Saturday, July 23, 2016

Detailed Explanation of Kabali Movie

If you want to understand Kabali from a Malaysian Indian perspective, read this. I am a Malaysian Indian.
Note 1 If you are from India and don’t know anything about Malaysians, read this before you watch the movie. 2 If you know somewhat of Malaysian culture, read this after the movie and then go watch again. 3 If you are a Malaysian, watch the movie and then read this. Introduction First of all these last few generations of Malaysian Indians are not Indian migrants. We were born in Malaysia. We look Indian but we are Malaysians who identify with the Indian culture through religion and ancestral link. I am a 5th generation Malaysian, my family (from Tamilnadu) has been here since the 18th century. Kabali is our story. The story of indian Malaysians and not indian imigrants who now come to work in Malaysia or NRIs. We are not same. I realised a lot of reviews are being written based on indian cultural experience rather than the actual Malaysian culture and issues. Pa Ranjith has created a brilliant movie which is very much a gift to the people of Malaysia (which appears in the credits). The movie is a realistic fiction that takes into account historical issues as well as current issues and put so many things into one movie, while staying commercial, and politically safe. Yes the movie is very much politically safe as it mainly focuses on only one side of our problems – commercial side. This was a brilliant move as if he hadn’t the movie would have been banned in Malaysia. The movie spans different incidents and parts that took place in the last 70 years or so. Pa Ranjith has taken bits and pieces of actual history and incorporated them into his characters and story. I am going to try an explain how Pa Ranjith took 100 years of Indian Malaysian history and made it into a 152 minute movie. Language Our Tamil is different from whats spoken in Tamilnadu. The script in Kabali actually uses our Tamil slangs and words. Furthermore, we actually speak a more purer Tamil than in Chennai as our Tamil is stuck to about 100 years or so when the British brought Indians to work in Plantations as labourers. We say gaadi – you say carru for example (which means car). There are more English words in Tamilnadu Tamil than in Malaysian Tamil which has different categories. A very pure Tamil is spoken on Minnal FM(our local tamil radio station), basically no english words are used. Then there is the one that average indians speak and a very street one which the movie refers too. Kabali link – There is even a moment in the movie where Kabali lightly laughs off the confusion in the meaning of saruku in the movie. In Malaysia – saruku refers to women. In Tamilnadu it means alcohol. Kabali link – A lot of the language down to pronunciation is accurately Malaysian Indian. For once someone got the lah mostly right. Some other Malaysian Tamil slang words in the movie Saavadi – super Terukva – moosama Kosong kosong – zero zero (kabali’s gang name is 00) Gaadi – car katthai - gun Poona azhagu – very beautiful Semmai – awesome Nasi – rice Tea-tanni – tea/ caya Pasiyariyacha – have you eaten breakfast (this is an old tamil word) Kampong – village Teh tarik – tea that has been pulled Amava – is it Adala kozhikari – theres a treat today. Sadaiyan – chinese Paiykirathu – use panrathu (another old tamil word) Maathirai – drugs Kuuthali – friends KL town – Kuala lumpur city Ktown – kajang town Masuk – intro or enter into a moment scene. Caste Most Indian Malaysians are from south India – tamilnadu, Andhra, kerala, Punjab and a small community of north Indians. There are also Pakistanis, srilankan tamils. We are all categorised as Malaysian Indian. The movie refers to the south Indian Malaysians who all speak tamil regardless of their mother tongue. In Malaysia, not being able to speak in Tamil is considered a weakness. Also not all estate workers were lower caste (as historians like to write) but jobs were segregated by caste and village hieraki. The mandurs (head of estates) were usually head of villages or the rich in india. If you drive down to Kuala Selangor, most of the indian plantation workers there are kaunders. With families having moved as villages to Malaysia. Farmers in Cameron highlands till today are mostly kaunders as well. Caste inter marriages have been happening from as far as my great grandparents time though it was opposed then. Opposition often was of a tamil marrying a telugu, or even say a kaunder marrying a chettiar, and so forth even before reaching the lower caste part. By the 70s it was much more common though it was still opposed, and also saw fewer families asking for dowry and instead the culture of sharing the cost of weddings began. Today inter caste marriages, inter race marriages are common and is now practiced by most. Kabali link - For example in Kabali, there is no reference to what caste kabali is. Only that her family opposed as they were vereh jathi. So it could mean that kabalis wife was not from tamilnadu or a different caste in tamilnadu. And not necessarily means Kabali is a dalit. Another separate issue is that historically the Sri Lankan Tamil (Ceylonese) who were mostly brought in by british as clerks as opposed to most south indians (not all share the same story though) arriving as plantation labourers (estate workers), have a history of thinking they are a higher class than the south Indians due to social status (classism) and skin colour. However while caste is not openly discussed today, it is still held on to by some and is brought up during marriage or in arguments. Inter religion might be a bigger problem now than inter caste at this point. KABALI link - At the climax of Kabali, Veerasekaran insults kabali not only from a caste angle but also from a class angle (kabali was a poor estate worker before moving to KL Town). Earlier Tamilnesan’s (former 00 leader) son insults kabali (who was now 00 leader) as “unehlam vithuku ulla vithuruka kudathu.” In the olden days (50s), other castes mainly lower castes were not allowed into homes. Kabali flashback Kabali rises to fame for uprising a movement asking for equal wages for indian workers to be the same as chinese workers. History of Malaysians Indians before the 18th century Indian or to be exact Kalinga’s (Orissa, Andhra Pradesh) have been trading with South East Asians for centuries. You can see these details in Orissa Musuem. Some merchants remained and married with the locals. They were referred to as kalingans’s which eventually became the derogatory term for Malaysian Indians – Keling. Kabali link – Keling is mentioned and censored in the climax scene in Malaysia. History of Malaysian Indians (circa late 18th century, ww2) Historically the Indians who were brought here by the british to work in plantations in the early 19th century were given set wages and lived in homes that were not theirs. Later the British brought chinese labourers to work in the plantations who earned higher wages and were free to move around and build settlements. So the Indians continued to be contracted at low wages and faced eviction if they left. Durring ww2, the Japanese forced a high number of Malaysians (Indians and Malays) to work at the death railways in Thailand. They were the highest casualty of the death railway (42k out of estimated 90k). Interesting point while at one point there were 4 million Indians in Malaysia (prior to independence), death, war and mass return to india (happens a few times in our history), by 1957 (Malaysia’s year of independence) the Indian population numbered only 820, 270 of which 62.1% was local born. Also while the majority of south Indians arrived as labourers not all share the same history. At the height of British occupation and economic advancement in Malaysian in the 18th century, merchants began arriving on invites or tempted by news that reach back about – “pon villayum bumi, malainadu.” - the rich, mountainous land. They arrived in malaysia with families and built parts of kl, penang, perak there are big chetiar communities in different parts of the country. The main big temples in the city are historically linked to different castes but none of these is mentioned or portrayed in the movie. Indian muslims also arrived as traders, mostly starting food restaurants – nasi kandar. http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia/ http://www.newmandala.org/aliens-in-the-land-indian-migrant-workers-in-malaysia-part-2/ After ww2, the british returned to find more outspoken Indians (ignited by the INA led by Subhash Chandra Bose) began demanding for better rights, wages and nationality That’s when the All Malayan Rubber Workers Council (AMRWC) led by SVK Moorthi (the President of the Selangor Estate Workers Trade Union) who were fighting for higher wages for estate workers organised a nationwide strike on august 25, 1947. http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2475&context=etd history of daily wages after 1968 http://www.indianmalaysian.com/plantation_workers.htm Another point – The 1968 Employment Restrictions Act, which required Malaysian employers to get work permits for non-citizen workers, resulted in thousands of Indian and Chinese plantation workers being forced to leave the country. What is not portrayed in the movie but theres a silent reference as Amir describes changes in kl to the prison returned Kabali – the fact that as commodity prices dropped, estates were sold and many bonded indian estate workers not only lost jobs but also homes. They eventually ended up in slums and lower cost flats in the city with very little education as education of estate children was not a british priority. Also nothing refers to MIC – the indian political party https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_Indian_Congress KABALI link - Nassers character and that gathering where he addresses a big crowd (at dataran merdeka) seems to pay homage to SVK Moorthi and the fight for higher wages. In the movie Kabali was inspired by Tamilnesan and organised the uprising in his own estate before joining him in the city and eventually taking over. Please note AMRWC were not gangsters but a union that fought for the rights of plantation workers. Also the fight for wages in the lowest income group continues till today under different ppl. Arul from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) is one such leader today. Gangsters leading the change and fighting for rights which is the basis of kabali is a fictional element to create continuity in the story.
However timeline for this homage is not historical. As there is a photo of Malaysia’s first prime minister (Tunku) moment of independence declaration behind Nasser or Rajni (can’t remember who). So that dates that point in the movie to post independence. kabali link - Also in the movie Kabali says a line that is similar to a quote by then labour activist Y.K. Menon “We are Indians and slaves to nobody.” Jeeva’s mother references the historical mass return to India when she explains to kabali about Jeevas fathers whearebouts during the cemetery scene. Temple demolitions This is an ongoing issue faced by Malaysian Indians and is one of the few reference to the political issues the community has with the government that is slipped into the movie. Kabali link - In kabali flashback, theres a scene where kabali stops a temple demolition. Whats brilliant is Pa ranjith places it in the flashback part in order to not get the movie banned. Gangsterism, Drugs in Malaysia Drugs Opium has been recorded to have been smoked by chinese labourers from way back in the 19th century and was brought in by the british itself. Drugs were actually legal in the early 19 century. But during the Vietnam war, American soldiers used to rest and do drugs in Malaysia which influenced locals and led to Malaysia becoming a trafficking spot. This despite Malaysia having a death penalty for drug trafficking. http://www.adk.gov.my/html/pdf/jurnal/2007/1-1.pdf Gangsterism I cant give you an exact history of when it started. But it was chinese led at first before Indians joined in and they formed this various gangs, some taking over or starting their own. Each area has a gang that dominates it. But it is a serious problem amongst the indian youth especially as recruitment starts from school. 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. http://cilisos.my/dei-why-are-so-many-malaysian-gang-members-indian/ Kabali link – in the movie Kabali’s gang is refered to as kosong kosong (00). This is actually referencing an actual indian gang in Malaysia – 08 or 04. While Tony lee’s 43 is similar to the 36 gang which has an elaborate logo. 08 and 36 have been around for decades, I can safely say since at least the 60s. both are historically rival gangs and often kill each other. In Kabali gangs are headed by one big don – ang lee. I don’t think this is true. I don’t know to be honest. But what I do know is the head of don’s now are educated and actually are well dressed, like any other professional like how kabala and tony lee dress up. But they are way up the gang hierarki and are not known by most in the gangs. Local area gangs are headed by dons that look like veerasekaran, sampath. http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2013/08/30/police-reveal-gang-logos/ Kabali link – Are petshops façade for gangs? any business can be a façade for illegal business. I recently bumped into a grocery store being the façade for Myanmar gangsters while on a photowalk in KL. So there is a possibility. Gang meetings often happen at small chinese coffee shops restaurants. The term is – table talk variya (or lets talk over drinks at the coffee shop). Chinese coffee shops are choosen as they serve alcohol while indian restaurants and mamaks do not serve alcohol. Kabali link – this is shown in the scene where veerasekaran meets jeeva alone. There are only two of them talking but the moment Jeeva holds Tony lees collar, his men come out and chase after him and a gun fight ensues. When the director focuses on jeeva and veerasekaran, you will notice there are indian men sitting in a group at the background. That is no coincidence. Those were veerasekarans men. That is how actual table talks between gangs happen. And any gang fight happens outside the shop, rarely inside. Kabali link – There are no known gangsters that are doing good for the people like kabali. That is a FICTIONAL portrayal. And I believe Pa ranjith had to do that to create a commercial mass rajni movie while highlighting all the issues of the past and current segment of Malaysian Indians. However gangsters have always been linked to indian leaders in Malaysia and the political scene. Mostly to keep rival politicians controlled in the party itself. There are also cases of gangsters standing for elections in the recent election. They are evolving. Kabali link – When seeni dies, there is an elaborate funeral procession. That isn’t fiction. It actually does happen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzLADvoaj3I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE7Y9ann1Dk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Sb7-K5WpZk Kabali link – the “poojai” kudukanum scene where veerasekaran goes to a temple to give sacrifice actually happens here with gang dons here being religious but practising the traditional sacrificial methods. This is also prevalent in small temples (not necessarily gang related) around the estates till today. None of the big temples in the urban area allow this traditional practice. Kabali link – the kali temple shown in the scene, there are many scattered around rawang, kuala Selangor. And bali kuduthal (animal sacrifice) still happens till today. Current Malaysian Indian issues After independence schools were built in estates and more Indians got education but not all did due to economical issues. Also higher education wasn’t that easy to achieve due to economic status. So most would work right after A levels or drop out of school even earlier to work to support the families. Jobs and earning capacity for these segment got lesser and lesser due to many reasons. Indians are a minority in Malaysia, we make up 7 % of the population but 71% of gang members in Malaysia are Indians. How did that happen? The poorer segment of the community continue to earn very little and there’s a reoccurring cycle that happens. Young men who started working by 15 some heading into gangsters but mostly low wage jobs, start having gfs by 17, may marry or leave the gfs once they are pregnant and have kids. Kids (are not taken away as shown in the movie) grow poor, if lucky get placed in orphanages, at 15 single mothers tend to take the kid back (legally parents have rights on the children according to Malaysian laws no matter if they can afford to look after them) to make the kids work for the family and the cycle continues. Most turn to becoming gangsters not just for more money (it’s a fallacy that lower rung gangsters earn well but that is the common perception.) but for respect. If you are labelled a gangster, you will earn respect more out of fear than you would as a poor person. (the Malaysian movie jagat portrays this story of the gang cycle). Kabali link: the girl meena’s (who calls kabali appa) story is this or the early part of the cycle. Jeeva and his mom is a perfect example of the later part of the cycle. She being a lower rung drug pusher despite having an education (after the husband leaves), he being drawn to the gangster life and refuses to study as he sees his mom having an education but not a good life. Their life conditions are portrayed through the glimpse of their home at her death scene. Small, dark, in a shoddy flats. These are the Indians mostly portrayed in the movie. But you also see characters like Amir, fathima, kumaran (tamilnesans grandson) who are professionals and live in better conditions. Compare Jeeva’s home to amirs beautiful white lit home. That is the perfect portrayal of two vastly different economical situations of Malaysian Indians. Kabali link - Maarkandayan represents the richer Malaysian indian who will do anything to earn money. These are the rich scammers who are not necessarily gang linked but are able to scam people for a lot of things, like houses and more. The indian vs chinese In the movie the Chinese are shown to be pulling down the Indians who try to rise above them and not under them like seeni, veerasekaran. Indians now (please note im trying to be detailed but not as detailed as this is getting too long) In the last two decades there is a growing problem that affects both the poorer and middle class segment of Malaysian Indians. Government wise – the National Economic Plan (NEP) led to less representation of Indians in the government sector. It is harder to become a cop, government servant, or work for a GLC if you are not Malay. Until the 1970s, a lot of government or government linked companies and the police sector had loads of Indians in them. That is why till today, KL Mariamman temple Navarathri festival is represented by different business and govt groups. TNB (electrical board) people, Railway people (railway employees) and more. All of these groups will be mentioned annually. https://www.facebook.com/Kortumalai-Ganesar-Temple-357848150965743/photos The chinese in the city were mostly merchants, business owners even from back then and not really known as government workers (I might be wrong on this one). However after 1970s, hiring of non Malays got very hard. So was getting a placement in the local universities. No matter how high your grades, coveted spots in the medical seats, engineering seats were very hard to get. You could still get in, but not to your choice of education course. That led to the rise of expensive private education that is not within the reach of everyone. So if you can’t get placed in the government, naturally people turned to the private sectors. Now there is where the other discrimination begins. There is actually a “we don’t hire Indians” practice amongst many businesses in the private sector which are mostly owned and led by the chinese companies. The funny thing is the majority of Malays are also affected by this. The NEP does not benefit all Malays. And it goes beyond just jobs, try renting a house in the city if you are indian. Regardless of your professional or financial background, this is a HUGE problem. I recently documented my own road blocks on this situation. Where I was rejected by 15 home owners (all chinese) before I finally got to rent my current place, despite putting in an advance booking fee, even before I got the house. And I am a professional, holding a managerial position. This extends to the financial sector as well. It is much harder for an indian to get a loan/ credit card in a bank. In shopping malls, credit card sales people practically ignore us when we walk pass and target mostly the chinese. In a way its good coz I don’t want to be hounded by sales rep but the racist profiling is very saddening. If you ask the banks they will tell you it is coz theres a higher rate of rejections, however they fail to mention that there are higher restrictions for application criterias for Indians as compared to the Chinese. So no matter if you have an education or not, it is harder for an Indian to get jobs in either the private or government sector. Also most professional Indians seem to earn a lower wage than their other race colleagues as compared even with the same experience, expertise and education. And this is a bigger problem for indian males. They also have to deal with social stigma. Walk into a lift in any building, and the occupants will start clutching their bags tighter and move away from them. Same thing happens if one drives by. Basically the social stereotype is that all male Indians are gangsters or thieves. Now all this doesn’t even take into account the current entitled, lazy, spoilt attitudes of gen y. this is a basic summary of growing issuesin the community. Kabali link – the private sector discrimination (and government discrimination in a way) is what the climax speech by kabali to Tony Lee is probably about but I can’t say for sure as the whole speech was censored in Malaysia. I need to find a copy of it to know more (someone send me the video pls) Kabali link – after the launch of the bakery at the end, a group of youngsters meet Rajni and talk about this issues very briefly. One guy says I don’t think ill pass, at least she will pass. She on the hand says, “pass panna mathum vehlai kadaichirumma” (its not as if I will get a job if I pass). She also says private education is expensive (reference to not getting placements in public univs). That is how brilliantly the director has mentioned all these issues into one moment, without touching further to ruffle political feathers or more so the movie doesn’t get banned. Gangsters and police So if theres so much gangsterism, why isn’t the police doing much? Well as in the movie, the police here have an interesting policy when dealing with gangs. Gangs here often have turf wars. Where like in the movie the kill each other. The police know this is happening and often sit in the background monitoring everything and sometimes taking the credit for the killing to control the message that goes to the public. Kabali link – opening scene, the top cop (the malay man) says we will handle him our way if needed. Same man then opens the bakery in the ending. Kabali link – the indian cop talks about how even he is often treated in suspicion of being a criminal. But do you notice he appears to know Kabali’s whereabouts, getting him out of the country quietly, escorting him up to the plane at the airport (while tony lees ppl attack the banglo in the palm oil forest?), meeting him at the airport. Basically Malaysian cops know the movements of the local gangs and mostly let them be as long as public is not physically harmed occasionally catching the smaller guys in drug and prostitution raids. Kabali link – in the climax, tony lees drugs are seized at the port by cops and vice dens are raided. Killed there are the lower dons and not the top dons who are partying at another event. Which is similar to the hieraki of gangs here. The bigger dons are rarely killed or at the raids as they don’t do the dirty job of running the business. In real life, a turf war between rival gangs often happens. You will suddenly here a news, man gunned down here, at this flat, at the traffic light. The news will last in the news for few weeks before it all quietens down. Basically the cops warn off the gangsters to stop or they kill them and this leads to all turf wars stopping for a while. 2013 ops cantas http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/19/five-shot-dead-in-penang/ Now the 2013 ops cantas (eradicate or shoot at sight) began after Malaysia abolished the ISA in 2012. The ISA not only put away political opponents but also gangsters that police knew of their activities but had no proof to arrest. Under ISA anyone can be arrested without a criminal proceedings if deemed to be a threat to national security. When these old dons came out to find their old turfs taken over, they launched their own turf war. After a few months, the cops launched ops cantas. Kabali link – Kabali was detained under ISA and released around that time after the abolishment of ISA. He comes out and immediately leads a turf war with gang 43. 2014 a cop was shot dead http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-officer-shot-dead 2015 ops cantas http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2015/03/07/infamous-gangster-meets-violent-end-murder-suspect-shot-dead-after-leading-cops-on-highspeed-car-cha/ the infamous bentong kali https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Kalimuthu Gang killings on the rise in Klang over drug trade war http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/gang-killings-on-the-rise-in-klang-over-drug-trade-war About Malaysian cops capabilities in dealing with gangs – actual gang shoot outs http://cilisos.my/how-likely-are-you-to-survive-a-shootout-with-pdrm/ Kabali link – when kabali runs down the drug dealer with his car. The news report shows the cops taking credit for the death of loga. That is why everytime one don dies, there are tv reports shown and you see veerasekaran mumbling about the report by the journalist on kabali’s death as no body was found but cops reported Kabali was dead. Kabali link – by the way you can drive to Bangkok from Malaysia but it takes freaking 18 hours to get there. And pretty easy to cross the border. In some parts there are no border gates between both countries and you can easily walk across.
Kabali ending – the same indian cop who was helping kabali throughout the movie, arranges for Tiger to execute kabali. That is how the cops deal with gangs. Which refers back to “we will deal with him our way” (as said by the top cop in the opening scene). Basically no one ultimate power should remain, and the cops still are the ultimate powers. Kabali ending in Malaysia – shows a screen note that kabali surrenders to the police. This is the cops and censorship at its best showing what they want you to see. Sure do a movie about the gangs but remember the cops are in control at the end of the day. Which is actually the truth.
Who is tiger? Tiger represents the current generation of poor Malaysian Indians who no matter what re-education they go through, will opt for the gang life as they don’t see a hope of getting a job or respect by suffering like the rest who try to earn an honest living. He is a jolly angry youngster. Each of his appearance is similar to the story of the average poor indian who are stuck in this cycle. Tiger is there at the end during the gang fight on the rooftop but he is captured by the cops. Why did the cops capture him and not the rest? Coz he can be swayed and broken to do the cops bidding – which is to eliminate kabali.
Does this mean Indian Malaysians are suffering? Yes and no. yes there are a lot of problems and it is a struggle to not be another statistic. And it is kinda getting worse for all classes. To be honest if you are poor, an indian – you are like a third class citizen the worst position on the list. The poor malays fall into these category as well but they still can get government assistance in some ways. There are also poor chinese people but their percentage is very small and they aren’t treated as the scums of the society. There are also criminals, gangsters in all races in all states. http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/police-believes-gangsters-behind-damansara-perdana-homemade-bombs The professionals or employed middle class can be likened to a second class citizen. The rich are rich no matter where. So if you as a Malaysian indian has never gone through any of this or don’t see this happening – that makes you a privileged Malaysian indian. The most similar global reference to this situation is the blacks in America. The black lives matter campaign talks about similar issues as what the Malaysian Indians face. We are probably a decade or two away from cops shooting down any indian male for just being in an area or for putting their hands in their pockets. No it is not the end of the world here. We don’t live in hate of other races. Not all malays and chinese are racists and discriminatory. We actually live in harmony, mostly. I took a chinese friend to watch Kabali yesterday. Yes we watch each others movies, eat each others food, marry inter races, and have wonderful friends across the races. Most Malaysians share similar sentiments despite a growing number of stereotypes in the country. I also got lucky both at work and friends but even in a professional arena I have had indian stereotypes thrown at me, no matter how long my success and credibility list is. And if I were to go out and look for a job, despite my success it will take a long time for even me to get a job. I have indian friends who have been on a job hunt for the last year or so and have been rejected numerous times. And in the past I have felt the same rejection many times. Years ago circa 2009, a listed chinese property company called me for a telephone interview and she sent me an email with all the details of the interview date and time and requested for my photo for security clearance. So I sent her my photo. Right after I got an email that the interview was cancelled. Turns out I wasn’t the right coloured indian they were willing to hire despite their interest in my capabilities. Kabali link – the dark skin reference is mentioned when kabali says his wife loved his dark skin despite her being fair. That was not a random point. That’s an actual issue here. Do we hate being Malaysians? On contrary i love being a Malaysian despite everything and I only identify myself as a Malaysian. And to be honest similar issues happen worldwide to minorities anywhere. Do I want change? I want people to give chances to downtrodden people who are poor and caught in a vicious cycle. We can’t change politics that easily but we can change how we treat and perceive a fellow Malaysia. So stop stereotyping? Conclusion – what directorial brilliance! So if you made it to this point. You’ll realise how brilliantly Pa Ranjith has weaved actual issues, actual history into the fictional realistic commercial movie that is Kabali. I don’t know how long he took to research our story or how much reading he did. It took me half a day to write this as I wanted to get the history as exact as possible and provide supporting links for further reading. I would so love to ask him a gazillion questions and if someone could tag him on this. I would like to know if he knew all this references as I don’t think even Malaysians will get all the references in the movie as much as I did. I wrote this simply to show how brilliant his script was despite all the negative comments based simply on a lack of understanding. One day in the future this movie and its script will receive its acknowledgement. Most of all THANK YOU Pa Ranjith for writing this script for us Indian Malaysians. Note: if there are historical inaccuracies, apologies. I am making analytical gueses based on my knowledge of Malaysian history. if info is omitted or not explained enough, its coz im trying to keep this as short and detailed as possible. To my other race friends: I hold no grudge on anyone as many know, i am just stating actual issues as it is. Also I believe these challenges only make us stronger, more resilient. I am hoping this will also serve as an educational understanding of the Malaysian indian conundrum.

29 comments:

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Thank you for taking the time and the trouble to write so clearly about the background and history.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post and very detailed. Thank you for taking the time. I came under the number 2 category (know something about malaysia but not fully). I personally wish the director had put this all in a better form...its as if he had a brilliant background to cover but chickened out cos he didnt want to get serious.

Siva said...

Wow.. Now I understand quite a few scenes totally. Nice article. Keep up!

Random Access said...

Sooper dooper article!!!

Random Access said...

Sooper dooper article!!!

Mimi said...

I wanted to write such a article(i am a malaysian indian) now settled in USA. Even i dont think so i could have written such a detailed arricle. Bravo! I got the same sentiment after seeing such a brilliant movie and it was widely getting critized for getting everything so right. Ranjith as a director who is not a malaysian indian was able to depict such a movie with so much integrity n style. ( especially i agree the word laa was used so appropriately) only a Malaysian wud never overuse 😊! I am gonna share ur article n hopefully it wud go viral n do justice to such a brilliant movie!

Unknown said...

I'm impressed and appreciate for your kind explanation on the history of our malaysian Indian...Bravo....

Balaji D said...

What a review...brilliantly analysed!!!...surely pa.ranjit will get to know you soon for your explanations about his reality story..thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for great article.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant article which helps us to understand what Pa.Ranjith is trying to show in Kabali. I am an Indian living in US for past few years and having a perception that Indians in Malaysia are living decent(to rich) life and that's why they get settled in Malaysia. I am feeling pretty emotional thinking what our Tamils are going through just because of the skin color.
I think if I watch the movie again, I could really appreciate the movie for it's contents. I appreciate greater details and references to actual videos/stories. Best of Luck!!!

Krishna said...

Thanks buddy for your detailed analysis. Really useful and helped me understanding Ranjith's writing.

tony said...

Hi there...no one in the world would have written this article in detail than this...good work & keep it up..I watched kabali in Kuwait as I am working here..went first day first show...fyi I am the only Malaysian in the theatre with brothers & sisters from India in full house mode..the spirit of watching the movie was only first 15 minutes for them & started to curse the director...also keep on commenting & mocking till end of the movie..for myself i enjoyed the movie to the last bit without a single censorship in Kuwait..This movie is about Malaysian Indian & for all Malaysians to see...Hopefully the malay dubbed version will be watched by Chinese & Malay brothe...Thanks to super star Rajini for acting & talk our way in the movie..million of thanks to director

tony said...

Hi there...no one in the world would have written this article in detail than this...good work & keep it up..I watched kabali in Kuwait as I am working here..went first day first show...fyi I am the only Malaysian in the theatre with brothers & sisters from India in full house mode..the spirit of watching the movie was only first 15 minutes for them & started to curse the director...also keep on commenting & mocking till end of the movie..for myself i enjoyed the movie to the last bit without a single censorship in Kuwait..This movie is about Malaysian Indian & for all Malaysians to see...Hopefully the malay dubbed version will be watched by Chinese & Malay brothe...Thanks to super star Rajini for acting & talk our way in the movie..million of thanks to director

Anonymous said...

Thank u for saying these facts..MAGIZCHI !!

srinavin ..... said...

Excellent article . Thank you

Ajay said...

This is a great breakdown. With due respects to Ranjith, he has never failed to touch upon the real essence of the oppressed in his films and that is what makes him likeable. However, given he is at the helm of a medium called cinema and riding on a superstar vechile, he sure missed the chance to present these perspectives in an engaging manner. And that is precisely why there is an outrage against the film and so much on him. Maybe he was boxed to write with so many compromises given this is a superstar film or maybe he had too short a time and he just had too many characters that made the story lose focus. End of the day, unless the 2.5 hour product needs to do the talking. Respect to Ranjith, he is a promising writer and a good director, looking forward to his nexts.
On your article, thanks for the information. An academically interested movie buff would have done this homework and glad that you went a step ahead to post this out for others who didn't.

Anonymous said...

Thanks.. appreciate the effort. Its amazing to view it from your article. Cheers

Senthil Kumar Balakrishnan said...


excellent article. Kudos to the writer. It is well detailed and properly linked to the scenes/background in malaysia.
much appreciated

ashoka said...

Wonderful Effort.This article should be given to Negative Reviewers .

Ajith kumar said...

Hi! Iam an indian tamizhan, I dint know about the malaysian issue but I just loved the movie as I was in the first day itself. See the drama represented by ranjith sir is the best thing and all these years I just saw the rajini sir in a different way. Morever Pa ranjith sir, my inspiration is you. Never try to get commercial because a film is an art. You are the director who represents it. And for all rajini fans I wanna share you one thing, rajini = mass but kabali = emotions. So please understand the concept. And thanks for the issues you mentioned (visithra).
My one and only request. please dont degrade these type of directors as they are the gifts for our industry.
If something is wrong i'm sry.
I support ranjith sir and rajini sir.
Thank you for giving a good movie.

Renuga Pillai said...

A very detailed report and we understand fully. Thanks much for your timing and efforts.

nidya said...

I wanted to write this explanation....you saved my tine n effort.
Thank you very much from a fellow Malaysian!

Visithra said...

thank you everyone - just realised there are comments here. i am glad this was an eye opener to many. and to my fellow Malaysians, im glad this reached you guys.

patriots of india said...

Hats off ma for such a detailed description of the state of malaysian Indians. I have a few malaysian Indian friends and I am fully enthralled by their fight in Malaysia. They were there fir no big fault of their's. Please continue writing on this. You are a good blogger and will e happy to read to your blogs. Write more about democratic ways of fight for justice by Malaysian Indians. Thanks once again bro!!!!

Hinsaf. Habeeb said...

Great article, good read. However, it's still a shit movie. Terrible cast, art direction, etc.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully analyzed and explained. After reading the blog, am able to appreciate the movie better. Thank you.

CPrakash said...

Thank you for writing this article and this definitely adds more information for the movie. Though it was a Rajini entertainer this article adds more meaning to the movie and highlight the sincere efforts done by the team and people to get involved and watch the movie, especially for people who have lived or traveled in and around Malaysia

gauthamreddy555 said...

All here a Chennai or tamil mari never said the movie is bad all were worried that rajini was not rajini..... even I have lots of Malaysian born friends. I see lots of disconnect in the movie.. but the finally the message was not clear.. turned out to be a sandwich...

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