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Kaalkoot,Vijay Verma’s Feeble Flipflop



Kaalkoot(8 episodes ;streaming on  JioCinema)

Rating: **

Watching this dark murky look at smalltown gender prejudices I got a nasty bout of déjà vu. Kaalkoot looks like the brilliant Dahaad stripped of  all slanted  relevance and subliminal strengths. It is  like  being placed  at the  centre of  a morality tale that is so pale and stale, it never rises  above its flaws.

 Vijay Varma whom we’ve repeatedly seen playing sociopaths, is here the sincere  newly recruited cop facing a big crime  investigation. Until the  end  I  feared Verma would show his  true colours. But no. He  is the  Good Cop here, swear to  God, trying to do his  job.

 Verma’s Ravi  must investigate  an acid attack .He reminded  me Sonakshi Sinha  in Dahaad , specially the angle of the mother badgering the cop to get married.The bahu(t)-insistent  Mataji here is  the super-talented Seema Biswas.

   I  mildly  enjoyed the  mother-son scenes between Verma and Biswas. I could see both struggling to  add some meat to their underwritten  roles. But  honestly, these smalltown sagas about crimes against women  and lackadaisical police  investigation with moms and pops from the Doordarshan era, are becoming hackneyed and  uninteresting.

Vijay Verma is sincere, but largely on his own with no support from  the writers(Arunabh Kumar and Sumit  Saxena) who  flatten out the  characters  to the extent that they cannot breathe. Gopal Dutt who plays Verma’s  sadistic senior suddenly starts  showing streaks  of sympathy.

He is  the character  who is supposed to surprise  you. But we don’t not know him well enough to  feel anything.

Since the acid victim Parul is played by Shweta Tripathi Sharma,she can’t be lying inert on a dingy hospital  bed all the time. There are  flashbacks where she comes across  as rebellious  smalltowner  who  befriends more than  one male.Shocking!

We all know what happens to “forward” girls  in  backward towns. Director Sumit Saxena sets out to savgely censure  smalltown biases  but ends up spoofing those very characters who are  victim of these biases. Parul’s bestfriend is shown to be vacuous and unsteady in her opinion on boys  who give unwanted attention. While interrogating her, Verma and his  assistant(Yashpal Sharma, wasted) make no attempt to conceal their  contempt at girls in mofussil towns who befriend the ‘fear’ sex and pay the price.

Kaalkoot is  languid and  lacking in vitality.  It is supposedly set in a town called Sirsa in Bihar but little in the ambience or  characters suggests anything Bihari. This is  a serial that wants to be hardhitting and intense like Dahaad ,but lacks both  a roar and a bite.

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