Khakee: The Bihar Chapter review: Neeraj Pandey's 7-episode show is a complete action-packed cat-and-mouse chase between a hero and villain but it's nothing more than that!
It's been a long time since we've watched a good action thriller, one where the line between a hero and a villain is drawn in complete black and white; where a cop is a hero that we all need to get rid of the villain who is a criminal without any excess human exploration or baggage. That is precisely what Khakee: The Bihar Chapter is. Neeraj Pandey who has helmed projects like Baby, Special 26, Special Ops, MS Dhoni, and many more co-created this world with Umashankar Singh, and Bhav Dhulia (director) based on a book by Amit Lodha. Following a similar style of filmmaking, Khakee: The Bihar Chapter seems like it's a long format of a 3-hour investigative action-drama film where the first 4 episodes or so are spent on making the hero and the villain reach up to the point of facing each other.
It's essentially a story of cop v/s criminal where our virtuous hero, IPS officer Amit Lodha (Karan Tacker) plays the game of cat and mouse with an immoral villain, a dangerous ganglord, Chandan Mahto (Avinash Tiwary) in the early 2000s of Bihar. Though this only begins after episode 4! Till then we get to see both these characters grow in their respective fields in contrast to each other. While growing up in privilege. Amit Lodha takes up the task of becoming an IPS officer and struggles a little in Bihar, where as always oppressed for his caste, Chandan Mahto slowly rises up to become the criminal who is dreaded by everyone. Both suffer highs and lows in their respective lives and professions and merely meet each other in glances, up until Amit Lodha is given the task to capture Chandan Mahto.
Also Read: Khakee: The Bihar Chapter definitely made an impact on the Janta with its attention to detail in the story and the talented cast of the show!
It's interesting to note that each one of them makes a name for themselves in a way where the people around them dread them. Criminals are terrified of Amit while villagers feel that about Chandan. At times they reminded me of Batman and the Joker as both were quite similar in a lot of ways but only their moral discipline is what separated them from each other. It's a fairly interesting contrast drawn between the two as both interact with the society they live in yet one keeps on choosing to be a virtuous IPS officer over and again even with all the struggles while another chooses to become the most famous dreaded criminal.
The investigation and chase between Chandan and Amit make up for an adrenaline-pumping watch which is heightened by its background score. It's a typical hero-villain chase where sometimes the hero has the upper hand and other times the villain. And ends up in an exciting sitting across-the-table conversation. Though it's the dialogues that act as a double-edged sword as they are as metaphorical as literal and provide the depth that seems to be otherwise missing in the writing. If it is logical explanations and human evaluations that you are looking from the narrative then you should drop the hope and just give in to the world that is being kept in front of you. Because otherwise there are a lot of things that can be confusing even if they are not distracting.
This 7- episode show is majorly aided by the series' cinematography by Hari Nair and editing by Praveen Kathikuloth combined with the writing of the show. The cast of the show has been hands applauded especially Karan Tacker and Avinash Tiwary who have adorned their characters with so much ease that they do not even for a minute make you feel that this is not Amit or Chandan. And each looks perfectly well-fitted for their part. For Avinash, I was expecting him to speak through his eyes and face as he does well on my expectation but I did not expect Karan's body language to even speak the language of Amit's. Ashutosh Rana, Jatin Saran, Abhimanyu Singh, and Ravi Kishan play their part well as expected of them and add excitement to the show but I wish Nikita Dutta, Vinay Pathak, and even Anup Soni could have been utilized more rather than playing mere characters.
Though this cannot be denied that the show has many scenes that are handled only half-heartedly, the rest is left to the audience's intelligence to pick up on. And there's no breathing space since something keeps on happening one after the other. Maybe the show trusts its audience's intelligence too much or didn't have the bandwidth to shoot, either way, it doesn't necessarily impact the super fast-watching experience that the show takes up. If you're looking for an in-depth look at Bihar then this is not the show for you but if you're looking for a nail-biting experience of a good action-suspense thriller that doesn't go in-depth about its world-building and characters' motivations but rather just keeps it as what it is, then Khakee is something you'll definitely enjoy.
In Khakee: The Bihar Chapter, it could be said that Bhav Dhulia's approach to telling this narrative is as exciting as it is able to keep you on your toes! Even the intro sequence screams of bloody crimes and Bihar. It's currently streaming on Netflix.
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