Kalki - Movie Review

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 13:00
Kalki (2019)
Cast & Crew: 

Film: Kalki
Cast: Rajasekhar, Adah Sharma, Nandita Swetha, Poojitha Ponnada, Scarlett Wilson, Rahul Ramakrishna, Nasser, Ashutosh Rana, Siddhu Jonnalagadda, Shatru, Charandeep, Venugopal, 'Vennela' Rama Rao, DS Rao, Satish (Bunty) and others
Screenplay: Scriptsville
Music: Shravan Bharadwaj
Lyrics: Krishna Kanth (KK)
Cinematography: Dasaradhi Shivendra
Editor: Goutham Nerusu
Fights: Naga Venkat, Robin-Subbu
Art: Nagendra
Producer: C Kalyan
Written and directed by: Prasanth Varma
CBFC Rating: UA
Runtime: 142 min

What’s it about?
In the then United Andhra Pradesh in Nallamalla forest region of Kollapur in Mahabub Nagar district, a feudal political leader Narsappa's (Ashutosh Rana) brother Sekhar Babu gets brutally killed by an unknown person. Journalist Devadutta (Rahul Ramakrishna) who came from Hyderabad to cover local jathara festival is terrified seeing this. IPS officer Kalki (Rajasekhar) steps in to investigate the murder. The journalist helps him. Many secrets of this village slowly get unfold. There is more to it than what meets the eye in the murder case of Sekhar Babu.
As per mythology, ‘Kalki’ is the 10th avatar of Lord Vishnu, he would appear whenever adharma happens. He comes riding his horse, with a sword in hand. Here Kalki is name of a cop played by Rajasekhar. The name is linked to the film’s main theme, he is also like Kalki, also like Parasuram. In the place of horse, he rides police jeep. The mythological references are made in subtle way in this murder mystery cum karmic revenge drama.
The film begins on highly interesting note setting up the mood right. It begins with the introduction of character of Rahul Ramakrishna, a journalist, learning the regions troubled past, hearing about how ruthless Narsappa took over the region, burning the palace of Ramchandramma, in which both the queen and her small kid were reportedly burned.

This is being narrated to him by the villager and the immediate scene that follows is Sekhar Babu getting burned to death. Interestingly, the movie ends with Rahul Ramakrishna realizing what the murder mystery is all about.
The story of ‘Kalki’ is narrated in the point of view of Rahul Ramakrishna’s character.
Backdrop of Krishna river basin in Nallamala forests on this side of Telangana has lent novelty factor, as this also has given the director to play with stylized visuals. By picking up 1983 period, the director has also got to portray the feudalistic setup, making villain Narsappa raping women, killing men and getting away with them. Thus the director has got the scope to prove gory and cruelty on screen in the name of 80’s feudal Telangana lords. Though this has added texture to the visuals, Prasanth Varma and his story writer have not much plot on their hands to narrate. With the lack of major point to weave it for 140 minutes, the screenplay meanders on unnecessary and outdated elements of Rahul Ramakrishna getting scared of ghosts, and action blocks in slow motion.
After first 20 minutes of interesting narration, the movie suddenly goes down and runs like a routine murder investigation. Moreover, the director has tried to cater to the image of Rajasekhar by forcibly shooting Shimla episodes which are completely non-sync with this story and the item song is another distraction.
However, the film winds up all the loose threads in the penultimate sequences and it holds the narration in the end. The final 30 minutes are the plus point of this thriller.
The director has heavily relied on visuals, action episodes and twists. On downside, the slow pace, the pre-interval sequences and other portions bore us. 

There are also some other issues like calling ‘Naxalites’ as Maoists (in the 80’s Naxalites are not referred as Maoists) and a school building depicting Telangana Talli picture (which was 2000’s concept).
Rajasekhar who built his career playing tough cop roles in 90’s appears in his 2.0 avatar that we have seen in recent ‘Garuda Vega’. He has brought his trademark impudence to the screen though he looks a bit old.
Comedian Rahul Ramakrishna is a surprising element. Contrary to his image, he has played a serious role with conviction. From the first scene to the end, he is there. Jonnalagadda Sidhu as Sekhar Babu makes his presence felt.  
Adah Sharma as a doctor is Rajasekhar’s love interest, her story is huge distraction to the main film. Nandita Swetha impresses in important role. Ashutosh Rana is good.
Music by Shravan Bharadwaj is quite good, background score is highlight. Cinematography is excellent. The production values are top-class.
As screenplay writer and director, Prasanth Varma has proved his worth in technical skills. But once again he has given more importance to striking visuals and twists than telling it in engaging manner throughout.  
Bottom-line: ‘Kalki’ is a period investigative thriller with a Karma-angle. The film’s final sequences work out well despite sluggish pre-interval episodes. It is commercial way of telling a period murder mystery that has many subplots.