‘Khaag’ Movie Review : A Sincere But Tacky Effort

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RUPAK RISAL
The movie is based on the book “Gaida lai char barsha” (Four years for the rhinos) written by Kamal Jung Kunwar about incidents happened during his tenure as a Conservation Officer in Chitwan National Park. The movie showcases accounts of his struggle to save one of the most endangered species in Nepal, the one horned rhinoceros. So, basically the movie is based on real life events, yet, some of which look unbelievable for the viewers. Perhaps cinematic liberty is at work here.

First thing first, issue based movies are rarely made in Nepal. People don’t flock to the cinemas to watch them, yet Manoj Pandit has attempted to take that risk. His work has always been based on real life incidents in which an idealist central character fights against all odds to prove himself. However, the ideal character in this movie is a bit rowdy, who doesn’t seek any strategic measure to arrest the poachers except for going on for the head-on collision with them. Perhaps he had some limitations, but due to lack of any back story, viewers are left to ponder on why is he shown like that. The lead character is sincere and honest but not wise.

Puskar Gurung from the still of ‘Khaag’.

Due to the discontinuous and fast cut editing used at the beginning of the movie, the story starts so hastily that the viewers can’t grasp what’s actually happening onscreen. It rarely lets the viewers relax. After a while the tempo settles a bit and this is where the director had the chance to turn this movie into a high octane action thriller. However, he is handicapped by lack of established characters and thin storyline. Some scenes are gritty but frequency of lazily choreographed fight sequences only consume the time which otherwise could have been well spent in the character development. The characters just come out of nowhere. As a result, viewers don’t feel for them even when they are fighting for a good cause.

We don’t have many directors like Manoj Pandit in Nepal, who makes movies that aren’t merely some money making ventures but are also meaningful. Viewers (regardless of their number) with love for no-nonsense cinema tend to look up to directors like him. So movies made by directors like him should have good attention to details and zero tolerance to negligence. A good cinema should have even characters with one line deliver their dialogue as if they are the most important characters in the movie.

Deepa Panta from the still of ‘Khaag’.

There are a few good things in the movie as well. The best thing in the movie is Prabin Khatiwada. He outshines everyone and everything in this movie with a sincere performance and intense dialogue delivery. He gives us a glimpse of a future star in the making. The movie is a sincere attempt to praise the work of a dedicated conservation officer and the tempo and intensity in the movie is always high, which never bore the viewers.

Watch it for a different style of movie making, Prabin Khatiwada, a few gritty scenes and Chitwan National Park.

Rating: 2/5
Producer: Pramila Kunwor
Director: Manoj Pandit
Cast: Prabin Khatiwada, Deepa Pant, Pushkar Gurung et al.

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