Kalki Review & Rating
Kalki Review: Incoherent Narration Killed A Well-Constructed Mystery
After delivering memorable films with their respective last outings, senior actor Rajasekhar and young director Prasanth Varma joined hands to come up with a period piece. It is a surprising combination. Not just because it is an odd combination but also because of the different approaches the director and the actor are known for. Prasanth Varma is a trendy young filmmaker who is influenced by World Cinema and Rajasekhar who just came out of his old-school to reestablish himself as a viable lead man.
The Arrival of Kalki
Kalki starts with the brutal murder of Sekhar Babu and it gives the vibes of Rangasthalam with its rugged villagish atmospheric setting. But the comparisons end there. The area in which Kollapuram situated is under the grip of two rivals, MLA Narasappa (a stereotypical name) and his rival Perumandlu.
They terrorize the people of that area and force them to live under constant fear. It is in this setting that journalist Deva Dutta enters the scene. He is there to cover a jathara but is intrigued by the recent past of the place. An old man narrates the story of Narasappa and his growth as the feared feudal lord in the 1980s Telangana.
Narasappa is cunning as well as cruel. He killed Rani Ramachandramma and her kid by burning their palace. Whoever stands up against him are eliminated. But even as the old man narrates the story of Narasappa to Deva Dutta (information: Deva Dutta is the conch shell of Mahabharata hero Arjuna), in a similar fashion to Ramachandramma, Shekhar Babu, the brother of Narasappa is murdered. Karma bites. Or is there another twist of fate?
Enter Mr. Kalki! An IPS officer and encounter specialist, a profession of passion for our heroes lately when they don the khaki. He is sent to investigate the murder of Shekhar Babu. In the meantime, Narasappa vows to avenge the death of his beloved brother who didn't even harm ants. And he was the man who generally fought for the people.
Like every self-respected Tollywood hero cop, Kalki is tagged along by Deva Dutta. And just like the Kalki Avatara, this Kalki is established as a final justice. The unlikely combination sets out to solve the mystery behind the murder. But they are faced with one puzzle after another. And as every hero in a commercial entertainer needs a heroine, we have Adah Sharma playing Kalki's love interest in a boring romantic track which doesn't mix well with the texture of the rest of the film.
Kalki troubled by one mystery after another finally unravels the mystery and shocking truth. How he does this? What is Deva Dutta's contribution to this? And who is behind the death of Shekhar Babu form the rest of the story.
Writing and direction
Prasanth Varma has come up with a regular murder mystery and shifted the scene to 1983. He added complex layers to the simple mystery but himself got confused in adding up it all into a coherent narrative. The opening sequence until the death of Shekhar Babu is done extraordinarily. With such a bang, we expected the entrance of the hero elevates the film further. But despite Dr. Rajasekhar's best efforts, the narration falls flat.
Most of the first half is confusing for most of the audience. The threads don't lead anywhere and the lack of a proper storyline created problems. Murder mysteries and the investigation procedurals need a lot of technique to work well both in writing and filmmaking. But it is not the case. Except for the last half hour or so, Kalki remains a patience test for the non-multiplex audience. And multiplex audience outguesses the filmmaker which makes it all the more tragic.
The music of the film is good in the sense that the sounds created by Sharavan Bhardwaj sound well. But there is a clear lack of sync between the narration and background score. The much talked about item song fails to raise the pulse. The cinematography is first rate. The visuals are striking. The editing could have been better. The production design is terrific. The production values are first class.
Rajasekhar et al
Rajasekhar despite not looking younger is very charming in his role. He is every inch a cop as he was at his best days. The performance has the same punch and the verve of the days of Ankusham and Agraham. But his character has several lighthearted moments and is designed in a trendy way. He's extremely good in the action sequences.
Adah Sharma looked beautiful and is solace in an otherwise bore-fest of a romantic track. Nandita Swetha received a very crucial role and did well. So is the case with Pujitha Ponnada despite her role is not as important as Nandita Swetha's. Ashutosh Rana is brilliant in the role of the chief antagonist. Shatru received a role he had donned several times previously and did like he did in previous outings. Rahul Ramakrishna is good in parts.
Notes about goofs
But in the 1980s, the Naxalites weren't called Maoists, they rechristened themselves in the early 2000s. Another goof is, despite the Telangana backdrop, how come Telangana Thalli in 1983? The concept started during the early 2000s only.
Kalki has many twists and turns which are rather surprising and have the shock value to keep the audience intrigued. But the first half of the film is marred by wayward narration. The final half-hour keeps you on the edge of the seat though. You can give it a try if you don't have any other options. After all, it is a well-made film and isn't too bad.
- Rajasekhar as a cop is terrific despite looking a bit older.
- Very interesting setup
- Allusions to Kalki Avatar
- Twists are executed well and the last half hour is an edge of the seat stuff
- Incoherent narration
- No story in the first half
Pycker Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Reviewed by: GitacharYa
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What Is Kalki About?
Once the Angry Young Man of Tollywood and care of address for sincere cop roles, Rajasekhar had gone down the pecking order for more than a decade before bouncing back with PSV Garuda Vega. It seems that he has regained his mojo. And then he seems to have understood that changed times (Rajasekhar's last genuine blockbuster was before Balakrishna redefined masala action films with Samarasimha Reddy) needed changed brains. That is new-age filmmaking.
He joined hands with young filmmaker Prasanth Varma brimming with ideas for scorchingly different films (who can forget that AweSome debut) and he now comes up with Kalki, a pleasingly period piece which is touted to be based on a real incident. Rajasekhar himself takes care of the production and he appears (albeit with some help from look-designers) as young as ever with a charming cutout. A mystery couples with ingenious humor and typical Rajasekhar style of verve in serious action Kalki promises to be a treat for film buffs.
Kalki talks about karma and its repercussions on one level and is a thrilling actioner on the other. As the initial commercial teaser hints at, it's an investigative thriller set in the early 1980s reusing Tollywood's renewed fascination for the not too distant past. With Sadhus, their cryptic predictions, rugged goons, fights in rains, and the trendy shotmaking, Kalki promises to be an intelligent thriller. No need to say, Angry Star Rajasekhar plays the role of an investigative officer in the eponymous role.
A reinvented Rajasekhar
Rajasekhar mostly gives an air of being an angry man what with several rebelliously anger filled roles he played throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s. But he played romantic roles successfully and did have good comic timing. But people are stuck with the image of Ankusham Rajasekhar more than Allari Priyudu Raja.
Now, after sweeping out much-needed success (at least critically and craze wise), he surely is on a path of reinventing himself. His dialogue at the end of the commercial teaser is enough to tell us about how he worked on his role. And there's the powerful aura he carries as a police officer has never left him. It's the other way round. Kalki is going to be a treat for the 1990w movie buffs who grew up watching him nailing one firebrand role after another.
Prasanth Varma and his team
Young sensation Prasanth Varma has a terrific debut last year and he couldn't come up with a more different film than Kalki as his second. Rather than going for more of the same on a bigger canvas, he has truly ironed in on a real big canvas of storytelling. Shravan Bharadwaj's score is trendy as well as having a retro feel. The special song already hit it out with the youth. Dasarathi Sivendra's cinematography has a similarly enticing retro feel. C. Kalyan produces this film on C. K. Entertainment banner.
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