Kennedy 2023 poster


Quick thoughts post the MAMI premiere. 

Here’s yet another pretty exercise in style over substance. It’s visible in some capacity as to how the spark, the seedling of the idea that this film is, could’ve been an interesting pitch to get started, but the final film isn’t quite the realisation of all its ambition. It feels technically sound, but remains emotionally wanting. There are two “elements” in this film – the titular character, and the setting, but neither of them inform the other in a significant way.

Uday Shetty, an underground hitman for a corrupt police force, is an enigmatic figure enough to warrant a character study. He’s broken, haunted, unempathetic, the entire package. He even gets a flashback, where one might expect some fresh perspective on the character – but we don’t get anything beyond what we’ve already predicted through flashes shown from his own memory. In the flashback, we see his psychopathic tendencies from before, and since his present self doesn’t feel like a far cry from that past, the intrigue around him and his motivations never ascends in the film. It’s a flat line. I couldn’t get myself to care about him, more so because I just didn’t get enough depth when the film is also desperately trying to convince me that there’s more to him.

The mechanics of corruption in the force during the pandemic, is the other element being tackled. This setting makes for good atmosphere, but doesn’t add anything of substance to this subject or to the characters. That corruption isn’t seen or felt, I only remember hearing about it in passing mentions and glorified namedrops. So there’s not enough exploration happening on this front either.

The film is at its loudest with its instances of cackling oneliners, and musical setpieces, but the narrative in itself is rather timid. The “moments” majorly hinge on one-off dialogues than on drama. One small stretch of excitement surrounding a bunch of successive murders in a house, is where we see some personality in it, but this individuality isn’t sensed anywhere else in the film. Sunny Leone’s borderline femme fatale is a severely underwritten character for how rushed the beats of her story feel. Interesting casting for a character that feels rather disposable at the end of it all.

The more I try to resonate with the film, the more tedious it becomes. Signing off.


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