Kabali is a 2016 Indian Tamil-language gangster-drama film written and directed by Pa. Ranjith and produced by Kalaipuli S. Thanu. The film revolves around the gang war between Kabaleeswaran (played by Rajinikanth) and Tony Lee (portrayed by Winston Chao). Radhika Apte, Dhansika, Dinesh Ravi, Kalaiyarasan, and John Vijay also star in pivotal roles.
Principal photography for the film began on 21 August 2015 in Chennai. While filming mostly occurred in Malaysia, some scenes were shot in Bangkok and Hong Kong.
The film was released in Tamil along with dubbed versions in Telugu and Hindi on 22 July 2016, while the film was released in Malay a week later. Kabali was released on 3200 screens in India, of which 2200 were in South India. Upon release, the film had the largest opening weekend for any Indian film worldwide.
A Kuala Lumpur–based don Kabaleeswaran alias Kabali (Rajinikanth) is released after spending 25 years in prison on a false charge of starting a massacre at a local Hindu temple that killed many, including his wife Kumudhavalli alias Kumudha (Radhika Apte). He immediately resumes charge of his old gang and soon confronts Loganathan alias Loga (Mime Gopi), a drug smuggler. Loga insults Kumudha, saying that she would have been sold into prostitution had she been alive. In retaliation, Kabali rams his car into Loga, killing him; however, the incident makes him believe that his wife may be still alive. Later, Kabali survives an assassination attempt by Tamizh Kumaran alias Kumaran (Kalaiyarasan), whose father Tamilmaaran (Charles Vinoth) was killed by Kabali when Kumaran was a young boy. The next day, at a function organised by the Free Life Foundation School, a school started by Kabali’s friend Ameer (John Vijay) to reform youngsters involved in criminal activities, Kabali talks about his past.
Kabali was the protege of Tamilmaaran’s father Tamilnesan (Nassar), a don who fought for the rights of the Tamil Malaysians. Tamilnesan was killed by Veerasekaran alias Veera (Kishore), who was also a part of Tamilnesan’s gang, but disliked his rules such as not involving in illegal activities like drug smuggling and prostitution. Following Tamilnesan’s death, Kabali took charge of Tamilnesan’s gang. But Veera manipulated Tamilmaaran by telling him that he, being Tamilnesan’s son, should lead the gang and not Kabali. Tamilmaaran invited Kabali and a pregnant Kumudha for a temple function. However, this was revealed to be a trap as Veera and his men confronted Kabali and Kumudha at the function. In the ensuing scuffle, Kabali was brutally attacked while Kumudha was shot and seemingly killed. Kabali then killed Tamilmaaran for his betrayal in front of a young Kumaran and was soon arrested on a false charge of instigating the massacre.