Underworld ka Kabzaa tests both patience and intelligence

Upendra in Underworld ka Kabzaa. Photo: Universal Communications

After the screening, I heard a young man telling someone, “Looks like the ADs (assistant directors) of KGF2 and Pushpa—The Rise: Part 1 got together and decided to make a film out of ideas taken from them.”

Now that, in effect, encapsulates the 136-minute film in a sentence.

And believe me, in another sense of the term, it is a sentence of a different kind for us when we watch the film. Not even KGF 2 can rival it for its endless marathon of mindless violence, complete with heads being decapitated, swords and knifes ad infinitum, and blood spilling as if there is a surplus of whatever is shown as that body fluid in the studio supplies department!

Underworld ka Kabzaa (the Hindi title for the original, which is Kabzaa), however much it is a put-off as a film’s name for family audiences or even adults, is about a crime-studded universe wherein a freedom fighter’s son Arkeshwar (Upendra, fancifully billed as “Real Indian Star”!) is forced to become a don. How? Well, his innocent brother Sankeshwara (Suneel Puranik) is killed by Khaled, a known gangster in the area to which the two brothers (as kids) and mother (Sudha) have migrated after their father became a martyr in the freedom struggle.

Arkeshwar loves Madhumati (Shriya Saran), daughter of the king, Veer Bahadur (Dr. Murali Sharma, here’s wondering where the ‘Dr.’ came for this veteran character actor) who reciprocates. They have fancied each other from childhood when he was a plump brat as she is an ace dancer, never mind the class differences, and so now they get married when papa opposes. After this, we see a lo-o-o-o-ng saga of revenge, counter-vendetta, revenge on the counter-vendetta, vendetta on this revenge on the counter-vendetta, revenge on…Get it? No? Your head is spinning?? So was mine! Thankfully, the film is way shorter than KGF2.

And all this spree is being narrated by ace cop Bhargava Bakshi (Kiccha Sudeepa), who will now be seen only in this film sequel, grandly announced in the best tradition of KGF, PS-1 and Pushpa as the last frame, along with with the third protagonist—Shiva Rajkumar. Remember the pre-climax of Pushpa?

And KGF2 is paid homage via the use of the grimy, gray atmosphere that pervades the film. In that film, it was perhaps justified because it was shot in, around and was also about the coal mines. Here, it seems mandatory because it was there in KGF2, the recent mega-hit in the same original language, Kannada!

(Now let us wait for the Kantara-inspired pan-Indian releases in the months to come!)

Of course, all the three heroes have grand titles before their names, and the music composer’s name is also announced in the credit titles with a logo (Do we hear Pritam and Amit Trivedi howling?). But over here, Ravi Basrur’s background music is ultra-deafening, while among the three songs (I watched the film in its Hindi version) is a superb devotional dance number, Namaami namaami, rendered by Aishwarya Nagarajan—lovingly composed and sung, and beautifully orchestrated.

Long before the interval, I had abandoned hopes of a semblance of coherence and positive emotions in the film, and in the second half, I just resigned myself to watching the orgasmic violence that was coming with relentless brutality.

I had read about a famous American critic who fell asleep during the premiere of a  play, who was admonished by the angry playwright who said that he had wanted his valued opinion. The critic had coolly replied, “Sleep is an opinion!” Sadly, we film critics do not even have that luxury. In any case, sleep would have been impossible amidst the decibel level of the film.

Shriya Saran is a good dancer, her eyes are expressive, but her role is that of a woman who simply lacks basic common sense and judgment. As for the performances from all the other main artistes, if these are great ones, then this review is written in French.

Rating: * (At the most)

Anand Pandit Motion Pictures, Sri Siddheshwara Enterprises & Invenio Origin present Underworld Ka Kabzaa Produced by: Anand Pandit, R. Chandru & Alankar Pandian  Directed by: R. Chandru Written by: R. Chandru  Music: Ravi Basrur Starring: Upendra, Kiccha Sudeepa, Shiva Rajkumar, Shriya Saran, Murali Sharma, Nawab Shah, Suneel Puranik, Sudha, Danish Aktar, Taaha Shah, Chiru, Jnan, Tanya Hope & others



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