Bollywood has historically been known to shy away from blood and gore when making out-and-out action movies, but the modern Indian audience has been demanding filmmakers raise the standards of action in Indian Cinema to try to make it competitive against international action movies that are way ahead in creating brutal action flicks. Dharma Production has heard all of those concerns and delivered an out-and-out action movie that is shockingly bloody and gory.
KILL is directed by Nikhil Nagesh Bhat and Produced by Dharma Productions alongside Sikhya Entertainment. It stars Lakshya in his debut feature, Raghav Juyal and Tanya Maniktala. It follows an NSG commando Amrit (Lakshya) and his fellow soldier Viresh on a quest to save the love of his life Tulika (Maniktala) from a forced arranged marriage. Amrit’s plans are derailed when a crew of bandits, led by the vicious Fani (Juyal), storm the train and take all of its passengers hostage. Amrit and Viresh take matters into their own hands and go against all the bandits themselves in what becomes a bloodfest very quickly.
The entire movie is based inside a moving train, which has never been done before, at least in Indian Cinema. The plot may be simple but works well in terms of giving the right motivations to both sides to go all out against each other and have no mercy while doing it. I believe all-out action movies don’t need to overcomplicate things with their storylines as they just get in the way of the experience. But that doesn’t mean that the movie doesn’t have twists and turns, there are plenty of them throughout, one in particular blew my mind when the movie did something that not a lot of filmmakers have the audacity to do (You’ll know it when you see it).
With a relatively short runtime of 115 minutes, Bhat keeps it fast-paced and makes sure to trim all the fat. Once the killing starts, relatively early in the first act, it just never slows down and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that from that point it is just non-stop action. The movie doesn’t have unnecessary subplots or dialogue-heavy scenes every few minutes so the viewer is constantly invested in the narrative. There is not a lot of depth to any of the characters, but I certainly connected to the love story aspect, which had some impactful emotional scenes wherever necessary.
There was not a lot of room for most actors to shine given the nature of the script, but Raghav Juyal knocks it out of the park as Fani, our main villain. Juyal is known for comedic roles but he nails the impulsiveness and the egoistic nature of his character with witty one-liners and brutal moments. The other stars of this project are our two action choreographers Se-Yeong Oh and Parvez Shaikh. They manage to come with a bucket load of creative and stylish fight sequences, despite the limited space and props to work with. The action never feels repetitive at any point and just amazes you time and time again as the plot progresses.
The producers deserve a lot of credit for backing such an unconventional project which has never been attempted before, especially in Indian cinema. There has never been a project from India that reaches the extreme level of violence and blood like KILL does. The lead actor Lakshya rightly described it as “A baby of The Raid and John Wick but inside a Train.” As far as debut movies go, Lakshya couldn’t have asked for a better project, and this is also director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s best work by far in my opinion.
KILL is a blood-soaked blade of unparalleled brutality, that is bound to be a deadly milestone in Indian cinema. It will rewrite the standards for action movies in the industry with an incredibly intense, violent, and gory cinematic experience. It will go down as one of the best action movies ever to come out of India. A great debut for Lakshya and a career-transforming role for Raghav Juyal. Don’t miss this one.
‘Kill’ premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2023, as a part of the Midnight Madness program.