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Film Review | Killa (The Fort)
Some films are just made to entertain you. Others, filled with nail biting moments, keep you on the edge of the seat. But rarely does one come across a cinematic treat, that leaves you spell bound, making you get out of the seat, just to give a standing ovation to the entire cast and crew of the film. One such marvel that I recently came across was Killa (The Fort), a simple film with a stunning visual experience. There are times when words fall short to praise such a masterpiece, especially when it is made in your own backyard (and mother tongue). And as the end credits of the film rolled out during the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival 2014, I faced a similar situation.
Killa (The Fort) explores the protagonist's pain, sense of belonging and twisted relationships with an incredible ease. The young boy Chinmay moves into Guhagar with his mother, who has a transferable job. She knows the risks involved and understands the pain that her son goes through, every time he has to adjust in a new city or village, but being the sole bread earner of the house, she can't help it. Chinmay discovers friendship at his new school, and just as he starts mingling with his new found buddies, a race leads them to a fort, where nostalgia, fear and emptiness clasps Chinmay's mind. What unfolds is a wonderful tale that will move you, and shall stay with you even after you step out of the theater, for a long, long time.
Each technical aspect of this film, be it the background score, editing, screenplay, dialogues or the king of all (and the biggest crowd puller) - cinematography, is simply top notch. Being someone whose ancestral roots belong to the unnoticed Heaven-on-earth, Konkan, I was mesmerized by the way first time Director and Dop Avinash Arun has captured the essence of the region. Be it the moss covered Vijaydurga fort during the monsoon season, the roads covered with palm trees on both sides, little ponds where kids simply can't do without taking a swim or the unforgettable, golden sand beaches which can even give some of the popular Goan beaches a run for their money; Arun has chosen the right locations and captured them beautifully on the lens. I am yet to see any film which has done perfect justice to the aesthetics of Konkan, the way Killa has.
Among the performers, both Amruta Subhash (mother) and Archit were flawless. In not a single moment in the film have they displayed any over-the-top emotions. Amruta and Archit portrayed their roles with real dedication and stepped into the shoes of their respective characters earnestly. This was clearly evident in their performances. One could feel the mother's dilemma, as juggling work responsibilities with troubles at home is no cakewalk. On the other side, we could also sympathize with Chinmay, as he is forever longing for love from friends and family, but fails to understand his own mother's predicament. The other 'gang' members of Chinmay's school were also good. But it was Parth Bhalerao as Bandya who won everyone's heart with his antics. His swag, the 'I have arrived' attitude and ease with which he delivers every dialogue is just extraordinary.That tiny package is truly a dhamaka in this film.
It is not everyday that an Indian film wins the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale. It is also not everyday that the public demand forces the organizers of the Mumbai Film Festival 2014 to arrange for a third show of this film. But above all this, it is not everyday that a magical spectacle like Killa is made in your own country. A special message to Avinash and his entire team - Such brilliant work makes every Maharashtrian proud! I feel proud and happy of the fact that the Marathi film industry is brimming with such exceptional talent. Thank you for this little gem called Killa.
Looking forward to more from you, Avinash!
So folks, please make sure that you step out and watch this film, as soon as it hits the theaters.
And just as it happened with Haider, rating Killa and giving it stars won't be fair. Such films are just a class apart.