The film Kaali Charan is a political drama with strong revenge element as backdrop which is set in Mahabubnagar, a village in Nalgonda district, it weaves a blood-soaked revenge saga around a humane character. Kali (Chaitanya) is a middle-class youngster whose life is in turbulence presumably because he is in a bloody feud with the village’s biggest goonda-cum-authoritative man, Pasupathi. This role is played by Pankaj Kesari, a Bhojpuri actor.
The first half is told in a rather engaging way; the director doesn’t give away the clues and the brief interludes supported by Teertha (Chandini) have an assuring effect. After one scene that raises the decibel, there comes a surprise in the form of Kali’s pleasant ascension and (temporary) redemption. The director, Praveen Sri, tells a brooding story with knack in the first half. For example, he doesn’t reveal Nagineedu’s occupation in the first half.
The second half doesn’t deserve much attention. The flashback is full of run-of-the-mill scenes, helped only by crisp lines and one well-narrated episode (read the victim’s behaviour after the outrage. It simply scorches). The biggest letdown is the lengthy Kali-Teertha love track. After the culmination of their story into a happy marriage, it is not engaging to watch their love story, never mind the realistic portrayal.
The performances deserve elaboration. All the actors fit the bill and it reflects the director’s talent. Some of the emotions connect only because of the actors’ calibre. Chaitanya is just about ok as an actor, though he looks perfectly fit for the role. Pankaj Kesri is a treat to watch; the actress who played his wife has that rare aplomb. Chandini is apt for the role of a traditional girl; she has that Telugu-ness in her which makes her apt for the role.
Kali Charan is a film that works for those looking for technical finesse rather than something different in terms of the story. Since it is set in the 1980s, the ambiance feels somewhat refreshing, despite the inescapable Subramiapuram feel.
In the hands of a dab hand, it would have been even more touching, especially the ending had the content in it to be haunting. But on that count, the film simply disappoints.
As much as the director tried to be innovative, some avoidable cliches were present. Why is it that, before being killed, the beloved person invariably presents a gift to the would-be avenger in our films?
The film’s forte is the cinematography (Vishwadeva & Satish) and the BGM (Nandan Raj).
If you are looking for a film without unrealistic fights or hyper-emotional revenge-seeking, Kali Charan is the film you should opt for. It is undoubtedly boring and works only in bits and pieces, but at least the characterizations are not sketchy and the gore is true-to-life.
Also, the songs in this part of the film are quite a drag. One can easily see through the director’s gamble.
Verdict: Kali Charan is like a typical revenge drama from the Madurai school, with good amount of Telugu nativity and rustic feel. But don’t expect anything more.