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Review Hindi

Khaali Peeli review: This dated masala flick fails to impress

Release Date: 02 Oct 2020


Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

The film's theme of a couple on the run has been done to death and offers no surprises.

The lack of access to theatres owing to the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled viewers to turn to web content, which tends to be grim, dark and realistic. It has been a while since the audience savoured a light-hearted masala film with a hero, a heroine and a villain. Maqbool Khan’s Khaali Peeli seeks to fill this void.

Set in Mumbai, the film revolves around Viju (Ishaan Khatter), a taxi driver who has grown up on the streets, earning the nickname Blackie from his days hawking movie tickets in the black market. One day, a woman named Pooja (Ananya Panday), who is apparently trying to escape from a few goons, hurriedly sneaks into his cab.

Blackie, after safely ferrying her to another part of the city, realizes that his passenger is carrying a lot of cash and jewellery. Pooja wants Blackie to spirit her away from the city, and the latter uses the situation to his advantage, asking for a large sum of money for his troubles. But the road ahead is far from smooth for the duo, the biggest roadblock being dangerous gangster Yusuf Chikna (Jaideep Ahlawat).

It is not clear in which era Khaali Peeli is set. In certain flashback scenes, films such Gupt, Dil To Pagal Hai and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha are seen running in theatres, but the first two were released in 1997 and the last came out in 2001.

Khaali Peeli is well-paced and has a short runtime of 113 minutes. The tight editing and smart use of flashbacks make the film watchable. However, while Khaali Peeli has all the trappings of a contemporary film, its story is dated. The theme of a couple on the run has been done to death and we know from the get-go where our duo's ride will end. For at least a decade now, such capers can be seen at any time of the day in dubbed South Indian films on most Hindi movie channels. It would have been far better for everyone if the film had been made in the era in which the story is set.

It is a given that viewers have to suspend their disbelief while watching such films. But the makers ask for too much in one instance when Blackie and Pooja casually drop off their bag of treasure at a random spot just to shake a leg at a fair.

In a genre where at least a couple of high-quality songs are essential, Khaali Peeli falls flat in the music department without a single tune meriting a second listen.

Khatter showed tremendous potential in the few projects he has taken up so far. He is dedicated here too. But the problem is that he appears too young to play such a character and seeing him go toe to toe with the imposing Ahlawat beggars belief.

Ananya Panday is presentable and pretty but needs to work on her acting chops. Ahlawat easily surpasses the rest of the cast as far as performances go. Although Swanand Kirkire also puts up a great performance as usual, his character, a paedophile, is too dark and disturbing for a film of this nature.

Beneath its modern exterior, this Khaali Peeli runs on an outdated engine.

Khaali Peeli is now available on Zee Plex on the Zee5 platform.

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