Khakee : The Bihar Chapter
Onto the next release of the weekend and I have finished watching the new Hindi series Khakee : The Bihar Chapter which is streaming on Netflix. Netflix as an OTT platform has often been accused of not being able to penetrate to the masses. And the reason for it attributes to the fact that there isn’t much Indian content on the platform thatvis deeply rooted to reality. So if you keep backing content that caters to the upper class, the same will never resonate with the masses and eventually it will reduce the viewership. And that is not to say that one should not back the projects which do not resonate with the masses. My point is that there should be a balance maintained that caters to both the stratas of the society. That said, things are beginning to shift.
After Jamtara, a series whose both seasons were immensely successful, Netflix has come up with another show that is rooted and specifically directed towards the masses titled Khakee : The Bihar Chapter. With a maestro like Neeraj Pandey at the helm of it(not directed by him but perhaps creatively involved), I was really looking forward to watching the series. So then does Khakee : The Bihar Chapter manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Based on a novel by IPS Amit Lodha(who is also the protagonist in this tale), Khakee : The Bihar Chapter follows a cat and mouse chase between the cops and a notorious gangster who will stop at nothing in committing crimes as per his liking. Now the story may not be entirely novel but its treatment is really impressive. Standing at 7 episodes of roughly 40 to 50 minutes each, makes for a textured watch where something or the other is happening onscreen at any given point of time.
What the drama gets spot on is the world building part. Set in the dusty lanes of Bihar, the setting is powerful and adds flavour to the drama. In the very first scene(that is used as an incident along the way), establishes the fact that the antagonist is a gangster who has political affiliations in the system. This as a helpless cop has to return despite coming for the head of the antagonist. Soon you are introduced to the protagonist and his character trait which is honesty. The drama is quite predictable in terms of its basic characterization but having said that it does make for a compelling watch!
Every scene unfolds like an event in the drama and this is what makes the drama engrossing and entertaining. The viewers are constantly on their toes, curious on how the drama will unfold. The politics angle is cleverly integrated in the drama. The plight of the policemen, even those ranked on higher positions is showcased with a pinch of salt and rather unapologetically. There are some twists and turns in the screenplay wherein I was pleasantly shocked and I foumd myself uncannily binge watching the proceedings.
Another strong aspect of the screenplay is the character dynamics. This is one aspect that is quite well tapped into and it does lead to some shocking revelations. The urgency in the drama increases ten fold from the third episode where the writers do manage to hold the attention of the viewers, and brilliantly so. The power tussle that unfolds as a parallel track to the main plot, almost like a subtext is enthralling to watch. The writers do not spare the audience from violence and gore too. So there is plenty of action to satisfy the action junkies. The events leading up to the final capture are captivating and the drama was in the ‘Baby’ mode for a brief while. But herein comes a slight downfall!
The final 20 odd minutes did seem a bit repetitive and although the motive from the writers was to make the final act layered, it kind of went about in circles leading up to a final act which is partially underwhelming. But overall, the screenplay is filled with many moments that would watch your watch worthwhile, it is pretty well written despite the predictable source material.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are quite well written and they do give texture to the drama. The music is really good here with a smashing title track. The BGM stays true to the nature of the drama and thereby creates for an impactful viewing. The cinematography is excellent, even more so in action sequences and captures some frames beautifully. Director Bhav Dhulia does an incredible job in weaving a compelling and enthralling tale and thereby keeping the audiences invested throughout.
The performances are incredibly good here. The veterans Vinay Pathak and Ravi Kishan are excellent in their extended cameos. Shraddha Das as Saumya is earnest. Nikita Dutta as Tanu is well restrained and does lend a silent support to her onscreen husband which was heartening to watch. Anup Soni as Paswan delivers a very dignified performance. Ashutosh Rana as Chaubey adds to the humour quotient in an effortless manner. It is always a pleasure watching Ashutosh Rana in any role that he portrays.
Aishwarya Sushmita as Meeta is the surprise package here. She is brilliant in a rather unassuming role and holds her own at so many junctures. Jatin Sarna as Chawanprash is excellent and quite a natural onscreen. Abhimanyu Singh as Ranjan delivers a powerful performance and it was so good to see him in a positive role. His character made me recall the character of Mukesh Rishi in Sarfarosh and his chemistry with the protagonist was crackling.
Avinash Tiwary as Chandan is menacing and intimidating and I was the happiest seeing him in a role that had a shade of eccentricity to it. He was phenomenal to watch. Karan Tacker as Amit Lodha was a gamble to begin with. And I say this with utmost respect despite knowing how good an actor Karan is. The reason I say it is that leading such a big show is a whole new ball game as opposed to playing a pivotal character in the series. So the makers did show a lot of faith on him and boy does he deliver! He is exceptional here, constantly playing to his strengths and eventually coming out with flying colours. This is perhaps the start of something special for him, considering that Special Ops 2.0 is out next year! Here is wishing him the very best and wishing to watch more of him often!
Despite a minor stumble at the end, Khakee : The Bihar Chapter is an enthralling and engaging gangster drama that makes for a compelling watch! From a marketing standpoint, Netflix may want to focus and invest on such shows that are rooted to reality. Pretty Good Job For Now!