Kaala isn’t a Rajinikanth film — it is a Pa Ranjith film starring actor Rajinikanth; not the superstar, mind you. Ranjith makes this absolutely clear right from the word go by giving Rajini his simplest introduction on celluloid after ages. Kaala is seen playing cricket with young kids in the slum. You might be expecting him to hit a six. It is a Rajini film after all. Instead, Kaala gets his middle stump knocked out. Kaala calls to Valliappan (Samuthirakani), the umpire, and appeals for a no ball. But Valliappan gives a wide. An involuntary smile slowly spreads on my lips throughout this sequence. I knew immediately that we weren’t going to witness the superstar Rajinikanth, but rather the Rajini from the 80s, an actor with charisma and screen presence like no one else.