When I saw the trailer of the movie Kalki, it lacked a punch which one expects in a so-called mass action movie with an alpha male. If you have felt the same way, then I can tell you that the movie is pretty much an elaborated version of that trailer in terms of feel. There is quirky heroism with a little bit of irreverence in the action of our hero which made me understand the motive of the makers to go with this concept which doesn’t have anything particularly fresh. But that wacky side doesn’t get much limelight and the mass pleaser angle is somewhat overdone making Kalki a watchable movie with nothing particularly great about it at the end.
So Nanjam Kotta (a word that gets repeated record times in the movie) is our fictitious land where the story happens. The police can’t do anything there as the ruling part DYP and its local hero Amar are terrorizing figures for the people. Tamil people in Nanjam Kotta had to leave that place in fear of Amar and his party. The movie Kalki shows how that power dynamic changes when our hero takes charge of the local police station.
Set in KL 99, Praveen Prabharam has subtly conveyed us the fact that he isn’t eyeing for a rational story. Who appointed Kalki, How come this guy doesn’t have any senior officers to report and how a powerful leader is unable to just transfer him to somewhere else etc are logical questions that we won’t ask because we won’t mind existing in that universe. But the issue I had was with the overdone stylization and the dialogue delivery of almost everyone that has a charmless stiffness. These two things are constant in this movie and you have to remember that the film isn’t a suspense thriller where you are hooked till the end. We all know that hero and villain will fight and the hero will win. But how interesting is that is the selling point and in that aspect, Kalki is half baked.
Warning: The phrase dialogue delivery will be used several times in this paragraph. Tovino Thomas has managed to build a body that looks convincing and even his body language is catchy. This is perhaps the first time he is trying to experiment with the dialogue delivery (correct me if I am wrong), and to be honest, one can really sense moments where the director wants the viewers to whistle, but it just doesn’t happen because the dialogue delivery wasn’t graceful. Shivajith, who plays the villain in the film is convincing as someone who can takedown a reckless guy like our hero. That character also had dialogue delivery issues. Samyuktha Menon has a very minimal role here and her problems with the dialogue delivery were pretty evident from the trailer itself. Harish Uthaman also had the charm to be a bad guy but he also struggled with the dialogue delivery. Hearing him say Mannappam in the first scene reminded me of the Malayalam Paris Laxmi says in Bangalore Days. James Elia was memorable as Kuttan to whom Kalki says sorry at one point. Dheeraj Denny’s face will get registered with people after this movie. The slight comical shade that was given to Vini Viswalal’s character sort of spoiled that role. Sudheesh, KPAC Lalitha, Aparna Nair, Saiju Kurup, etc are the other names in the long list of characters in the film.
The writer in the police station is pretty much like a motivational speaker here. And like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, in one scene Kalki says sorry to Kuttan as he missed the chance to witness a tight slap because Kalki asked him to get a tea. These kind of odd humor and odd characterizations are what sort of made Kalki a little bit different from other films that pretty much had the same storyline. What I wished to see was more such fun on screen. But the movie is too much obsessed with creating typical fight sequences. The second half is heavily predictable and there is a limit for visual grandeur to save the lack of punch in the storytelling. Goutham Shankar’s frames and the color palette have helped the movie in attaining the larger than life feel (I loved the color palette in the trailer for that rain fight over the one used in the movie). One major problem I had was with the editing which wasn’t at all crispy. It almost felt like all those so-called mass sequences had one tail end which they should edit out. The placing of the background score was a bit problematic.
It has been a while since a Bharath Chandran type action film has arrived in Malayalam and thus I don’t have a problem with a Dabangg like movie happening in Malayalam. Kalki is a watchable average action film that needed a more engaging and entertaining treatment.
Kalki is a watchable average action film that needed a more engaging and entertaining treatment.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended