Dir: Maqbool Khan
Cast: Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday, Jaideep Ahlawat
It has been eons since we watched a movie in cinema halls while chomping on popcorn and sipping colas, courtesy the ongoing pandemic. While a few films have made the transition to OTT platforms, whether they provide the same joy of watching it on the 70mm screen is still up for debate. Catching the ‘seetee-maar’ film starring Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday from the confines of my home, alone, definitely feels different.
The duo take us on a ride across the streets of Mumbai with an eclectic tale in Khaali Peeli that evokes nostalgia. For whatever it is worth, I was glad to witness the much-needed Mumbai darshan after being locked up at home for seven months.
Masala movies are not always a safe bet, but first-time director Maqbool Khan attempts to tell the tale of two free-spirited childhood sweethearts, who coincidentally reunite as adults. Khatter’s Blackie, a Mumbai taxi-driver runs into Pooja (played by Panday) as she elopes with cash and jewellery from her wedding, ordained to a 40-something man (Swanand Kirkire). Hot on their trail are cops and mob boss Yusuf Bhai played by Paatal Lok fame Jaideep Ahlawat, who lures young girls into sex trafficking. The story that runs back and forth is a blend of mystery and adventure filled with adrenaline-ridden chase sequences. While the first half keeps you hooked with its antics and masala, post the intermission, the film seems stretched. There’s only so much of aimless chasing one can take.
Watch the trailer of Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday, Jaideep Ahlawat-starrer Khaali Peeli here:
Khaali Peeli is the perfect package for Khatter, who gets to showcase his dancing skills, action, drama, romance, comedy and biceps. Known for his love for offbeat films — Majid Majidi’s Beyond the Clouds (2017) and forthcoming A Suitable Boy (2020) — the wonder boy is equally crackling in a typical Bollywood entertainer. Panday, though she carries the role efficiently, doesn’t deliver authenticity to the character. Ahlawat hogs the limelight with his menacing act delivering an astute performance yet again.
The film isn’t something to write home about, but manages to provide the adequate entertainment. By design, flavour and tonality, it is meant for the 70mm screen and may lose the essence on the small screen. While the film drove me impatient half-way through, I couldn’t help but wonder, if I would feel differently watching it first day, first show at Gaiety Galaxy?
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