Extreme gore is not a genre I enjoy or appreciate a whole lot.
But as one must watch a movie for what it is, and you come across one that is so well made, toh personal compunctions ko side mein rakhna is best.Dekho this next TIFF movie is a full-on desi local masala Indian film.
First things first, there is zero promotional material available for this film. So, if you’re looking for a teaser or trailer, you’re out of luck. Take it up with producers Karan johar, Guneet Monga, and Achin Jain.
Lakshya plays Amrit, an army man who’s not only dedicated to being a good soldier but also a better boyfriend to Tulika, played by Tanya Maniktala. However, there’s a catch — he needs to win the approval of Tulika’s parents.
But things take a dark turn when they all board a train headed to a destination where Amrit hopes to reunite with his love. As fate would have it, the train compartments are infiltrated by a group of daaku, led by Fani, portrayed by Raghav Juyal. But Fani has his own agenda, and things quickly spiral out of control. Amrit aur Fani apne-apne paagalpan mein bhidte hain, as the action intensifies and the train speeds forward.
“KILL” is shot in severely confined spaces which could easily have exposed any flaws. Unlike the year’s biggest blockbusters like “Pathan” and “Jawan,” “KILL” doesn’t have picturesque mountains, flowing sarees, or catchy songs to distract from any screenplay or storytelling issues. In fact, most of the action takes place inside the narrow, overcrowded train. You won’t see any outdoor shots until the very end. The audience is as confined as the characters in this fast-escalating situation, you are observing everything very very closely.
Aise mein, the technical teams, actors included, had no choice but to excel in every aspect. Rafey Mehmood’s exceptional cinematography, combined with Shivakumar V Panikar’s precise editing, and Mayur Sharma’s brilliant set design (we’ll discuss this more later), Subhash Sahoo’s outstanding sound work create the foundation for a magnificent film. Sach bataaoon toh, foley artists ko celebrate kam karte hain hum, especially in this film, where I swear to god at one point I don’t know if brains were being squished by a fire extinguisher or were the intestines, my eyes were fullllly shut, but thanks to the phenomenal foley work, I knew exactly what was transpiring on screen.
Perhaps I will ask production designer Mayur Sharma how the sets worked, but I assume there is cinematic wizardry at work here. Small compartments able to provide enough room to become literal battlegrounds, a bathroom magically, non-jarringly expanding to become the setting of an unexpected tender moment. Raghav and Lakshya both at some point or the other are found hanging outside or running atop a moving train, production design working in perfect harmony with action choreographers Se-Yeong Oh and Parvez Shaikh.
KILL is gory and very VERY violent. I might have blocked 40 out of the 42 killings on screen as soon as I walked out of the theatre, but I do believe the first one is with a knife splicing a human head in half. As such, TIFF’s Midnight Madness section was the perfect first audience for the movie. Not to say it’s only an echo chamber, main bhi thi wahaan and there are many, MANY cinematic merits to celebrate here. The limited dialogue, the background music shifting to a romantic ballad during Amrit and Fani’s face-off, and the inexplicably titillating flamenco-like Spanish riff every time Ashish Vidyarthi appears on screen — all of this is masterfully held together by the director and the two outstanding lead performers.
As a maddened Fani walks into a compartment, finds the hostage he is looking for, and calls him his “achche din”, I wondered WHY this gang of dacoits was so angry and murderous, to begin with. There is a touch of humanity here, these people weren’t born plunderers and murderers. But unfulfilled promises have left them with blinding rage. Will Amrit be the dam to this overflow? The man who has also chosen to pick up arms as his calling, will his passion be able to subdue the anger he’s facing off against? Well, you’ll have to watch and find out.