Why Rajinikanth’s ‘Kaala’ Trailer Is a HUGE WIN!

We deconstruct the nuances found in the trailer!

When Rajinikanth is on screen, it’s a given that his character is built up as a larger-than-life, do-gooder who has a mind of his own and will never submit to any sort of overlord. Right from when he was put up on the metaphorical pedestal as the superstar that Tamil cinema deserves, it’s his mass image and all that grandiose that helped make his films work. The 80’s and 90’s worked, what with Baashha, Muthu, Arunachalam, Padayappa, and Baba – the quintessential hero who elicited hoots and whistles with an entry that sent the audience into a tizzy.

2016’s Kabali, after a series of flops such as Kuselan, Lingaa, Kochadaiyaan, Rajinikanth was back as the stylish hero albeit a lot older, but still strong enough to beat up a motley crew of bad guys whilst funky guitar music in the background elevated each scene to perfection. But what if forthcoming outing – Pa Ranjith’s Kaala – do all this sans riding on the mass image he has carefully established in the last three decades?

Released yesterday, Kaala‘s trailer is far from stylish, where Rajini isn’t really the focal point there. It’s what he represents that stand out, the other characters that are given due attention, and the build-up of yet another Rajini character but with a twist. A messiah of sorts but for the downtrodden, for the poor, for the weak, and for everybody who gets taken for a ride. As the King of Dharavi, the trailer encapsulates the life and times of a person who is regarded as the villain Raavan by the elites, while being the hero of the narrative.

But that’s not what the trailer solely chose to show. The women in the trailer are given importance, the kind that most Kollywood films don’t deem important unless it has something to do with sex appeal or beauty. Huma Qureshi as Zareena, an old flame of Rajini’s Karikaalan is looked at with reverence, a past from his chapter but an important one. His present, the much older and vivacious Easwari Rao, comes across as the woman in his life who loves her husband too much, sharing a close bond where he feels close enough to tell her all about his past affairs. The chemistry they share is reminiscent of what Kabaleeswaran shared with Kumudhavalli in Kabali.

And when it’s not the women, it’s the people and what they fight for. Towards the end of the trailer, Karikaalan is someone who gathers up a crowd to fight for their rights. Not to overthrow the elite but to rise above them instead. Sure, the violence surfaces, something that is indispensable in most of Rajini’s films, but how often do we see Rajini playing his age and go beyond the image we have all carved for him?

The film is slated for a June 7 release.

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