Kaala: Decoding Pa Ranjith’s “Anti-Establishment” Film

Pop Culture

Kaala: Decoding Pa Ranjith’s “Anti-Establishment” Film

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


here’s a pre-interval scene in Pa Ranjith’s Kaala that cements its place as the most timely socio-political film to have come out of Tamil Nadu right now.

Haridev Abhayankar (Nana Patekar) aka Hari Dada is blocked by the residents of Dharavi, as he tries to leave Kaala Karikaalan’s (Rajinikanth) house. They pull carts in front of his motorcade, drop overhead lamps, and other heavy things on the way out, creating an insurmountable barricade. When they fall short of arsenal, they put to use their bodies, to close off the way. The residents unite to stop Hari Dada only because Kaala hasn’t given him permission to leave Dharavi. It’s an exceptional scene that is seemingly built up purely for style – worthy of Rajinikanth, the Superstar.