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King Of Kotha Review: A Story Of Friends Turned Foes Laced With Excellent Performances, But Drags And Drops During Its Runtime.

At 2 hours and 45 minutes, the film did seem dragged in the second half, but at the same time, it’s packed with twists and turns and unexpected revelations.

Director : Abhilash Joshy

Cast : Dulquer Salmaan, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Shabeer Kallarakkal, Gokul Suresh

Malayalam cinema is known for its layered characters, strong storylines brilliant performances. What happens when those aesthetics are used to make a ‘massy’ gangster drama is what King Of Kotha is all about.

The movie isn’t a typical Malayalam film, even though it’s a revenge saga between two gangsters, the characters are well-written. There is betrayal, drama, love, friendships and emotions that drive the film. Even though it tends to lag in many parts, the story keeps moving forward. There are many moments in the movie that make you wonder whether you are actually watching a Malayalam film because the action-packed sequences are over the top, giving it a very KGF, Jailer kind of feel.

The story revolves around ‘friends turned foes’ but it isn’t as transparent as that. The friends share a childhood, a lifetime of memories but are torn between what each one of them wants from life. Driven by their love for their women, they run the small town of Kotha with opposite ideologies. That’s the crux of the movie, how one’s perspective differs from another.
Dulquer plays Raju, the gangster who has a good heart, love for family, and compassion for others but at the same deals with things the way a gangster would. Getting triggered, breaking bones and causing harm is a daily occurrence for him. Aishwarya Lekshmi plays his love interest and is also the reason why he bans the trade of marijuana in the town. On the other hand, is Kannan, played to perfection by Shabeer Kallarakkal who, in the first half is Raju’s friend turned family but in the second, is on the other side of order.

The movie is split between a past and a present, showing how friends turned foes. The characters are flawed, everyone has a little bit of grey in them. No one is shown to be 100 per cent white and black, that’s the beauty of the film.
The performances stand out, from Aishwarya Lekhsmi’s portrayal of Tara to Nyla Usha as Manju, the women have a strong voice and a stronger character arc. They are the reason the men do what they do, whether it is good or bad. Special mention to Prasanna, Chemban Vinod Jose, Gokul Suresh and Shammi Thilakan who work their magic and deliver flawless performances in their respective roles. Its the supporting cast of a film that carry it forward, and this one had each one better than the one before.

The background score is the soul of the film. It’s fresh and impactful, really makes you feel the feels at all the right instances. Jake Bejoy is the music director, the focus is on amping up the storyline, and that works in the movie’s favour here. It’s the cinematography by Nimish Ravi which makes the film standout. From the football setting to the bar fight, everything feels new even though it isn’t.

Verdict : At 2 hours and 45 minutes, the film did seem dragged in the second half, but at the same time, it’s packed with twists and turns and unexpected revelations.

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