Kaalicharan rides high on camera and character handling rather than story-telling. It offers a refreshing palette set in 1980s and in the process marries few films – Ananthapuram 1980, Raktha Charithra, Gangs of Wasseypur – which are archetypal of that genre. Not to forget, director Prawin Sri’s inspirations in his debut film Gayam 2 and its striking resemblance to A History of Violence.
The story is set in erstwhile Nalgonda district and traces the situations and surroundings that pull an aspiring youth into a revenge saga that’s blood-soaked beyond imagination. Some turns in his life pits him against the local goonda and wannabe politician. The family bondage and the love interest of the protagonist forms the crux of the narrative.
The first half is rather engrossing and throws some fodder to keep hold of interest for the latter one. The way the film opens introduces the people in the business Pasupathy (Pankaj Kesri) and his mistress Kalavathi (Kavita Srinivasan). When asked for something, Pasupathy furiously refuses and that establishes his menace-worthy presence. The voice-over of Jagapathi Babu is an asset in the introduction till the opening credits. Then the film checks the buttons on the rise and redemption of Kaalicharan (Chaitanya Krishna). Also the songs that are part of Kaali’s romance with Teertha (Chandini) give a pleasant effect to the proceedings.
After throwing some surprises early in the film that narration loses in the grip post interval and takes a detour. What could have been an engaging political drama spends major time on detailing the past of Kaalicharan and why he is pushed into the murky tale of revenge. Although the content is slightly different, the narration reminds you of Shankar’s Bharatheeyudu. This is unwarranted as the audience gets to know about the harrowing past of the protagonist in couple of scenes and dialogues and there is no need of any explanation further.
Even the realistic portrayal won’t come to rescue as why someone would be interested to know about the love story of the lead pair in the second half when they are shown happily married in the first. Here, even though the songs are pleasant, they become draggers. The innovation in some scenes and killings, the acting finesses gets a backlash because of inevitable clichés in the narration, especially during the second half.
Prawin Sri’s love for the legendary Mani Rathnam and his craft is visible in the form of faint references in some scenes. If Kali asking Teertha’s father for her hand takes you to one from Thalapathy / Dalapathi, the Holi song reminds you of Nayagan / Nayakudu. And the pre-climax hospital scene with on-and-off light bulbs is a definitive Agni Natchathiram / Gharshana.
The performances need a pat on the back, so is the gutsy cinematography of Vishwadeva & Satish. They lend a rustic aura to the village and the production recreates the 80s feel all over. The immersive background score of Nandan Raj is another asset for the film.
If movies showcasing loads of gore and hyperbolic emotions are your cup of tea, then Kaalicharan may work for you. It thrills you at places and bores you at many. The way the movie ends could have been more haunting but it fails to make an impact there.
Kaalicharan is tailor-made for the lovers of technical brilliance in cinema; and if you are looking for novelty in its story-line and narration, stay away from it.
My Rating: Expectation – 6/10; Reality – 5/10view less