Disclaimer: This isn’t a movie review but candid musings, simply because films like Killa can never be reviewed, but only experienced. It’s subtitled, so you have no excuse to miss this Marathi film.
There are few films that must be made compulsory to watch. Well, when films can be banned from screening, why not a mandatory watch? Killa is one such film that tops the list of such films. While other filmmakers back home i.e. Hindi Film Industry are busy churning out well-packaged and marketed films or ‘intellectual self-pleasure’ movies where you end up appreciating the painstakingly detailed objects yelling ‘retro’ and all that jazz. Or perhaps that ‘chair with a hole’ strategically placed atop a car and later at the centre of an ancestral mansion, here’s a Marathi film that dwarfs them all with an effortless ease.
Killa is about a kid with single parent trying to grapple with the changes in his life at a new place, fostering newfound friendships. Director Avinash Arun narrates this one-lined story with an envious simplicity and curious eyes, doubling up as a cinematographer.
Archit Deodhar, a child actor who has never faced camera before, makes his debut as a promising actor to watch out for. His ability to express know-it-all and naivety in the same breath as Chinmay is awe-inspiring. Parth Bhalerao (That brilliant kid from Bhootnath Returns) as his best buddy, Suhas/Bandya is first rate.
These two characters, along with a bunch of other kids are so familiar, you’d end up believing that you just time-travelled back to your good ol’ school days and ganged up with your friends. Amruta Subhash as Chinmay’s mother coping up with her husband’s death and making the ends meet through frequent transfers and low income is indeed worth a mention.
Right from the first frame to the closing credits, Killa is a visual treat. You’d end up feeling that you’ve just returned from a small village in Konkan. The school interiors, bicycle race, the crab-hunting, the rains and the ‘Killa’ aren’t merely shot, but savoured through the camera.
There’s a scene where a fisherman prods Chinmay to taste the fish they caught together. The way it has been shot, you can actually smell the fish! It feels that real, albeit the hyperbole. One could go on and on with such gems that make Killa special, but wisdom prevails in restraint.
Killa is in fact, a wake-up call that it’s high time our current crop of writers and filmmakers unlearn what they’ve been doing till now, and trash that 2 TB Hard Disk tanked up with World Cinema. It’s time they go back to the basics of filmmaking – the way Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt, Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and Basu Chatterjee used to make them. They don’t make films like these anymore.
It is indeed no wonder that KIlla was selected for the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, where it bagged the Crystal Bear by the Children’s Jury in the Generation K-Plus Selection. In the film, ‘Killa’ i.e. fort is perhaps a metaphor for memories, as per my interpretation. So, thank you, Avinash Arun for those wonderful memories.