Kill: Visceral action yet a thrilling ride

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Director Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt elevates a standard action plot by bringing class divide and blurring the lines between what we consider as hero and anti hero.

  • Starcast: Lakshya, Raghav Juyal, Tanya Manikatla, Abhishek Chauhan, Ashish Vidyarti and others
  • Director and writer: Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt
  • Music: Shashwant Sachdev and Vikram Montrose
  • Cinematography: Rafey Mehmood
  • Producers: Karan Johar, Guneet Monga etc
  • Production houses: Dharma Productions and Sikhya Entertainment

On surface the plot of Kill may appear as a series of action sequences, a show reel for debutant Lakshya to establish himself as a massy hero who can vanquish villains even after facing severe blows.  But what makes Kill different from other violent movies is a strong emotional poignancy. The character graph of Lakshya’s Amrit Rathod from a commando who initially just wants to control the situation to eventually becoming a bigger monster has strong undercurrent of emotions. As the movie progresses Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt questions our notions of what we consider as hero and anti-hero. No wonder Kill got rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival, kudos to Karan Johar for giving a movie like this a significant platform along with Guneet Monga.

The initial minutes of Kill are devoted to the love story between Amrit Rathod and Tulika (Tanya Maniktala). Tulika is returning to Delhi after a reluctant engagement. Amrit and his fellow commando/ friend Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan) are also on the same train. Amrit is making plans on how to convince his future father in law with the help of Viresh. A romantic story soon turns into a catastrophic night thanks to a group of dacoits (armed robbers). The leader of this gang is Fani (Raghav Juyal). Ashish Vidyarthi plays Fani’s father and a fellow dacoit. The father and son don’t get along well. What should have been a simple robbery ends up in a violent bloodbath because of Fani’s thoughtless actions who is desperate to get his father’s approval and love. Nothing more can be revealed here.

The initial moments start as a love story

A strong aspect of Kill is the humanizing of the dacoits. There are portions of the second half where the armed robbers vent out their vulnerabilities and fears. They want an escape from this havoc seeing the brutal deaths of their family members. On more than one occasion they plead to Ashish Vidyarti’s Beni about deboarding the train.  Director Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt is successful in bringing out a strong sense of brotherhood. He also subtly highlights the class divide and the impoverished state that leads to these men becoming robbers and looting rich people. On the surface they appear as ordinary men but there is a deep angst within.

The scenes between Ashish Vidyarti and Raghav Juyal is another major highlight of the movie, there is a constant friction in spite of both being armed robbers. A particular scene that has to be mentioned is the one where Beni talks about how Fani has dumped his father’s values and principles. To this Fani replies sarcastically that they are dacoits and he isn’t Amitabh Bachchan’s Narayan Shankar  from Mohabbatein to talk about principles and values, this scene raises ample chuckles.

The action sequences by nature are very violent and definitely not for family audiences, however stunt directors Se- Yeong along with Parvez Sheikh deserve kudos for coming up with innovative combat sequences in the confined spaces. A particular mention must be made of how they have used the window curtains that become death traps. Cinematographer Rafey Mehmood camera work is also fantastic. He successfully captures the tense atmosphere through his lens.

Kill wouldn’t be what it is without the brilliant acting particularly lakshya and Raghav. Lakshya makes for a perfect action hero. He captures the turmoil of Amrit many times with just his eyes and overall body language. Lakshya fully convinces the audiences that Amrit has become a killing machine. Fani’s taunt at Amrit on how he isn’t a hero but a big monster feels very true. Raghav Juyal best known for his dancing skills springs a very pleasant surprise. He knocks it out of the park as a cold blooded villain who has his own vulnerabilities. Fani’s anguish at seeing the violent deaths of the family members including his own father has been well portrayed by Raghav.

Both Lakshya and Raghav deliver terrific performances

Tanya Manikatala does well in her brief yet important role. She brings in an understated strength to Tulika. Her lovey-dovey moments with Amrit that include him proposing to her in a toilet seat comes across as a respite from the breathless action. Ashish Vidyarthi also makes his presence amply felt as the frustrated father who prophesies that the reason for him dying before time would be his son. Abhishek Chauhan has a straight forward role of being Amrit’s ally in the initial phase nevertheless the actor has his moments.

True to the title Nikhil Nagesh Bhatt has killed it, this violent saga may make you apprehensive of train journeys but it is a must watch for those who like blood and gore with a solid storyline.

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