A fresh take on gangster films, but hampered by its script

King Of Kotha Movie Review: In the realm of cinema, where gangster stories have carved a niche for themselves as an evergreen genre, Abhilash Joshi’s directorial debut, “King of Kotha”, attempts to bring nuance to familiar tropes. Written by Abhilash N and directed by Chandran, the film attempts to breathe new life into the gangster tale with exciting twists and a few dull moments. An interesting evolution from friendship to rivalry, the film shows some struggling to break free from traditional shackles.

A dynamic cast and an engaging plot

Dulquer Salmaan, playing the central character Kotha Raju, brings out the duality of his personality with ease. Contrary to standard adage, Kotha Raju’s opposition to drug trafficking is not motivated by lofty ideals, but by his girlfriend Tara’s (Aishwarya Lakshmi) hatred of drugs. The story rests on the question of the gang’s involvement in the drug trade, which is causing a rift between Raju and his best friend Kannan (Shabbir Kallarakkal).

The audience is introduced to Kotha’s multidimensional view of the world – as seen through the eyes of police officer Shahul Hasan (Prasanna Kumar), and through the memories of his subordinate. The glory of Raju’s greatest exploits still casts a long shadow, even though the reins of power have passed to Kannan Bhai. The film uses a suspenseful buildup similar to its pre-release promotion, strategically revealing pieces of Raju’s legend before it unfolds completely on screen. However, the execution falls somewhat short, perhaps because of the script, as impressive punch lines often land softly rather than with the desired intensity.

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Cast of characters and visual talent

Despite the script’s shortcomings, the film’s resilience is due to the technical prowess displayed by the crew. Frenzied scenes of violent skirmishes and intense football matches, coupled with Jake Bejoy’s evocative background score and the lead actors’ commitment, succeed in piecing together the film’s crumbling layers. Even when the narrative falters, the technical elements maintain a sense of cohesion throughout the three-hour journey.

The script manages to shine in a few moments, especially in its exploration of Raju and Kannan’s past, and how their history informs their present-day rivalry. Their reunion, set against a backdrop of tension, sees them sharing a friendly moment and attending a game at the local football ground, despite hidden agendas. This layer also extends to the relationship between Raju and his father, Kotha Ravi (Shammi Thilakan). While these examples provide depth, they stand as exceptions in a narrative that sticks mostly to familiar paths, hoping that mere visual extravagance will suffice.

Performance that resonates

Nyla Usha’s portrayal of the gangster’s wife Manju, which mirrors her character in “Porinju Mariam Jose”, is a credit to Chandran’s consistency in writing. On the other hand, Aishwarya Lakshmi’s role is relatively limited in terms of screen time. Shabbir Kallarakkal almost steals the limelight from Dulquer Salmaan with yet another powerful performance.

Blocked capability exposed due to script constraints

Director Abhilash’s ability to handle such a huge project is evident, yet the film’s potential remains unexploited due to the limitations of the script. While “King Of Kotha” undoubtedly serves to showcase Dulquer’s rising superstardom, it fails to deliver the spectacular effect it was aimed for.

King Of Kotha Movie Trailer

Credit: YouTube

In conclusion, “King of Kotha” attempts to infuse new energy into the gangster film landscape through unique character dynamics and technical brilliance. Still, its struggle to break free from formulaic storytelling leaves a sense of unfulfilled promise. Although the film is a testimony to the commitment of its cast and technical team, it still fell short of becoming the crowning glory it had envisioned.

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