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Kaala is a crime thriller with stellar performances and great shots, but lacks substance. The fast-paced Bijoy Nambiar project features Avinash Tiwary as Ritwik, an IB officer and son of a disgraced army officer. Flashbacks delve into his father’s life, played by Rohan Vinod Mehra, while the core conflict involves a reverse hawala led by flashy Naman Arya (Taher Shah) and a chase to catch him red-handed.


The first three episodes are confusing and infuriating with tiny pieces of information that reach conclusions in the latter half of the series. The flashbacks are oddly sprinkled through out and as the story progresses further, they become central to the series. Ritwik, his estranged half sister Aloka, the environmental CEO Naman Arya, feel underdeveloped. 


This is particularly evident in the case of Aloka, portrayed by Elisha Mayor. She is burdened with awkward dialogues and a performance that seems out of place. Furthermore, her character’s love affair with a married woman is introduced as a plot point but ultimately leads nowhere. The teenage character and her group of friends feel like extraneous additions that don’t significantly contribute to the story.

The central villain in this series is Balwant Bir Singh or Shakti Arya. Played by Jitin Gulati, the performance misses the mark. There is an inept attempt at showing Balwant’s transition to Shakti. The portrayal of a trans character is clumsy and presents an odd pattern of trans characters being villains in 2023. The dialogue is weak and it feels like Bollywood has forgotten that men can be just gay. 


The final twist in the series comes out of nowhere and is laughable, as Ritwik’s love interest Sitara turns out to be a spy. Her motivations for the same and her link to the “syndicate” is not thoroughly explored so the shock factor misses the mark. The syndicate in itself is a confusing plot point with its member’s starring Shakti Kapoor in a boogeyman like role.  


Overall the series is often hard to follow which is a shame because the storyline showed great potential. The final episode feels unearned as you have no attachment or connect with any characters. The culmination thus, is underwhelming. 

Rating - 2/5 stars

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