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Koyelaanchal (Review)

Koyelaanchal (2014)KOYELAANCHAL is absorbing and engaging, especially towards the second Lawless land. Coal mining mafia. Men with insatiable hunger for power and sex. Gruesome violence… Asshu Trikha highlights all of the above in his new outing KOYELAANCHAL. The raconteur takes you to the world where might is right and the voice of the poor and the hapless never make it to the ears of the concerned authorities.

Although the plot is distinct and so are the characters, KOYELAANCHAL brings back memories of Asshu’s hard-hitting gangster movie BAABARR. Also, Anurag Kashyap’s GANGS OF WASSEYPUR and Ali Abbas Zafar’s GUNDAY. Is the film as absorbing as those films, let’s find out…

KOYELAANCHAL highlights the atrocities committed by Saryubhan Singh [Vinod Khanna], referred to as ‘Maalik’ in the region. The only language he knows and understands is, my way or the highway. Things take a turn when an honest and upright District Collector Nisheeth Kumar [Suniel Shetty] steps in to take charge.

As a warning to steer clear of his path, Saryubhan sends his trusted Karua [Vipinno] to warn Nisheeth. Things take an ugly turn when Karua ends up attacking Nisheeth’s wife [Purva Parag] and hijacks the car that has their infant in it. The battle lines are drawn…

KOYELAANCHAL takes a reallyyy longgg time to come to the point. Ideally, Asshu should’ve established the characters and set the ball rolling within 15/20 minutes of the commencement of the film, but much of the first hour is devoted to establishing the characters, depicting bloodshed and the pathetic condition of the locals. The wheels start moving only before the intermission, when Karua attacks Nisheeth. It’s at this juncture that the writing gets interesting, when the two warring factions lock horns.

The volatile confrontations, the drama that ensues, the new characters that step in [Kannan Arunachalam in particular]… it is as this stage that you feel that Asshu has got the grip finally. As a matter of fact, it won’t be erroneous to state that it’s like watching a different movie altogether, with the dramatic confrontations [between Vinod Khanna and Kannan Arunachalam first and between Vinod Khanna and Suniel Shetty subsequently] making an impact, so much so that you ignore the deficiencies that show up sporadically. However, the emotional connect between the kidnapper and the infant is stretched for no reason.

One expects the culmination to take the film to its pinnacle, but the writing messes up at this point. The finale lacks fizz, while the VFX appear tacky.

In a film whose middle name is violence, there’s no scope for music at all. The songs, therefore, are functional. Also, given its genre, the film rests heavily on violence and bloodshed [there's too much of it!], while the gruesome and explicit sequences do put you off at times.

Vinod Khanna carries the film on his broad shoulders with his villainous act. The veteran gets the opportunity and some heavy-duty sequences to display his mettle and he grabs the opportunity with both hands. It’s a stellar act without doubt. Suniel Shetty underplays his part beautifully. Generally, most actors would’ve insisted on being one-up on their on-screen opponent, but not Suniel. Vipinno gets ample opportunity to exhibit his physique, flex muscles and exude power. He doesn’t get many lines to deliver. He does leave a mark nonetheless.

Kannan Arunachalam is in terrific form, while the ladies, Rupali Krishna Rao [as Roopmati] and Purva Parag [as Suniel's wife] are first-rate both. Deepraj Rana is getting typecast. Brij Gopal [as Vinod Khanna's trusted confidant Sadho] is competent. Asshu Trikha appears in a well-enacted cameo.

On the whole, KOYELAANCHAL is absorbing and engaging, especially towards the second half. Should find its share of audience at single screens specifically.