Karikalan aka Kaala (Rajinikanth) is the head of people living in Dharavi in Mumbai. Even as fighting for the rights of the poor, he lives a happy life with his wife Selvi (Easwari Rao), four sons, daughters-in-law and grand children.
Hari Dhadha (Nana Patekar), a powerful politician, wants to acquire the slum area of Dharavi in the name of development. But his real intention is to sell it to corporates. Kaala opposes this.
One day, Hari visits Dharavi to warn Kaala, but gets insulted as Kaala refuses to allow him to go out. Enraged Hari vows to put an end to Kaala but ends up killing his wife and son.
Now, Kaala decides to put full-stop to the atrocities of Hari. A cat and mouse game starts and who emerges victorious at the end is the rest of the story. In the meantime, Kaala also gets an opportunity to meet his ex-flame Zareena (Huma Qureshi), who returns from abroad to reform the slum.
After Kabali, it’s once again an out and out Ranjith film with Rajini moments. The director has utilised the medium and Rajini power to drive home his thoughts and philosophies.
The film shows Hinduism in bad light, and scenes involving Nana Patekar reminds one of, well, it’s an open secret. Rajini’s screen presence and performance is amazing at this age (68) and there are some goosebump moments for his fans.
Easwari Rao has finally got a character to show her skills. Huma Qureshi as Zareena fits well to her role, while Nana Patekar is menacing. Samuthirakani as Kaala’s Man Friday is good.
The rest of the cast includes Anjali Patil, Sayaji Shinde, Sampath Raj and Arul Doss. Murali G’s cinematography takes us to the slum of Dharavi and the shades of white and black have been shown aptly.
Sreekar Prasad’s editing could have been more sharp, while Santhosh Narayanan’s songs remind his work in Kabali. But the background score is racy.
On the whole, though there are scenes for Rajini fans, Kaala is a Ranjith film with loaded political messages. The film might trigger controversies in political arena.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Kaala – Slumdog Millionaire
Direction: Pa. Ranjith
Produced by: Dhanush
Music: Santhosh Narayanan