‘Kaafi Thota’ review: A thrilling plot let down by bad direction

Enjoyable in parts, the film leaves you wondering how amazing it could have been in the hands of a slicker, smarter director.
‘Kaafi Thota’ review: A thrilling plot let down by bad direction
‘Kaafi Thota’ review: A thrilling plot let down by bad direction
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Imagine if instead of watching a thriller like Shutter Island or Gone Girl play out on the big screen, you were listening to them being narrated to you by a genial uncle at a family gathering.

As he goes into tangent after tangent, you’re left wondering when he’s finally going to get to the point and tell you what’s going on. And just when he gets to the big reveal, he lets the secret out too soon, then spending ages telling you why it was so great.

Unfortunately, that’s how TN Seetharam’s Kaafi Thota plays out. Which is a pity because so far as plots go, the film has a rock-solid thriller on its hands. The story kicks off with a mysterious murder 20 years before, then packs in greedy relatives eyeing a Rs 200-crore fortune, a lone heiress caught in a love triangle, a mysterious stranger and an overzealous cop.

But much like a genial uncle, Seetharam spends too much time on romance, a somewhat insipid but not too offensive comedy track, benign family moments and a couple of sweet songs. Don’t get me wrong, none of this is terribly annoying or horribly boring. In fact, set in the picturesque landscape of a coffee plantation with winding hill country and pleasant beaches to add, the film is visually quite pleasing for the most part. The soundtrack is also quite enjoyable in many sections.

But Seetharam spends a bit too much time setting up all this and gets to the murder mystery all too late in the film. What also hurts the film is that its main cast comes off a bit awkward in parts. While Rahul Madhav is far too nice-hearted in the beginning, the emotional scenes between Raghu Mukherjee and Radhika Chetan feel too mannered.

The film finally picks up pace in the second half, but is unable to decide if it wants to be a thriller or a courtroom drama. Thus, the big twist is prematurely given, and the film stutters towards the end. And Seetharam just doesn’t milk the potential tension of the plot enough.

Still, Kaafi Thota has its moments and can be worth a watch. But at the end of the film you’re left wondering just how good it could have turned out in the hands of a slicker, smarter director and cast.

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