'Khiladi' is the latest box-office release in the town. Can this masala action flick prove to be lucky for the beleaguered exhibition sector during the pandemic? Let's find out.
Somewhere in the city, ten thousand crores of cash are stashed away at a secret location. Two contrasting characters want to lay their hands on the fortune. Mohan Gandhi (Ravi Teja), who works as a General Manager at a corporate company, is blackmailed by the villains to get his act together. As Gandhi runs out of time, he has to save his family members (comprising of his wife, daughter and in-laws) and do what the villains are asking him to.
But there is a twist in the tale. What is it? Who is Gandhi? Why are the state DGP, Home Minister and a mafia leader after him? Answers to these questions are found as the story progresses.
The characterization is tailor-made for Ravi Teja to play to his strengths. His dialogue delivery is fine, but he needed to look more aggressive in the action sequences. While he is good while delivering his style of lines, he does get over the top at times.
The glamour quotient is sought to be amplified by Dimple Hayathi, who passes muster in the scenes but nails it in the songs. Meenakshi Chaudhary is average. Anasuya Bharadwaj is over-the-top at times. Vennela Kishore is enjoyable.
The ensemble cast of villains is dominated by none. They are all below average. Arjun Sarja is well-built and fits the bill. Mollywood actor Unni Mukundan of 'Janatha Garage' and 'Bhaagamathie' fame, Thakur Anoop Singh of 'Winner' fame, and Nikitin Dheer of 'Kanche' fame don't make a mark. 'Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo' fame Sachin Khedekar and the old horse Mukesh Rishi don't register their presence. Murali Sharma and Rao Ramesh are better than the other second-rung artists.
Devi Sri Prasad is said to have belted out six tunes in one hour flat for this movie as soon as he listened to the script. The music may not be top class, but it is not forgettable either. Good dance choreography is a strong point.
Sujith Vassudev and GK Vishnu have cranked the camera for different segments. While it becomes difficult to give them credit for specific portions (since nobody except the makers knows which segments were shot by whom), let it be said that the portions that come in the second half look better.
"Story-boarding and other pre-production works should always be meticulously planned. If we do it, we can do as perfect movies as Rajamouli does."
-- Koneru Satyanarayana, producer, 'Khiladi'
-- Mohan Gandhi, protagonist, 'Khiladi'.
The problem with 'Khiladi' is not that it has an inadequate story. The problem is that it has abundant subplots and a long list of characters finding their way into the story. The end result is that the film is too fatty to be shouldered by the audience.
It doesn't help that director Ramesh Varma's narration is not clear-cut. The story-telling becomes messy in the second half. After 'Amar Akbar Anthony', this has to be the one most chaotic film to have come from Ravi Teja, whose 'Krack' last year was a massive hit.
The film has shades of a revenge drama and a crime thriller. But it doesn't care to make us root for the one upping the game. We don't care who is ahead of others and who is lagging behind. It's because we know for sure who is going to have the last laugh: it's the hero.
Ravi Teja's character looks borrowed and the director resorts to the weapons of the masala film formula to elevate his character. Even the top cop's character, Dimple's character, the psychologist's character... everything looks too rehashed.
The twists evoke laughter more than shock. That's how bad a convenient screenplay can get at times. The film has pretty ordinary action choreography. The chase sequence shot in Italy comes undone by the context in which it unfolds. The climax is feeble.
'Khiladi' is one big fat mess!