Kali Movie Review: Keep Your Rage in Check

While I generally do not lose my cool all that easily and claim to have a relatively high level of patience, there are rare occasions when on hitting the threshold level I have gone on to really get upset and vent out my anger. Looking back in time I wouldn’t say I am proud of those instances, especially those where unpleasantness set in. In fact a few years ago I actually ended up getting into a tight situation, something that could have easily been avoided. After that I have tried to be a lot more careful especially when I am outdoors. I’m sure if you look around it is always easy to spot people with a clear short fuse, you can find such people arguing with other motorists on a busy road, or screaming and abusing someone over his/her mobile or even appearing to fight or quarrel with their own family or friends. Stress is certainly one major reason for people to get provoked easily these days, thanks to the busy lifestyle that we are leading and the kind of pressure that we face, both in our professional and personal lives.

Kali Poster 2Sameer Thahir‘s latest release, Kali (rage) is a film that has set me thinking of all this. Kali marks the second time that Sameer Thahir is working with Dulquer Salmaan, their earlier association in Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvvana Bhoomi having been successful critically as well as commercially. Kali also sees Sai Pallavi of Premam fame in her first solo lead appearance, in fact her pairing with Dulquer has been noted and appreciated ever since the first look poster was unveiled. The promos and songs have also gone on to be well received, raising the expectations further. Considering that all 3 of them, Sameer Thahir, Dulquer and Sai Pallavi have been in form, the obvious question on my mind as I set out to watch the film this weekend was whether Kali would go on to be another successful outing for all of them. Of course I was also keen to know how well the pair of Dulquer and Sai Pallavi looked together in the film and if the film has actually managed to meet expectations.

Kali is a tale that revolves around Siddharth (Dulquer Salmaan) and Anjali (Sai Pallavi), they fall in love while in college and then go on get married without their families to support them. Sidharth has one major problem, he has always been fiery and hot headed from his childhood days and his temper is always at the tip of his nose as Anjali describes. After going through the rigmarole of struggling to get a job and without a proper place to stay etc, life seems to be taking a positive turn for them as Siddharth slowly starts settling down at work. But his short tempered nature continues to create problems, until one night Anjali snaps and decides to get back to her parents who live in Masinagudi. Sidharth offers to driver her all the way when things go all wrong for them, starting with a nearly close run in with a lorry. What actually happens and how do they get out of it is what the rest of the film is all about.

Kali PosterThe film starts off very well and the first half in particular is wonderful. The chemistry between Dulquer and Sai Pallavi is excellent,  they bring alive their interactions in a natural and interesting fashion. We get to see that Sidharth is not happy with his problem, even acknowledging it to Anjali  but then he just can’t help losing his cool very easily even at the slightest provocation. There are a lot of impactful scenes, take for example the way Sidharth finally loses his cool with Prakashan (Soubin Shahir) in an office party, with the build up for the same being provided convincingly in a few scenes at the bank where they work. The way Anjali understands Siddharth comes across clearly in the scene where the neighbours leave thinking it’s a power cut after an angry Siddharth switches off the mains, only to see Anjali calmly open up the fuse box and switching on the power back. Even the element of the senior colleague at work taking a fancy to Siddharth is shown in a very casual and simple manner, without treading the usual path. Certainly a lot of credit indeed is to be given to Sameer Thahir and writer Rajesh Gopinadhan for making sure that the first half comes across as appealing all the way.

Mild Spoiler Alert
Sameer Thahir in a very effective manner makes us understand why anger management is not something to be ignored, in today’s stressful life we all go through moments where we do get upset and angry, leading to issues at times. At the same time the film does not address the topic in a preachy manner thankfully and that is another plus point for the film. Surprisingly from a light romantic  drama of sorts the film moves into the thriller zone post interval, on the way we get to see elements of a few films including Steven Spielberg‘s Duel and even NH10 (the yellow windcheater that Sai Pallavi pulls over herself is a nod to Anushka Sharma in NH10 perhaps? 🙂 ). While the film does manage to maintain the momentum and keep us hooked, it’s a sudden change of gears that totally makes the second half appear quite different from the first. Also if the idea was to deliberately bring in an abrupt change of narrative and make the proceedings dark and edgy, it’s perfectly fine. But then the core element of rage seems to get ignored after a point of time. Also just as the tension seemed to be really mounting, it all seems to evaporate a little too easily.
End of Spoilers

Kali Poster CollageGireesh Gangadharan’s cinematography is impressive, doing justice to the shots at night and clearly brings in the spookiness of the location quite effectively. Gopi Sunder makes an impact both with the songs and the BGM. Both the songs (lyrics by B.K.Harinarayanan), “Chillu Ranthal” (vocals by Job  Kurian) and Vaarthinkalee” (vocals by Divya S.Menon) are quite pleasant and easy on the ears. At a run time of under 2 hours the film doesn’t test your patience at all, in fact the proceedings could have benefitted from a slightly more well drawn out (even if it required a little more time) finale perhaps. In terms of the supporting cast Soubin Shahir, Vinayakan and Chemban Vinod get noticed, with Vinayakan abd Chemban Vinod bringing out the menace in their characters without being loud and over dramatic. But the focus is more or less predominantly on the lead pair and rightly so as it is Dulquer and Sai Pallavi who basically ensure that the film works to a major extent, despite some issues with the second half.

Sai Pallavi is a natural and shows that Premam was no fluke, she has even dubbed for herself (though she does seem to struggle a bit at places) and compliments Dulquer very well. Dulquer on the other hand is perfectly cast as the fiery young man who just can’t keep his temper under control. Both Sai Pallavi and Dulquer carry the required maturity to pull of their characters convincingly elevating the film considerably. Sameer Thahir manages to pull off an interesting subject despite a slightly uneasy second half, making it a winning proposition for all.Overall Kali makes for a good watch as it addresses a relevant topic and is backed by excellent performances by its lead actors.

Note: Kali is playing with English subtitles in select screens outside Kerala and the subtitling by Vivek Ranjit is of fairly good standard.

1 Comment

  1. Ashwin Mazdur says:

    I think somewhere down the line makers got confused,the first half and second half felt like two different films.As you have mentioned, if the story was about this person about anger management, then in second half they have not dealt with it. Moreover more than angry i felt he was a idealist like hero from Shankar’s film. His reason for not paying the bill has nothing to do with his anger, but the service.
    Climax i felt was bit hurried up and contrived,like you have mentioned.


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