sasidharan's camera, whether static or moving, is quietly ominous, filming with seemingly equal dread the stillness of water, the unremitting gaze of dissolute men, lashing rain, the silence of nature, the drooping eyes of drunken apathy.
a living, breathing record of an urban milieu -- reconstructed with the vibrancy of color, music and rebellion -- shots of alleys, domestic interiors and every sound bringing forth the multiplicities of voices, perspectives and personalities of its dalit community.
at the center of it is, of course, rajni, a screen presence and symbol imposing enough to potentially define/devour/debilitate everything around him. somewhat startlingly (at least for someone yet to watch kabali), kaala begins and sustains a tense dialogue between…
between waheeda's every gesture, every abrupt cut to dev anand's face, every segue into beautiful song -- the recurring 'tere mere sapne' a particularly heartbreaking highlight -- and the fervid existential heights of the prolonged epilogue that pushes an already deeply troubled film into even stranger territory, guide is one of those classics that only slowly unravels its many complexities, one rewatch at a time.