Probably one of the biggest teasers of this year just got released a few hours back and though it wasn’t what the makers planned on doing, we don’t really mind, coz it’s Thalaivar’s film and after the first few teases in the form of photos, we finally see him in the avatar, walking, talking and more! I’m extremely happy with a sense of satisfaction because whatever I predicted in my Kaala: First Look DECODED post is almost right too. Apart from visibly playing with colours, the teaser is also a lot similar to what we saw in Kabali’s teaser — a film that marked the first collaboration of Rajini and director Pa Ranjith.
As the credits roll by, we hear the cries of a crowd, chanting ‘poraduvom‘ implying that the people are fighting for a cause. Unlike many teasers we’ve seen before, Kaala’s teaser actually begins with a shot of the film’s antagonist — veteran actor Nana Patekar. Clad completely in white and gold with not a speck of black on him (or around him), he is meeting Karikaalan a.k.a Kaala for the first time and starts with mocking his name. “What kind of a name is this?” he asks, with a disgusted look.
The scene cuts to our hero, Kaala, who — minus the white beard which symbolises his age — is completely shrouded in black — right from what he’s wearing to his matte black finish sporting jeep (more on the jeep later). The next shot shows him amidst his people who’re rejoicing something by covering themselves in black powder — as if it’s holi, minus every other colour. Samuthirakani’s voice explains that Kaala is the colour black and also signifies that he’s a protector – (like the the deity Kaala Bhairava). That deity’s vahana is the dog and that little indie fella has made enough appearances in the posters to denote that the reference is indeed accurate.
Next, we get a glimpse of Kaala’s wife played by Easwari Rao who is visibly vocal about how her unhappiness with her husband’s violent behaviour. Notice their son, played by Dhileepan (AR Murugadoss’s brother who debuted with Vathikuchi) at the background along with a long black couch. We know who’ll be adorning it, don’t we? But obviously, Easwari’s words don’t reach our Kaala’s ears as he throws a couple of baddies through the rubble. We get back to Nana, who, with the determination you’d expect in a politician’s voice, says “I want to make this country clean and pure.”
Our Kaala, sitting majestically in a chair (similar to Kabali where Ranjith uses the prop to bring a sense of command and respect) speaks about how black signifies the working class (notice the tattoo on his right) and we get a shot of his ‘chal’ where people from different backgrounds and religion are living together peacefully. Kaala is seen dancing to parai instrument (yet another reference to the downtrodden. He also used the reference in Kabali with line ‘parai isai adithu nee paatu kattu’.)
He is seen playing with the kids (who’re sporting black shades) and we also get to see Huma Qureshi for the first time with a huge billboard behind her that’s got Nana’s image (again in white) with the wordings ‘Pure Mumbai’.
Not done with proving the amount of action we have in this film (and what we missed in Kabali), we have Kaala about to create havoc to a bunch of baddies, not before he speaks a line confirming what I speculated from the first look. “Kya re? Setting ah? Vengaiyan mava othayile nikken, dhil irruntha mothama vaangale!’ In my decoding post, I had guessed from the first look’s fish eye panorama shot that the film will talk about the Tamilians who’re a part of the Dharavi fishing community. So what’s the connection to the line Kaala spoke? Notice that the Tamil he speaks is in the Nellai slang. Most of the Tamil speaking inhabitants of Dharavi are from Tirunelveli, a land ruled by Cholas, including the famous Karikaala Cholan. Co-incidence? Certainly not.
We’re again shown the wrath of Kaala, as he decimates a couple of goons with a basic umbrella — which is of course black. What I noticed about the jeep in the background is that the number plate has been changed from what we saw in the first look. MH 01 BR 1956 — the number plate in the first look had a complete meaning on its own. The letters BR are the initials of social reformer Ambedkar (Bhimrao Ramji), who the director looks up to – his Twitter handle (@beemji) stands testimony to his admiration for the man who played a pivotal role in the fight against social discrimination of dalits. MH could also stand as a tribute to Mhow cantonment in Indore, which happens to be Ambedkar’s place of birth. The numbers that follow, 1956, is the year in which Ambedkar died. But the number plate in the teaser reads MH 09 PR 1931. PR could mean another social activist, our very own Periyar Ramasamy. The year 1931 could denote the year Bhagat Singh, who was a socialist revolutionary, died. Incidentally, both Periyar and Ambedkar have written articles on the death of Bhagat Singh in the same year. 1931 also happens to be the year when Ambedkar, in a presentation at a round table conference, described that the Indian society is divided into three distinct sections — Hindus, Muslims and the depressed classes. In the same conclave, he also stated that India can be truly independent only if these classes elect their own representatives for taking part in the process of government (a subtle reference to Rajini’s political journey?).
The scene cuts to the classic Rajini title card, which for some reason was slightly modified in 2005’s Chandramukhi and completely changed in every other film till Kabali in which Ranjith got back the iconic old title card which was originally made for his 1992 blockbuster Annamalai with Deva’s background score.
But obviously, the teaser doesn’t end there. Similar to Kabali, after the film’s logo is showcased, we have our hero mouthing another line instead of one word — maghizchi. He says, “intha Karikaalan oda muzhu rowdythanathe neenge paathu illele, paapinge.” Though the line might be pretty straightforward, its the photo in the background that caught my attention. In the wall hangs the image of Wangari Maathai, an internationally renowned Kenyan political activist. Talk about subtlety. The teaser ends with Yogi B’s rap and the words kattravai, pattravai – a direct reference to Ambedkar’s commandments — educate, agitate and organise. It’s interesting that the last word wasn’t spoken, possibly as another reference to his political move.
I strongly suspect if there’s going to be a trailer and so all we can do is wait till the film hits the screens on April 27th. Marvel’s biggie Avengers: Infinity War is releasing on the same day but it’s obvious on what my first choice would be!