Kaalkoot Review: A layered and dense emotionally charged crime thriller that you shouldn't miss.
What: This monsoon, as heavy and incessant rains lash the major cities, the OTT space gets enshrouded with a myriad crime thriller offering intrigue, mystery, suspense and drama.
From Netflix's engulfing Kohrra to the chilling supernatural drama Adhura, this month has been a roller coaster ride and the month end's Kaalkoot, directed by writer turned director Sumit Saxena and starring OTT's latest blue-eyed boy, Vijay Varma, deserves to be at the pinnacle for its splendid execution and performances.
Fashioned as a deeply layered and emotionally charged thriller, the 8 part series. set in a small town of UP, delves into a dense investigation procedural following a vicious acid attack. The victim is a student, Paarul, played by Shweta Tripathi Sharma.
Varma plays Ravi Shankar Tripathi, a novice sub-inspector who has taken charge of the Sarsi police thana and is assigned the acid attack case along with his subordinate Yadav ji (Yashpal Sharma).
Recovering from a bereavement with the demise of his poet and activist father (Tigmanshu Dhulia, we only see his pic on the wall) , Ravi lives with his widow mom ( Seema Biswas) who badgers him with matrimonial candidates.
Juggling hard between his profession where he is bullied by his seasoned senior Jagadish (Gopal Datt) and personal life, Ravi gets sucked into the complex and twisty nature of the case where the needle of suspicion points to more than one perpetrator.
Initially disinterested in his job, Ravi's hunt is fuelled by the very reason that Paarul was the girl who his mother was strongly pursuing for marriage. But the journey is fraught with several challenges, deep-rooted and archaic beliefs as he confronts a multitude of social biases, toxic masculinity and societal expectations that threaten to disarray his hunt.
Benefitting significantly from a sharp and meticulous writing, Kaalkoot unveils a murky world of lies, secrets and betrayal with precision. Sumit Saxena's narrates the tale with a grungy authority which clearly demonstrates his lucid understanding of the land, the subject and it's tenets.
Varma, the cynosure of the OTT audience's eyes, stumps with a sense of disbelief through his naive avatar of a morally challenged cop - which, in fact, has echoes of his character in 2015's Monsoon Shootout. It is hard to imagine him without any twisty dimensions but the actor plays it with impeccable panache.
Saxena creates a heartbreakingly authentic and real world, studding it with pain, pathos and intrigue. His characters feel so lived in.
At one point, when an exhausted and half-asleep Ravi reacts on the poor quality of tea brought to his desk, "Yeh Chai hai ya Acid ! ", Jagdish retorts, " BC** Swaad hai Naukri ka, Chakh lo".
Curses and expletives are seamlessly integrated with the dialect and the actors, particularly Yashpal and Gopal, perform without a sense if affectation, thanks to the dialect coach Nayani Dixit. In one scene, the two inebriated and guilt-ridden cops take solace in each other's company following incidents of domestic violence at their own homes.
Shweta Tripathi Sharma plays the Acid attack survivor earnestly, even though she is relegated to the hospital bed for most parts. Suzanna Mukherjee, as Ravi's fiance Shivani, looks elegant and her scenes with the introvert man are natural and wonderful. There is something shocking that leaves you dumbfounded at the end of the sixth episode.
It is a coming of age drama that has a profoundly sculpted character arc of the protagonist who is awakened against his internal turbulence. But some parts like Ravi's vitriolic term with his brother-in-law and the female infanticides land you in ambiguity. I also had trouble connecting the preludes of each episode with the rest of the plot. But again, these are minor quibbles in the exceedingly provocative and brooding landscape, underlined by a sombre musical score.
Kaalkoot is deeply meaningful, starkly unsettling which leaves you pondering about your existence and value system and the point of life, which is the life's point - "Tumhare Jhangon ke beech" , a post dates poetry from Ravi's father.
I go with 4 stars. Kaalkoot is streaming on Jio Cinema from 27th June 2023.
do watch our kaalkoot movie review video in Hindi