Kaala’s plot craved for a linear script

Avinash Tiwary in Kaala. Photo: Trailer Video Grab

The back-and-forth jerks between 1980 and 2018 (including 1990, 1997 et al!) are very, very confusing. And for an audience that watches such thrillers basically to enjoy a story, these become supremely irritating. Add Bejoy Nambair’s dark tenor-addiction and the OTT  obsession with kinks like a transgender baddie and of course the now almost-ubiquitous obsession with gays—and you have a full plate of tropes in a template thriller that looks at honest and corrupt law enforcers, the nexus with politicians, a period setting in part, international crime, regional flavors and more.

The series gets a near-crackerjack beginning as Ritwik (Avinash Tiwary) is rescued by his team after his colleague is killed by the villains. The IB officer and team are on the trial of a master villain in money laundering and more, Naman (Taher Shabbir). There is a back-story of a disgraced army officer Shubendu (Rohan Vinod Mehra) who is missing, and three blackguards among the law enforcers, Shashwat Roy (Trishaan), Pradeep Sharma (Vishvendra Singh) and Balwant Rana (Jitin Gulati), who are responsible for Subhendhu’s disrepute.

What the series needed—very vitally—was linear storytelling. With all its formulaic content, it would have become crisper, coherent and cutting-edge, but Bejoy Nambiar’s school of filmmaking has never been about audience gratification and kinkily depends on catering to a niche minority of viewers who look at Indian cinema with the blinkered lens of something wannabe-global and especially noir. And, if in a series, all this is mixed with basic Indian emotions and storytelling, well, things get messy despite assets like a fundamentally interesting plot and some great performers.

Rohan Vinod Mehra must be praised for a sincere portrayal as Subhendu and his new avatar, Adinath Bagchi. He has played an older man much before his father, the late actor Vinod Mehra, got to do such a role. Avinash Tiwary, getting his second lead soon after Bambai Meri Jaan, scores as a relentlessly positive officer.

Mention must be made of Danish Aslam as IB officer Himanshu, Hiten Tejwani as Bismil, Nivetha Pethuraj as Sitara, Ritwik’s colleague and girlfriend, Anil Charanjeett as CBI officer Danish Khan, Saurabh Sachdeva as Colonel Himmat Singh Maan and Elisha Mayor as Aaloka. But Mita Vashisht as the CM and Taher Shabbir as Naman are shockingly routine.

The action and cinematography are well-done. The background score is passable, but I wish the series was a little more than that.

Rating: *** (Just About)

Disney+Hotstar presents T-Series Films’ Kaala Created by: Bejoy Nambiar  Produced by: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar & Bejoy Nambiar  Directed by: Bejoy Nambiar Written by: Francis Thomas, Pryas Gupta, Mithilesh Hegde, Shubhra Swarup and Bejoy Nambiar  Music: Gaurav Godkhindi  Starring: Avinash Tiwary, Rohan Vinod Mehra, Nivetha Pethuraj, Elisha Mayor, Trishaan, Vishvendra Singh, Jitin Gulati, Anil Charanjeett, Taher Shabbir, Danish Aslam, Hiten Tejwani, Mita Vashisht, Sreelekha Mitra, Saurabh Sachdeva, Siva Ananth, Shakti Kapoor, Priyanka Bose, Melissa Raju Thomas, Alistar Bennis, Saurabh Ranakoti & others  




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