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The Killing

A powerful opening promises more than "The Killing'' can deliver, switching gears from intense ghost-revenge thriller to insipid expose of greedy people taking advantage of genuine religious faith.

Cast:
With: Manoj Bajpai, Sonali Kulkarni, Satyadev Dubey, Seema Biswas.

A powerful opening promises more than “The Killing” can deliver, switching gears from intense ghost-revenge thriller to insipid expose of greedy people taking advantage of genuine religious faith. Veteran thesp Makran Deshpande’s sophomore helming effort loses steam fast, and despite the occasional full-scale Bollywood number, gets lost amid cringe-worthy depictions of manic simpletons in the big city. Despite a surprise revelation toward the end, auds will be forgiven for not thinking it was worth the long wait.

A burst of energy hits the screen when a battered wife (the great Seema Biswas, again relegated to a cameo) calls down curses on the Goddess Bhagwati before killing herself. To assuage the deity, her husband dedicates a mad girl, also called Bhagwati (Sonali Kulkarni) to the village temple. Marriage rites are uttered between herself and the half-witted temple drummer Pagla (Manoj Bajpai), infuriating the priest and leading to their escape to Mumbai. Easy targets for any petty criminal, they turn into cash cows when an unscrupulous policeman discovers Bhagwati has become a conduit for the Goddess’s pronouncements. Even given Bollywood stylizations, acting by leads lacks nuance.

The Killing

India

Production: A Sahara One Motion Pictures production. (International sales: Makrand Deshpande Prods., Mumbai.) Produced by Shrikant Deshpande. Directed, written by Makrand Deshpande.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Kiran Deohans; editor, Ballu Saluja; music, Anu Malik; production designer, Nitin Chandrakant Desai; costume designer, Lovleen Bains. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (Time & Tide), Feb. 1, 2005. Original title: Hanan. Hindi dialogue. Running time: 146 MIN.

With: With: Manoj Bajpai, Sonali Kulkarni, Satyadev Dubey, Seema Biswas.

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