Actor-producer and beloved ‘Badshah’ Kiccha Sudeep was right when he told ThePrint that Vikrant Rona is “nothing less than everything”. And that is where the problem ultimately lies— it tries so many things that the second half has to race at breakneck speed to tie everything together. However, the film doesn’t entirely fail in its intent to entertain.
Written and directed by Anup Bhandari, Vikrant Rona has the potential to be a smash hit because it’s a Kiccha show through and through—the man who broke language barriers for the first time in 2012 with Makkhi—who’s stellar visual effects and unique story were enjoyed by audiences across India.
Vikrant Rona’s trailer is a red herring at best, because it is nothing like The Pirates of the Caribbean or Indiana Jones franchise. In fact, it is more sinister and disturbing, and the element of shock can help the film’s box office collections.
Packed to the rafters
The visual world of Vikrant Rona is both stunning and eerie, despite being shot amid covid in 2020. A dark, menacing ambience permeates the narrative, especially in the second half. You just know something horrific is going to happen.
Set in the fictional Kamarottu village of probably the 1980s, it looks at the legacy of two families belonging to different castes. Inspector Vikrant, played by Kiccha, makes his way into the domestic drama of an upper cast household helmed by village landlord Janardhan (Madhusudan Rao), after a cop is murdered under mysterious circumstances. Subsequently, children of the village school go missing, before turning up hanging from trees, with their faces painted. What happens next forms the crux of the story.
The film swings from fantasy to horror to whodunnit until you feel like you just got off a giant amusement park ride.
It makes use of references to Phantom comics, local myths and even caste-based violence to build the narrative. It has equal parts hits and misses.
The Badshah’s mannerisms, swagger, fight and dance sequences are sharp. He gives off a rugged Bruce Willis vibe, albeit leaner and with a full head of hair.
He switches seamlessly from flirting with Jacqueline Fernandes’, who has a brief cameo in the film as bar owner Rakamma, to singing for his daughter to bashing up the bad guys.
The Hindi dialogues feel cringeworthy and mar the viewing experience. Best to watch with subtitles.
The cast plays its part well, but is mostly forgettable. However, the film deserves an extra star for its art direction, which is nothing short of top-notch and spectacular.
If you watch endless franchises of Hollywood films, you should definitely give this ‘desi’ attempt a chance. Despite a loophole-ridden plot that often goes haywire, Vikrant Rona offers a worthwhile 3D experience that celebrates Kiccha Sudeep. A mass entertainer, for sure.
(Edited by Zoya Bhatti)