“The biggest Mafia of this country is the Government itself” roars a commanding Saryu Bhan Singh(Vinod Khanna) as he goes about explaining the genesis of his genre of law and order and control in a God forsaken land where he rules with a vice like grip. He is aided in all his ungodliness by a man known as Karua (Vipinno) who is feared all over for his cut throat cruelty and swift justice in favor of Singh whom he worships like a God. Singh rules with utter surety and total control until the arrival of a new collector in Nisheet Kumar (Suniel Shetty) throws off the balance. Kumar starts digging anomalies of the Singh’s empire but is able to achieve very little. There is another uproar which is happening at the same point of time within the dirt poor labors who have been for so many years been subjugated under the crushing rule of Singh and they gradually start to revolt, led forward by some leaders.
But Singh has Karua up his sleeve and he almost single handedly crushes the rebellion. The fact that Singh has the police in his pocket only makes matter easier for Karua who walks off from murders cracking wisecracks at the hapless victims. The matter takes a turn for bad when Singh dispatches Karua to warn Kumar to stay out of his business but Karua ends up overdoing his bit and mistakenly kidnaps Kumar’s infant son. His wife is severally injured too and this swings the Government machinery into action. The IB intervenes and so does the higher police officials as Kumar goes out on an out and out war against Singh to bring back his son and destroy the Mafia Control on the coal belt. Karua who is absconding with Kumar’s son is left with the infant whom he can neither control nor contain and in desperation turns to his only associate, a local prostitute, for help. In trying to contain the kid Karua rediscovers the traits of humanity which he had lost somewhere down the line serving his master.
Koyelaanchal starts off with a bang and maintains the momentum for most of the part. The take is gritty and stark with attention paid to details and the tone and dialogs in strong keeping with the mood of the film. The story of Mafia has been done before in films like Gangs Of Wasseypur and a host of other films but Koyelaanchal constantly keeps you engrossed and gives you a feeling of offering something fresh leaving no room for any complaint. However the onset of the second half and the way the script tries to breathe some humanity into Karua takes the film hay wire for a while and the dramatic and over the top finale sends it down the gutter. A film as realistic as this one needed a solid finish and a look at the narrative will give you an ideas as though the director was suddenly in a hurry to finish it off in a jiffy which made him almost disinterested in the tale.
The dramatic track involving Karua, the prostitute and the kid hams a lot and liquidates the tension and wonderful drama conjured up in the first half. Having said that, there are a few flashes of brilliance in the second half which makes the movie tick until the climax, which again really takes you downhill. One of the sparkling aspects of the film is its astute performances. The three main characters work exceedingly well. Vinod Khanna is rock solid in a role which demanded control and the same time power. He is a seasoned actor and his every move makes you feel that. He becomes Singh effortlessly. Suniel Shetty is able to shrug off his accent and portrays a civil servant in the most apt manner possible. Some scenes which deserve a special mention are his interaction with a government servant towards the end, the way he pukes when he sees a murder happen in broad day light and his interactions Saryu Bhan Singh. Shetty proves his mettle once again and also the fact that his career was jeopardized by some horrendous choices of roles. Vipinno is electric as Karua. He speaks not more than a 100 words in the whole film and yet makes the soundest impact with his physicality and expressions. He is one to look out for in the future.
The cinematography of the film is brilliant. Black and white stills and colored videos are used wonderfully in tandem to make an impact. The crisp editing and absence of songs leading to a run time of 146 minutes makes the film a tad bit more likeable. Overall, this film had great potential and about 70% of that potential is utilized but a flawed ending and some unnecessary melodrama spoils it. Still, Koyelaanchal is an entertaining watch and I would watch this film on any given day. Go for it even if it’s just for once.