The Only Good Thing About ‘Kabali’ Teaser is Rajinikanth

The ‘Kabali’ teaser sucked, but Superstar Rajinikanth managed to dazzle audiences with his characteristic charm. 

3 min read
The Superstar seems to be grossly underutilised in less than a minute. (Photo: <b>The Quint</b>)

Yes. I would’ve paid full price for a ticket to another movie just to watch this trailer.
Yes. Kabali looks like it’s going to be beyond awesome.
Yes. THE superstar is ROCKING the beard.
Yes. I got goosebumps when Thalaivar says, ‘Kabali Da!’

To Put It Subtly – The Trailer Sucks

The trailer sucks, but, and I know it’s a tiny, infinitesimal ‘but’, in a sea of over five-and-a-half million views, but, doesn’t the trailer, sort of suck?

I could blame it on the lack of a clear soundtrack that I could hum, or the lazy randomness of the visuals, or the fact that the superstar seems to be grossly under-utilised in less than a minute. So hear me out, before you try to find me and kill me.

Just 16 Seconds Plus the Title Would Have Done it

Superstar’s dialogue from 0:28 - 0:44. Watch it. Right now.

Now, imagine that’s the teaser. Just that bit. Isn’t it infinitely more effective? No random shots, no need to explain anything. Just pure charisma. The way the camera’s placed, you’re right at his feet. And if you’re a fan, there’s nowhere else you’d want to be when he says ‘Kabali Da!’. Goosebumps!

When Rajinikanth Speaks Tamil, You Will Understand in Your Mother Tongue

You don’t need to know the language. Rajini’s star power does all the work for you.

When he says, ‘Kabali Da!’ – that’s where the teaser should have climaxed. Everything before and after is just random.

Rajinikanth in  <i>Kabali</i>. (GIF: <b>The Quint)</b>
Rajinikanth in Kabali. (GIF: The Quint)

It’s a (Double) Cross Between a Teaser and a Trailer

A teaser is supposed to tease, with the juiciest bit(s) of dialogue, or the most hummable tune, or the largest setting. A trailer has to make some sort of sense, in that it should tell me part of the story without revealing the spoilers. I know this is quite tricky. (Even James Cameron sucked brick for the Terminator-2 trailer, where he revealed that Arnold had turned into a good robot.)

But, in the case of Kabali, this excuse of a teaser, or the confused son of a non-trailer does neither.

The only good thing about the teaser is the superstar. He’s the only thing that makes the visuals work. And I think that’s very unfair to the country’s biggest star.

It’s Formula, but Done Very Badly

In a way, the trailer follows formula:

Hits - drum booms that punctuate most masala or action movie trailers, basically all of Hans Zimmer’s movies and every action movie that followed it.

Dilog - the music suddenly drops for a punch dialogue.

Ending - the music builds to a final crescendo. Everyone knows it’s leading to the big bang.

Ending after Ending - the one-second joke or small punch dialogue.

You see, this teaser/trailer(trash)/whatever, has all of this. But it’s been put together so lazily, that as a Rajini fan, it pains me to see such sloppiness in execution. Take the last line after the title, for instance, where Super Star says, ‘Magizchi’ (loosely translated as happy). He looks great saying it. But since there’s no storyline or build-up, it’s just hanging there.

I watched the trailer a couple of dozen times and will watch it again. And again. And then maybe I’ll take a break and watch it on my phone for a few more times. But I’m watching it ONLY for the Superstar, despite the suckiness of the trailer.

Check out these fan-made teasers, which pack in more drama than the original.

(Vikram Venkateswaran is a freelance writer, TV producer and media consultant. Headings, titles and captions are his kryptonite. He just moved to Chennai and hopes the city likes him and is nice to him.)

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