Abhilash Joshiy’s multi-lingual “King of Kotha” takes viewers on a journey through the gritty underworld of the fictional town of Kotha. While the actual shoot took place in Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, the film offers a captivating tale of gangsterism, betrayal, and unexpected alliances.
Produced by Dulquer Salmaan, who also stars as the titular character, the film unfolds over 176 minutes, with the spotlight primarily on Salmaan’s performance. As is typical in the gangster drama genre, “King of Kotha” navigates a complex web of deception, interspersed with elements of romance and familial bonds.
However, the film’s ambitious storytelling approach proves to be its downfall. The narrative frequently deviates from its core themes of gangsterism and drug deals, leading to a dilution of their impact. The story kicks off with Shahul Hassan (Prasanna), a police circle inspector, arriving in Kotha for his new assignment. The town’s residents cynically question whether his posting is a form of punishment, unknowingly highlighting the pervasive influence of criminal elements.
The town becomes divided when close friends Kannan (Shabeer Kallarakkal) and Raju/Salmaan find themselves on opposite sides due to conflicting principles. While Raju vehemently opposes drugs, Kannan sees an opportunity to profit by transforming the town into a hub for illicit activities. This ideological clash leads to a bitter enmity between them, ultimately splitting Kotha into two hostile factions.
Amid the escalating tensions, Hassan takes unconventional measures to restore order. Recognizing the need to fight fire with fire, he enlists Raju’s help to counter Kannan’s gang. This strategy embodies the proverb, “You need an iron to cut an iron, you need a thorn to tackle a thorn.” The ensuing power struggle and unexpected alliances form the core of the film’s narrative.
“King of Kotha” boasts a promising plot, yet its overly ambitious execution results in a convoluted storyline that fails to maintain a consistent momentum. The uneven pacing and direction undermine the potential impact of the narrative’s twists and turns. Despite these shortcomings, Salmaan’s portrayal of the compassionate yet determined don is a highlight of the film. His ability to convey a range of emotions—pride, prejudice, sorrow, disappointment, and fleeting joy—adds depth to his character.
However, the predictability of the overall story arc is a drawback. The audience is left with little suspense regarding the eventual trajectory of the plot. Additionally, a more equitable distribution of screen time among supporting characters would enhance the film’s overall richness. Presently, these characters come across as one-dimensional caricatures rather than fully developed individuals.
In conclusion, “King of Kotha” attempts to explore the intricate dynamics of a gangster-dominated town while delving into themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurred lines between good and evil. Despite a compelling premise and Salmaan’s standout performance, the film struggles to strike the right balance between its various narrative threads, leading to a somewhat disjointed viewing experience.
|Gangster Drama||176 minutes||Fictional town of Kotha||Dulquer Salmaan||Dulquer Salmaan|