Cast: Tovino Thomas, Sudeesh, Samyukta Menon
Director: Praveen Prabharam
There comes a time is every growing star’s career when he has to trade his restraint for Ray Bans and his behavioural acting for a Bullet. This time seems to have come rather early for Tovino who plays the cop in a mass action hero just three years after his breakout performance in Guppy. Having watched Kalki, one feels he should have waited longer for a better script to come along to break out the punchlines. Because Kalki neither has the cleverness in the writing to keep you hooked if you aren’t a Tovino fanboy nor does it have those fun all-important mass moments that can bring the theatre alive.
The film is set in a hellish border town called Nanjankotta run by a group of arms dealers who also fund the local political party and its MP. Naturally, the law and order situation in this town is dictated by them which also means that the local police force is as good as absent. So when the sub inspector commits suicide due to his inability to earn respect, even from his own daughter, the stage is set for the titular Kalki to arrive and fight fire with fire.
And when a goon takes over the police station the next day, ordering one of the officers to light his cigarette for him, you know what’s coming. Kalki enters, sets the man ablaze and orders for the term Janamaithri to be removed, not just from the board that says police station, but also their overall attitude. This is also the film’s high point because everything that follows is one setup after another for the next mass moment to happen. The bad guys trouble the family members of the police officers and they in turn do the same in return. The bad guys attack one of the officers, Kalki and gang get together to take revenge, in exactly the same manner. What about what happens in between? What about giving us a few details on why these people are the way they are?
Nothing is never really at stake because we know terribly little about the film’s hero and his friends. What’s worse is how generic the villain is. He has muscles, he smokes and he wears white; that’s all you’ll ever learn about him through the film. And his acting? If he was anymore wooden you’d find his actor’s profile on Urbanladder instead of IMDB.
The women have no significant role, the supporting characters are poorly written and the overbearing music will leave you pining for some silence. What’s worse is how inept the film is at using information it has already presented to us. For instance, several scenes in the film are set in the warehouse where the bad guys assemble and store their massive artillery of machine guns. Yet not a single bullet is fired. The silliest is during the final showdown between the hero and the villain which happens right in the middle of this warehouse, and again, no guns. This is the wasteful equivalent of choosing to use a fax machine when you’ve got a perfectly working iPhone in your pocket. This is true of the film as well; we see the guns, but the film’s only capable of firing blanks.