Style Over Substance
‘U/A’ Certified, 2 hrs 22 mins.
What Is the Film About?
The village of Kollapuram is under the rule of Narsappa (Ashutosh Rana) and Perumal (Shatru). One day during a local festival Sekhar (Siddhu Jonnalagadda), brother of Narsappa gets killed. Kalki (Rajasekhar) is appointed the investigation officer. Who is behind the murder of Sekhar and how Does Kalki conclude the mystery is what the movie is all about?
How Is Rajasekhar’s Performance?
Kalki is a project that is designed for Rajasekhar. It is a tailor-made role for him. The director merely sets the narrative to bring about a collection of best moments of Rajasekhar. So, we get the funny, romantic, angry, and the smiling faces of the senior star all rolled into Kalki.
It is without any doubt nice to see the star in his elements just breeze through the proceedings. He is effortless. The age, no matter how much the cover-up is done, shows. But after a point, it doesn’t matter. Rajasekhar presses his best foot forward and delivers.
Direction by Prashanth Varma?
Prasanth Varma in his second outing after Awe has picked an entirely different subject. Kalki is an investigative thriller on the surface, but it is as commercial as it comes with a mixture of multiple genres.
For a thriller, Prasanth Varma picks up a nice backdrop and characters. The opening sequences and the whole set up are excellent (albeit some inconsistencies), and it generates interest on what will happen next. The entrance of the ‘star’ is also neatly done.
It looks like we are in for a thrilling ride after all the build-up and establishment, but when the actual content begins to unravel, the narrative loses its grip entirely. It seems to meander all over feeding into the star moments rather than content. The character of Rahul Ramakrishna appears to be put for the sole purpose to guide the audience on what is happening. If not for him, the entire narrative would have crumbled after the engaging start.
The second issue is the tonal inconsistencies. The narrative jumps multiple genres scene after scene. After a mass establishment, we get into a thriller zone, a few scenes later, there is a horror angle with suspense built in a different tone. It doesn’t stop here, and we have further mixtures into the already heady mix. The result is a cluttered experience as to what is happening and what to expect.
And finally, the actual suspense feels let down initially. At the end of the first half, one does get a feeling of making a mountain of a molehill. If it’s that simple, why waste so much time with all the nonsense?
Did we forget to mention there is a love story amidst all this where Kalki is reminded of his past, courtesy a character? Right in the middle of an on-going investigation, the story shifts to a different track.
Well, let us get back on track. The second half feels more compact in comparison than the first. The proceedings are more about the core plot, and there is less pandering and meandering overall. Still, the beginning of the second half too bores. It is only towards the pre-climax that we finally get involved in the story, and something conclusive happens. The ending is full of mostly predictable twists.
Kalki starts and ends well. In between, a lot is going on, but if you have closely followed the beginning and slept through and woke up ‘in time’ at pre-climax, you wouldn’t have missed a beat. The parts that might confuse are needless anyway. If you are still unsure, there is a character explicitly put into clearing all your doubts.
Overall, making and execution wise Kalki is a big affair. It has moments that provide some freshness. If that alone is enough give it a try.
Adah Sharma and Others?
Adah Sharma and Nandita Swetha are the two female leads in the movie. The former has a romantic link, whereas the latter comes as an integral part of the story. No prizes for guessing who shines. Nanditha Swetha makes the best of the critical moment. Adah Sharma’s portions could be cut, and it wouldn’t be much of a difference to the proceedings.
Ashutosh Rana playing evil for the nth time shines again. He does his part with ease. Siddhu Jonnalagadda is a surprise character-wise, but not a revelation acting wise. The real scene stealer though is Rahul Ramakrishna who gets a full-fledged sidekick role. He is mighty engaging in whatever he has been given. The rest of the cast is alright.
Music and Other Departments?
Shravan Bharadwaj’s music is alright with the one item song being passable. It is the background score where he shines the brightest and leaves an impact. The cinematography is superb, giving a rich look to the film. The editing could have been better in parts. The writing is on predictable lines barring the mythological mixing, at times.
The meandering narrative in the first half
No emotional connect
A simple and straightforward alternative take would be to add more meat to the narrative and keep the flashy stuff aside.
Did I Enjoy It?
Yes in parts
Will You Recommend It?
Yes but with reservations.
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