over!
Technically perfect. The sound track is uproaring. There was some dialogue about the pride of the Tamil nationality. And what happens in the film?
Towards the end of the first half the hero gets killed… His fiancé also gets killed brutally. The fiancé delivers a baby in the second half… on the mortuary table… She didn't have a big belly according to what we saw! And the baby is born after her death… And the funniest thing of all …
The hero is back too! Hindu Myth…? Some believe that even Ravan is alive!
Then the Big War! It's all chitty chitty Bang bang…Then after that lots of explosions! Lot of killings! At times the screen is filled with exploded glass pieces! Like some scattered flowers.
Ultimately the hero is the successor. When people say he is a hero…. The hero, ‘Kabali’, says “I am a rowdy!”
South Indian Cinema's explanation of ‘heroism'. It's a happy ending.
All are happy and got the ultimate satisfaction of entertainment. It's not an easy task to get the audience into cinema theatres.
It's a huge gambling. Majority of our film-makers are influenced by the South Indian Cinema since 1947. Still it prevails!
"Kabali" is a film which takes the South Indian cinema to its heights. Masses are entertained in many countries. Essentially it's Indian whether we agree or not!