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Kaala , Some More Murky Crime Chicanery




Kaala(Streaming on Disney+Hotstar)

Rating: * ½

Coming  from one of  my  preferred directors  Bejoy Nambiar,Kaala is  especially disappointing. Its jumpcut style of  storytelling whereby we the viewers have to constantly keep adjusting and  readjusting the plot’s  timeline,  is not only  exasperating; after  a point it all begins to seem like  a monstrous waste  of  (our)time and (their) energy.

I have always admired Bejoy Nambiar for being a  stylish storyteller  who never allows the  content to be  smothered in a visual tango.This time  it’s different. The  frames groan under the weight  of their audacity.

 The title Kaala refers  to the  black hawaala money,or maybe even the dark intentions  of the characters or just the ponderous mood that prevails  throughout . It really doesn’t matter. This is a lost cause from its  flagrant opening.

Bejoy  opens up the  canvas to accommodate illegal activities at the India-Bangladesh  border. There is a  tunnel  explosion sequence early in the plot where  junior artistes run in panic .This  is  not  the  kind of  visual experience that translates well on the  OTT medium.

 Kaala thinks  big. But executes  its vision poorly. All the main actors seen  strapped to skimpy characterizations. They are national do-gooders waiting for one  line, one scene  even one shot that would give them a  chance to override the series’ obstinate nullity.

  Avinash Tiwary  who is  also seen in this week’s other  OTT  series Bambai Meri Jaan, for once crosses to the  right side of the crime line, but is  constantly pulled down by the jumpy  plot and graceless visual style  whereby saturated  frames become, not a style statement, but an annoying afterthought to what must have seemed like  a routine crime-busting  tale.

Rohin Vinod Mehra and Jitin Gulati  are  left  bereft  after the  plot overruns  all rationale. We  have a  kingpin  villain (Taher Shabbir) whose hawaala racket Avinash Tiwary’s  character Ritwik wants to  shut down at any cost.He takes the  help of West Bengal’s chief minister who gives Ritwik a  freehand to get the slippery villain.

“But we don’t have any concrete evidence against  him,” Ritwik protests.

“He just tried to bribe  me,  the  Chief Minister of West Bengal, isn’t that a crime?” Mita Vashisht playing the  CM,  retorts.

A bigger crime is to cast actors  like  Vashisht and Tiwary in  roles that barely allow them to breathe, let alone  show their worth.

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