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Kalki Review: Uneven Investigation

Kalki Review: Uneven Investigation

Movie: Kalki
Rating: 2.5/5
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Cast: Rajasekhar, Adah Sharma, Nandita Swetha, Rahul Ramakrishna, Nasser, Ashutosh Rana, Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Shatru, Charandeep and others 
Music: Shravan Bharadwaj
Cinematography: Dasaradhi Shivendra
Art: Nagendra
Editor: Goutham Nerusu
Producer: C Kalyan
Written and Direction: Prasanth Varma
Release Date: June 28, 2019

“Garuda Vega” has changed the perception towards Rajasekhar’s movies. His teaming up with ‘Awe’ director Prasanth Varma has generated good buzz and both them have hiked the expectations with the stunning teasers and trailers.

Has the film lived up to the promise? Let’s find out.

Story:
Sometime in 1980's in Kollapur region in Telangana, a ruthless political leader Narsappa (Ashutoshu Rana) has rivalry with Perumandlu. One day Narsappa's brother Sekhar Babu (Jonnalagadda) gets killed.

A police officer Kalki (Rajasekhar) who is specialist in encounters is sent by Government to investigate the case. A journalist Devadutta (Rahul Ramakrishna) tries to help Kalki. 

How Kalki solves the murder case and who killed Sekhar Babu and for what reason?

Artistes’ Performances:
Rajasekhar who is known for playing angry cop roles has played the role of an investigative police officer. His body language and his performance is okay but his over makeup is bad.

After Rajasekhar it is Rahul Ramakrishna who has got a lengthy role and he is good in his part, who does both comedy and serious act.

Siddhu Jonnalagadda as Sekhar Babu is impressive. So is Nandita Swetha as Asima Khan. Nasser and Ashutosh Rana have done neat job.

Technical Excellence:
Prasanth Varma has proved that he has command over technicians in his debut movie ‘Awe’ itself. This film is made with bigger budget and he got best output from cinematographer Dasaradhi Shivendra.

The framing and angles of the shots are creative Background score is asset to this movie. Dialogue writing is apt. Production values are superb.

Highlights:
Last 25 minutes
Locations and production values
Stylish taking

Drawback:
First half
Uneven narration
Lack of connect

Analysis
Director Prasanth Varma debuted in “Awe”, a different psychological thriller made in a limited budget. His second film “Kalki” is a period investigative thriller.

The film begins interestingly with the voiceover of how the Kollapur region was ruled by noble family of Rani Ramachandramma. Narsappa who sets eyes on grabbing power puts fire to the palace killing all the royal decedents.

This story is revealed by a local villager to journalist Devadatta (Rahul Ramakrishna) and soon Sekhar Babu, brother of Narsappa was killed by hanging him to the tree and putting fire to it.

Then comes the introduction of Rajasekhar. These 15 minutes of the story has set the mood right and draws into the film. We are also transported to new milieu and its problems.

The visuals, the mood, the cinematography are perfect here. But the film completely goes for the toss when the director focuses on Rajasekhar doing his investigation and Rahul Ramakrishna fearing ghost-like figures, etc.

Then there is a lengthy thread of Rajasekhar and his past love affair with Dr. Padma played by Adah Sharma.

The romantic thread and their chemistry is awfully bad and also the sequences shot in Hilly Himalayas have added nothing to the narration except giving some rich production value.

Till the interval, the film goes on sluggish way except giving some engaging moments in between like the killings of villagers when they were on the boat journey from Kollapur to Srisailam.

The director has given more importance to slow motion shots of action stunts, photography and stylized poses of Rajasekhar.

It is only after the end of item song post-interval, the movie focuses on the main story and the mystery unfolds. Who killed Sekhar Babu is revealed in midpoint. The real engaging moments are the final reveal by Nandita Swetha.

While the thriller and its basic point is very clichéd, the director has tried to present it in a stylized way with commercial elements. The action blocks are good but over indulgence on slow motion has tested patience.

The narration is uneven throughout this 142-minute. Despite this it definitely has provided some engaging moments and the reason why Rajasekhar is named after Kalki avatar and the overall Karma effect is explained well.

Overall, “Kalki” is a mixed bag, that has some thrilling moments but the middle-portion is too dull. It is more like style over the substance with neat ending.  

Bottom-line: Style Over Substance

(Venkat Arikatla can be reached at venkat@greatandhra.com)

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