Following the footsteps of his elder brother Suriya, this action cop film from Karthi arrested the audience attention with some well cut promotional video material. Director Vinoth is a proven name in Tamil with Sathuranga Vettai is now here with a dubbed Telugu version Khakee which also has beautiful Rakul Preet Singh. Let us see, what’s the concept and the film is all about?
Newly recruited DSP Dheeraj (Karthi) and his wife Priya (Rakul) are on non-stop transfers from station to station in Tamil Nadu, thanks to Dheeraj’s sincerity at work. Finally, Dheeraj comes across a case that involves brutal killings by a gang of dacoits with atypical modus operandi without leaving any clue. As the time frame of narrative belongs to early 2000’s, there’s no modern means to investigate the case. Just with the help of one finger print found as key evidence, Dheeraj and his team go on a field trip to every police station in entire India only to finally stop at Agra in Uttar Pradesh where they find a major breakthrough. Before Dheeraj comes close to identify the dacoit’s batch, he suffers huge personal loss. Now that mystery also gets a personal connection with Dheeraj’s life, he becomes restless to decipher the gang as Bawariya tribe of Rajasthan headed by Oman (Abhimanyu Singh). How Dheeraj and his police team nab Oman is rest of the action filled thrilling narrative.
Having showed classic screenplay touch in heist-thriller Sathuranga Vettai, here too H Vinoth displayed his peculiar mark in penning a racy screenplay with quintals of research done on notorious and ruthless dacoit tribes in India. As the story is based on real incidents, the procedural technique of Bawariyas in hosting their crimes like murder, rape and burglaries are dealt stony heartedly. Here is where, director Vinoth adopted realistic story telling as locations and supporting technicalities add more to authenticity.
Rather a very serious tone in chronicling of incidents in this investigative action thriller might be liked by those in-depth viewers while others find uneasy. Vinoth begins to dig the very evolution of Bawariya tribes, their heredity with Rajputs and their crimes spread across India. In fact, this is too much of ground work and honest efforts put in by him needs to be applauded but again, how far it can engage Telugu audience to connect with two unfamiliar backdrops, one of Madras police in 2000s and two of a Rajasthan tribe is still doubtful. At the same time, dacoits are no more current popular items. As far as writing and direction parts are concerned, H Vinoth does justice to plot selected which intrinsically had its own drawbacks.
Sathyan Sooryan’s camera work is just fabulous filling the canvass with fresh Rajasthan and sandy desert background. Especially, one episode of Bus fight is sure to give goose bumps. Shiva Nandeeswaran’s editing is slick which kept the thrill quotient intact. Ghibran’s background score is enthralling and definitely one of the best in recent times. Production values from Aditya Music are just top notch.
About performances, Karthi is a perfect fit into Dheeraj. His body language, mannerisms and ferocity in adventurous stunts are full of dedication. Rakul Preet Singh is though a story deviator, she was too cute to resist in many close frames. Abhimanyu Singh was a misfit. For a new storyline with fresh backdrop, this man was a poor selection. Among the rest, everyone did their job well.
Bus Action Scene
Khakee is not a regular film with pop corn entertainment. It dealt with a grave element of cruel and merciless dacoits in India in the past. Every detailing done by Vinoth about Bawariya tribe and police investigation process is good to hold the viewers interest. Very much on single point agenda following the lineage of Captain Prabhakar, Sarfarosh in past to current Gautham Menon’s Gharshana, Yentha Vaadu Ganee, here to Vinoth got struck to action thereof in nabbing Bawariya head.
First half begins more on romance between Karthi, Rakul for almost first 20 to 30 minutes. Only when Karthi takes up charge to solve the bloody crime, narrative picks up. Moving across the length and breadth of country with those finger prints is very well presented. Once the major clue is found, director Vinoth changed the gear quickly to top. Fifteen plus minutes to pre interval, there’s edge of seat anxiety and rain effect is best put to use.
Into second half, Vinoth becomes more focused on task as the plot is wide opened between Madras Police Vs Bawariya dacoits. How Karthi’s team undergoes political and police pressure is also handled fine. But too much of unwanted stuff plugs in as graph of the film goes up and down. As said before, one action scene with Bus and chase thereof is superb. Cat and mouse game goes on and on including an item song. Tracing the links of Oman with VRO or jewelry exchange process or police repeatedly failing at investigation tested the patience. After the train episode, it’s one to one and Karthi breaking the Wolf Method of dacoit attack and a following fight takes us to climax.
In one line, Khakee would have been a regular action cop film without Bawariya plot. H Vinoth’s prime focus of research being on real incidents based on this criminal tribe, the film became more realistic and convincing to an extent. Despite the film had limitations to un-bridge with entertainment seeking viewers, Khakee can be liked by those who like serious action-crime films. CJ goes with 2.75 stars just for intense thesis done by Vinoth on not-so-popularly known Bawariya tribe from Rajasthan.