Both Sides: Our Review of ‘Kill’

Posted in Theatrical by - July 04, 2024
Both Sides: Our Review of ‘Kill’

In Nikhil Nagesh Bhat‘s Kill, Commando Amrit Rathod (Lakshya Lalwani) starts out as just another passenger on a train to New Delhi, coming on board to surprise his girlfriend Tulika Singh Thakur (Tanya Maniktala), who is someone’s fiancée. Joining them are a family of male criminals including Fani (Raghav Juyal), one of the group’s younger contingent with a hot head. Their temper leads them to kill Tulika’s guard, Ronaldo, and eventually Tulika herself, a death that comes early enough in the film for me to spoil. The film reminds us of this death, flashing back to her and Amrit’s clandestine yet innocent meetings. Amrit does have some help with his best friend and fellow Commando Viresh (Abhishek Chauhan). But mostly, he’s taking on this group of forty murderers alone and with several injuries. Tulika’s death is enough to give him several bursts of energy

Amrit uses that energy, then, to kill these murderers one by one. This traumatic moment in Amrit’s life turns him into an antihero. It’s a fitting description for someone whose vengeance towards his enemies comes tenfold. I remember his ambiguous morality when Tulika talks to her father, railway magnate Baldeo (Harsh Chhaya). He asks her why she doesn’t formally introduce Amrit and Baldeo to each other. She chalks it up to tradition, telling him that her husband is his decision. But let’s be real, she doesn’t want to introduce her father to someone who kills people for work. I get that this film is India’s answer to action exploitation. But there are more levels to Amrit’s method of killing, as he forgoes a cleaner way and chooses to keep the bodies on board. There’s a scene in Kill where Amrit strings the murderers’ bodies up.

Those images of the killed in… Kill stays in the minds of the surviving thieves and their hostages, showing death’s complex angles. It’s understandable that both the hostages and the murderers exist to be each others’ cannon fodder. But despite that, Kill’s biggest flaw is that some characters die too early. Doling out these deaths also means that its foregoing character development, especially when it comes to its villains. Out of the forty, Fani is the one who comes out on top. However, the film takes too much time making that choice. Minor members of the gang like Siddhi (Parth Tiwari) had no chance nor the motivation to replace Fani. But I’m just pointing him out because I know I can fix him. The gang also dress differently and span a few generations. 

But strangely enough, the gang in Kill don’t differ in opinions about their modus operandi until later in the film. There are other things that go beyond suspension of disbelief here, like Amrit and Viresh surviving their injuries. But then, Amrit, Fani, Siddhi, and the other characters start fighting again and in showing this, the film manages to make viewers turn off their brain cells and have some fun. The film is a good showcase of a lot of things including fight acting, where the actors convincingly evince fast thinking and pain. Those things are natural, presumably, in fights, unlike some Hollywood franchises that deem their heroes as invincible. The actors here don’t have the Dwayne Johnson clause in their contracts and cinema is the better for it.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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