‘Kuldip Patwal: I Didn’t Do It’ review: Anatomy of an assassination

The film starts off on September 18, 2013, with the assassination of the young chief minister of the fictional state of Bharatsar, Varun Chadha (Pravin Dabas) physically cast in the mould of the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. We are then made to go back in time to 15 minutes before the crime. Then come back to the present to go back 14 years, then come back again to again go back 12 years. This constant back and forth in time renders things pointlessly complicated, rather than being the cool narrative device that the film’s UK- based director may have intended it to be. A straight and simple story is told by Remy Kohli in a jumbled up, non-linear manner, inspired as he seems by the international cinema. Unfortunately, Kohli has clearly been unable to assimilate in his head as it just doesn’t reflect in his work.

Kuldip Patwal: I Didn’t Do It!
  • Director: Remy Kohli
  • Cast: Deepak Dobriyal, Raima Sen, Gulshan Devaiah, Pravin Dabas
  • Storyline: A bystander at a political rally gets arrested for the murder of the chief minister in a public rally. He pleads not guilty. But did he really do it?

Kuldip Patwal (Deepak Dobriyal) is a young educated man in need of a good job. He does well in the examination for the job of patwari but the position gets claimed by another on reservation quota. He has a boozard mother back at home (Vicky Donor anyone) and a good for nothing auto driver dad. He turns a hawker, selling vegetables on the streets till a policy introduced by the Chief Minister renders him jobless. He sells the family jewellery to start a grocery store, but his designer poverty and struggles are ongoing. The CM unwittingly also becomes responsible for the death of his newborn twins as well. The question then arises, did he then shoot down the CM in a fit of rage?

If a half-baked script, sketchy situations and vague characters were not enough, the film is also marked by clutter and disarray in the telling. There’s a lot of issue-pandering as well, be it about caste, reservation, unemployment, corruption or medical and health facilities. All of which merely scratch the surface. None of it adds up to anything compelling. Dobriyal is all fire in a few emotional, dramatic scenes but is by and large on automated mode. All the other actors around him are persistently over the top. It’s Gulshan Devaiah then who tries to inject some amount of life into the proceedings as the eccentric, principled lawyer Praduman Shahpuri but his fake moustache comes in the way. Much ado has been made about the climax. The so-called twist in the tale and the conspiracy theory riding on it, however, are eminently lame.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 12:00:58 PM |

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