Koyelaanchal review: A mine of cliches
Saturday 10 May 2014
Vinod Khanna, Suniel Shetty, Vipinno, Roopali Krishnarao
Having interviewed Vinod Khanna a couple of years ago for Dabangg 2, I wondered why this actor wasn't doing more films. How many patriarch roles could Amitabh Bachchan do? It was time for some variety.
So it's a delight to see Vinod Khanna in a central role, but it's sad that it had to be this film.
One understands that this film might appeal to a certain section of the audience. But even then, it's a case of overkill. Just in the last couple of years, there have been (too) many films on local mafia ruling in India's mofussil areas.
So every character here appears to be a cliche. Set in Jharkhand, we meet the coal mines don Saryu Bhan Singh (Khanna), his trusted lieutenant (played by the long-haired, and mostly bare-chested Vipinno), and the party-pooper? an honest IAS officer Nisheeth (Suniel Shetty).
As is the case in such films, Nisheeth is upright and honest, with a loving family. Shocked by the scam going on at the coal mines and the violence in the area where murders take place in broad daylight, he is disappointed by the apathetic "prashasan, public and police".
Naturally, he proves to be a thorn in Saryu Bhan's backside, which leads to some heavy-duty dialogue-baazi between the two. You know, where the dialogue is loud, unsubtle and has lines that no one speaks in real life. Things come to head when Bhan's people attack Nisheeth's family.
Then on, the film turns into an emotional family drama, which is not such a bad thing considering the gruesome bloodshed in the first half. Only thing is, the transition isn't smooth and appears incongruous.
Director Ashuu Trikha and writers Vishal Vijay Kumar and Sanjay Masoom fashion their characters in a stereotypical manner. So, Vinod Khanna plays the powerful mafia don, Saryu Bhan Singh, who is called ?maalik'. He is powerful enough to commit crimes without getting arrested and gets nosy officials transferred. He's the sort of feudal antagonist we've seen in countless films?he has the opposing qualities of being religious and evil, his styling is also obvious with the crisp clothing, a prominent tilak, dangling chains and sunglasses. His trusted right-hand Karua (Vipinno) is the violent cliche in such films, who kills people as if he were swatting flies. Nisheeth is the upright officer, with an idealistic mindset and an encouraging spouse.
The drama is between these three characters mainly, set against a web where everyone from the politicians to the criminals are involved in the coal mine scam.
Performances are largely good. Vinod Khanna is superb as antagonist, and Suniel Shetty passes muster. Vipinno suits the role, and is a pro at action. Rupali Krishnarao does well as the strong and independent prostitute, who is involved with Karua.
A character in its own right, the location has been strikingly captured by Karan B Rawat. The music is pedestrian (the bawdy song called AK-47, performed by men in drag is the stuff of nightmares), save the beautiful Prem Badariya song.
One applauds the cast and crew for shooting in a difficult location, but that cannot earn the film any points in a review. One of the few images one takes back after the film is the telling one of a kid with a blood-stained ball.
Koyelaanchal will have you think back to a dozen film of this genre like Gangs Of Wasseypur and Gunday. Even this week's release Manjunath talks about local mafia and an idealistic officer, though that's where (thankfully) the resemblance ends.
Manjunath also proves that there are several ways of telling a story and we need to move on from the cliched formulas. Till the next mafia movie set in the India's rustic lands, let's hope things change!
Rating: 1.5 stars