The routine freshers, ragging, patch-ups, bunks, fights, alcohol – all this gets a little too boring after a while.

Kirrak Party review This campus entertainer tries to be cool but is cliched
Flix Tollywood Friday, March 16, 2018 - 15:45

Kirrak Party is Telugu cinema’s identity crisis – the conflict between what TFI is trying to be – innovative, progressive, creative – and what it knows it has been for a long while now – cliched, populist, chauvinist. Somewhere in this conflict, the movie script is lost, like papers fluttering in a crazy breeze.

The movie tries to be about one thing and ends up being about everything else except that one thing. Krishna (Nikhil), a first-year engineering student, falls in love with Meera (Simran Pareenja), a final year student who aspires to be an author. Meera starts to have a positive influence on him. However, in an unfortunate twist of events, Meera dies while partying in an inebriated state.

This is where the movie goes for a toss. Her death and the way a myopic society, including her dad, reacts to her being inebriated (plus five for showing how women who drink are judged by hypocrites) affects Krishna gravely. Sadly, the makers decide to demonstrate that effect with physical elements than with emotional and mental attributes.

Krishna has a beard now and rides a Desert Storm, bashing sexual harassers in the college. But the story and characterisation fail to evolve beyond that. Krishna, along with his friends, continues to while away his time smoking, drinking and cheating in the exams, even as the daughter of the Principal (actually we don’t use the word Principal, we say Dean, don’t we?), Satya (Samyuktha Hegde), a first-year student, pursues him. One fine day, Satya arranges for Krishna to meet Meera’s dad, who has now realised his folly. Krishna decides to take off on a Bullet ride. He comes back, resolves a moral crisis and just like that, all’s well that ends well.

The Bullet ride bit is really funny, because the makers seem to think it makes the hero look cool, without really understanding the ethos of a Bullet ride. You’ve got to wear a helmet; if you don’t, your gelled hair will not remain as cool. If you are wearing multiple jackets and carrying a tent and a yoga mat (actually, it should have been an insulation mat, but that may be beside the point), it should be around you somewhere, unless there is a van carrying all this stuff for you?!

This seems like nit-picking but this is exactly what a lot of medium-budget Telugu movies are doing wrong. They have a cliched idea about studying engineering, a cliched idea about introspective reflection and change, and they have a cliched idea about women or their empowerment. It shows up in the silliness of the execution when they imagine these things rather than really meaning them.

The biggest plus of Kirrak Party, a remake of the Kannada Kirik Party, is that it’s reasonably clean. It is not sleazy, partially because its protagonist is trying hard to be a good man. But, beyond that, the makers have got their ideas all mixed up and wrong. A changed man need not be a goon-bashing college union president and if he is, aren’t you undoing or rather insulting the transformation that you insist has taken place in him? Nikhil is a good actor but the script barely lets him breathe beyond his usual avatar of the mischief-maker.

It is about time filmmakers move on from their cliched ideas of what an engineering college is like. College authorities aren’t a bunch of buffoons. Replacing entire answer sheets after the exams, is, well, delusional, to say the least. The routine freshers, ragging, patch-ups, bunks, fights, alcohol – all this gets a little too boring after a while. A helmet-less long ride to the Himalayas doesn’t fix it. If you have to carry your tent and backpacking kit on your back for such a long ride, you’ll only add to your burdens and backache.

The hero, at one point, auctions his car to fund the education of a sex-worker’s daughter – a well-intentioned add-on to the story. But, such plot devices lose impact when the flow of money right through the movie, whenever the hero needs it, annoys the observant movie-watcher’s logical bent of mind.

Should our movies take so many liberties? And all this for a message that dies before it even takes birth!

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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