Friday 22 July 2016
Remove the Malaysian-Tamil setting, and Kabali plays like… a Rajinikanth movie. A revenge drama. It would be silly to expect grime and grit in a mega-budget Superstar movie whose seemingly endless pre-release publicity has spanned the earth to the sky (courtesy, Air Asia), but given that Pa. Ranjith is behind the camera, there is a sense of a letdown. It’s as though, given the biggest stage of his still-young career, the director went up before the audience and got a severe case of the jitters.
The meat of Kabali is a gangster story that attempts to tease out some history about Malaysian Tamils. The suits Kabali wears aren’t just a fashion statement. The coat, the tie – they’re symbols of a rung of capitalism people like Kabali weren’t allowed to set foot on. (They’re also a nod to Ambedkar’s sartorial tastes.) But as with Ranjith’s Madras, these are scribbles on the margins of an all-too-familiar story.
The primary narrative thread in Kabali deals with the (gang) war between Kabali and Tony Lee (Winston Chao), a purring Malay (I’m assuming) who wears his silken suits with the entitlement of generations of privilege. This conflict is, of course, a metaphor, for the antagonism between Malaysian-Tamils and natural-born Malays – but the way all this plays out is hardly new or interesting. One of the strengths of Ranjith as a writer is the way he shapes the supporting characters – but no one registers here. Kabali is filled with familiar faces. Kishore. Attakathi Dinesh. Kalaiyarasan. Riythvika. But they all get so little to do.
At least some of the lightness, the lack of amped-up drama – I think – is intentional. Even within the cage of a Superstar movie, Ranjith is trying to be subtle. Another filmmaker would have given Yogi (a very ill-at-ease Dhansika) a rousing introduction, given the weight this character carries in the story. But she comes in like an afterthought, and it isn’t until interval point that we realise who she is, what she’s doing here. But again, this sounds better than how it plays out. We aren’t emotionally invested in anything, anyone.
Except, maybe, Kumudhavalli, Kabali’s wife. Radhika Apte is a part of what is ostensibly the second (and far more interesting) narrative thread of Kabali, about the man's personal life. She doesn’t have much of a role, but she does get one scene that makes you see why Ranjith wanted an actress of her calibre. It’s a scene where she breaks down after seeing Kabali after a very long time, and she makes us see a long-dormant volcano erupting suddenly with everything that was buried deep inside.
Ranjith’s filmmaking is different too, and not in a good way. Kabali does have some of his trademarks – the way he introduces characters and their circumstances in a prologue-y rush at the beginning, or the way he uses little flashbacks to fill us in on what really happened. But the life that infused his earlier films is missing. (Santhosh Narayanan’s excellent songs are relegated to the background.)
Kabali doesn’t have the lovely rhythms of Attakathi or Madras, where Ranjith gave us a sense of life being lived with micro-shots of people just… being. This isn’t to say Ranjith is coasting. He’s still trying to stage scenes. A scene where someone tries to assassinate Kabali could have just been about the assassination but the way Ranjith stages it carries an element of surrealism. But yet again, it works better on paper than on screen.
And what about the big star at the centre? He does well, though his age is beginning to show – both in his physicality and dialogue delivery. There’s a scene where someone asks Kabali why he is a gangster when he is so educated. He removes his glasses. The camera moves closer. He gives this look, at once hard and wistful. He makes you wish for more such shots that studied his face. What a great still camera subject this face makes. Still.
Another favourite shot of mine came when Kabali is in a hotel in Chennai, and the camera captures him not as a gangster but a father. The earlier edge is gone. There is so much warmth here, you feel this is what he must look like with his grandkids. And though we have the slo-mo walk and the staccato laugh, it is nice to see this star act his age – he kicks ass and yet, he’s vulnerable. He could use someone looking after him. Kabali doesn’t pander to his fans. No comedy. No punch lines. And yet, it must be said that Rajinikanth does more for the movie than the movie does for him.
Sony's "Gravity Rush 2" is coming and will debut exclusively on PlayStation 4. The release date has been confirmed on Dec. 2 in the United States and the United Kingdom; and here are the details we have so far.
The good news came to light when Sony's Associate Product Marketing Manager Brian Dunn spilled the beans on PlayStation Blog on July 18, Monday. Bunn announced that the sequel to the physics-defying hit will finally launch on Nov. 30 in Europe and will be followed on Dec. 2 in the US and the UK.
"One Piece" creator Eiichiro Oda drops the information in an interview on July 20, Wednesday, that the manga series is done by 65 percent.
An interview with Oda was printed by the second issue of the "Dai One Piece Shimbun" promotional publication, in which he tells the public that the storyline of the most popular manga of all time is finished at around 65 percent, according to The Anime News Network. He also said in the same interview that he doesn't plan to work on any long Manga series anymore other than "One Piece."
Four years ago, in an issue of the One Piece Shimbun in 2012, Oda stated that he had finished 60 percent of the storyline of the series, which gives us a five percent progress for four years. At this rate, we should expect the series to continue for several more years before it reaches its conclusion.
In an article published by Crunchyroll, if Oda continues to write at his current pace, we should expect 13 more years from the series before its completion. This gives us a long time to enjoy the series more and a total of 32 years since the Manga series had started to be published.
Oda started the series in July 19, 1997, and the Japanese series now has 82 volumes to date. If we take the calculation into consideration as to when the series will end, we still have until 2029.
Apart from this revelation, the mysterious author has also made a public appearance in Japanese TV for the first time this month as well, but with his face hidden from the camera. He had appeared in public to promote his upcoming film, "One Piece Film: Gold" on Fuji TV. In addition to this, he was also given a soccer jersey from Shinji Kagawa, and was asked to sketch Luffy to prove his identity.
With these recent revelations, we now have more information about what the pace of the series will be and the things Oda has in store for us. The life span of "One Piece" is currently on its third quarter, but we still have a lot to look forward to.
Pokémon TV shows are among the most watched titles on Netflix in a number of countries around the globe following the release of the PokémonGo mobile game which has taken the world by storm, a spokesperson for the streaming service told CNBC on Thursday.
Netflix has a number of Pokémon shows available including "Pokémon: Indigo League", "Pokémon: XY", "Pokémon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages" and "Pokémon: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction".
"Pokémon shows have jumped into the most popular titles in many countries around the globe where we have Pokémon titles available," a spokesperson told CNBC in an emailed statement.
The revival of the Pokémon cartoons comes after the augmented reality mobile game PokémonGo was released earlier this month. It has gained tremendous popularity and people are spending an average of 43 minutes per day playing, more time than they spend on WhatsApp and Snapchat, according to SimilarWeb.
U.S. firm Niantic and Japan's Nintendo are behind the game. The popularity so far has caused a huge spike in Nintendo's share price.
Pokémon titles on Netflix are available across the Americas, Europe and Australia. PokémonGo is available in the U.S., U.K., New Zealand, Australia, U.K., Germany and a number of other European countries. The game is soon to be released in Japan.
Netflix users are also seeing "Pokémon: Indigo League" appearing in the "trending now" section of their service, which happens when a program is being watched a lot
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