Cast: Ananya Panday, Ishaan Khatter, Jaideep Ahlawat, Satish Kaushik, Zakir Hussain
Director: Maqbool Khan
Khaali Peeli is an entertainment package with satisfactory dose of action, comedy and drama. Thematically, it revisits ‘masala’ Bollywood crowd pullers and even tries to carve a new space. Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Panday’s fresh pairing is promising and they keep up well with the offbeat and unpredictable scheme of things and deliver a winner.
A story that cuts in past and present, Blackie (Ishaan) and Pooja (Ananya) suit each other early in childhood. But events won’t unfold as innocence would have it. Yusuf Bhai (Jaideep Ahlawat), a local criminal, separates them with force and comes back a second time to ruin their lives in youth. Will love triumph against odds is what it seeks to answer.
Khaali Peeli is certainly inspired by Bollywood clichés. But it is also trendy and breaks away as far as the treatment goes. Characters are molded nicely within an urbane setting. Technical aspects like cinematography, art direction, editing and music power this larger-than-life show and you come out of the experience content. Performances come from a sense of understanding of the world that director Maqbool Khan has envisioned otherwise there were chances of attention slipping in and out.
Blackie and Pooja are both multi-dimensional beings and this does wonders in keeping viewers engaged. It also meats up the plot as you never know what their next move would be. Tension gets build through twists and turns. Ishaan especially maintains a good balance between subtle and slapstick. He is unrestrained in emotion and Ananya nicely compliments him in dramatic turnarounds. Her character is troubled yet lively and she gives Pooja a distinct touch. Their acts are nuanced when required and unabashed otherwise. The two are confident together and make an interesting on-screen couple.
Full marks to writers for tying up all the ends. While the film may seem like a drag a couple of times, patience is call for the day. Satish Kaushik and Zakir Hussain play cops and are delightful additions to the ensemble. They make you smile when stakes are heightened and manage to stand out. In all, the storyline is grounded and Khaali Peeli will certainly spring a pleasant surprise your way.