“Kaala is like the kaalan (mushroom) that sprouted in yesterday’s rain. If they plan to disrupt peace in the state for their personal political gains, we might have to take legal actions against them,” warned TN minister Jayakumar.
Apparently, the lyrics of songs from the Rajinikanth film have ruffled feathers in the TN government. Jayakumar in fact went so far as to link the lyrics, to Rajinikanth’s political entry, and lashed out at him and the Kaala team, accusing them of trying to incite violence.
“Tamil Nadu is a safe state. We have made it safe for our women as well. If Rajinikanth makes a political entry everything will be made right, is it? He should not be creating confusion in the state for the sake of his politics,” Jayakumar said.
The comment came hours after the release of the film’s audio, at 9 am on Wednesday. The Kaala team is gearing up for a grand launch at YMCA grounds later in the evening.
Composed by Santhosh Narayanan, the album is a mix of rap, melodies and kuthu songs. The songs lyrics have been penned by an array of writers like Dopeadelicz, Arunraja Kamaraj, Logan, Kabilan, Roshan Jamrock, Uma Devi and Arivu. The songs take on class politics, oppression and exploitation of the working class.
For instance, Poraaduvom, the song penned by Dopeadelicz and sung by Dopeadelic and Logan, contains powerful lyrics that take on a host of social issues.
Iruttil vaazhigarai nee kuruttu nambikai odu
Velicham thedi thesi veragil nee vendhu saavai
Kanikkai peril inge kal silaikkum lanjam kodi
Kodi kumiyudhu undiyalil
Naattil anal panjam
Nirathaalum mathathaththalum pirinthu vittom
Manidhabhimanathai naamelam maranthu vittom
Kaasin thiruvilayadal kandu naam mayangivittom
Adaiyalam naam tholaithu vittom
Urimai izhanthu vittom
Naam iranthu vittom
You are living in the darkness with blind beliefs
You will die in the woods seeking light
In the name of offering, crores are being given to a stone statue
Crores in the coffers
But poverty in the nation abounds
We have been divided by colour and religion
We have forgotten our humanity
We have fallen prey to money games
We have lost our identity
We have lost our rights
We have died
The audio is a precursor to what is expected to be a ‘mass’ film with a social message – like all of Pa Ranjith’s previous films. While Attakathi and Madras had a more subtle messaging, Ranjith’s first film with Rajinikanth – Kabali – was rife with instances of caste and class struggle.
In Kaala, Rajinikanth plays a gangster from Dharavi, Asia’s second largest slum in Mumbai. Director Pa Ranjith had said that the story is about the diversity of Dharavi. In particular, the film deals with Tirunelveli Tamils in the locality.
The teaser of Kaala begins with a chorus of voices shouting, "Poraduvom" or "We will fight", placing it immediately in the context of a people's struggle.
While Jayakumar’s comments have kicked up a controversy, the film’s audio launch has also been criticised by many: People have asked whether the film needs such a grand audio launch at a time when the people in the state, especially distressed farmers, are fighting for a Cauvery Management Board. The IPL matches that were supposed to be held in Chennai were also moved out for this reason, following violent protests.
If IPL celebration cud be an embarrassment when the state's rights have been betrayed in #Cauvery how can the grand audio launch of #kaala be justified? Why the double standards. Hearing there will be 8500 people in the audience to hear @rajinikanth and his #kaalaa songs— Lakshmi Subramanian (@lakhinathan) May 8, 2018
double standard by @rajinikanth and the Tamil movie folks and Tamil separatists parties. IPL shouldn't be in Chennai as it is entertainment while Kaveri water isn't there but #Kaala is fine to be enjoyed. That #UnakkuvandhaRatthamEnakkuvandhaThakkaliChutney moment pic.twitter.com/DhVENdfHNO— Aravind (@netcitizen) May 9, 2018
Well done tamil cinema stars.protest for cauvery and shift IPL matches out of https://t.co/VUf4rhfzhL Kaala music launch justified fully to satisfy a top star's ego. so much for tamil pride and farmers.Sad after Jaya's death..spineless are talking and shouting.— Somashekara Kumar (@soma400) May 9, 2018
He said embarrassment bcoz of the protest. Is protest still happening? If he is asking to stop IPL, why he asked to wear black band if they want? So, If you want you can attend the Kaala audio launch event wearing Black Band.. no restrictions on that— Cross Question (@Cross_Question) May 8, 2018
However, the film has also found several supporters. Director Ram said that Kaala does not have the same magnitude that IPL had.
“A lot of us protested against IPL because we knew the issue will escalate and gain international attention. The whole idea was to draw attention to the issue at hand. And it was a success. But since then, a lot has happened in the state. Kaala audio launch does not have the magnitude that IPL had. Protesting against this might take a different tone altogether. It might become electoral politics. Protests should not have electoral agenda,” he explained.