The Hindi heartland of late has been the backdrop of many a series and films, especially on the OTT. Be it ‘Maharani’, ‘Mirzapur’, or ‘Panchayat’, setting your story in Bihar or Uttar Pradesh instantly helps you to give it a “real” feel.
So, is ‘Khakee: The Bihar Chapter’ released on Netfilx. The seven-part series is a work of fiction and is based on the book ‘Bihar Diaries: The True Story Of How Bihar’s Most Dangerous Criminal Was Caught.” It was written by IPS officer Amit Lodha in 2018.
It is a quintessential chor-police drama that the audiences have seen umpteen times so far. However, it is the performances and the BGM which elevates this otherwise mundane crime saga to a tolerable one.
The writer’s character is played by Karan Tacker. He is a fresh IPS officer who gets Bihar cadre. It is here in the badlands of Bihar he is set on a collision course with gangster Chandan Mahato, ably portrayed by Avinash Tiwary. The cat-and-mouse chase between the two which traverses through the usual lanes of caste, class, and creed is what the entire series is about.
Set in the early 2000s, the makers have stuck to a stereotypical portrayal of the hero and anti-hero. The hero, Amit Lodha, is fair-skinned, always clean-shaven, and meticulously dressed. On the other hand, Chandan sports a two-day old stubble, has stained teeth, is shown to be tanned, and is shabbily dressed. But the series comes to life only when he appears on the screen. The anti-hero outperforms, outshines, and overpowers the hero. His journey from naivety to notoriety is thrilling. Whereas the character of Amit Lodha is plain-vanilla.
The feeling of déjà vu hangs heavy on this series. There is not a single plot that you have not seen so far. The upright police officer being forced to be a fall guy, poverty pushing someone to be on the wrong side of the law, the internal politics in the police department, the high-handedness of politicians, and rivalry between two gangs – nothing comes as a shocker. Against this backdrop, creator Neeraj Pandey, and director Bhav Dhulia had a tough task. They do succeed, but unfortunately only partially. The series is riveting but not compelling enough. Editing by Praveen Kathikuloth keeps the total duration of the series at over eight hours, which is a tad too long.
Costumes by designer Falguni Thakore deserve a special mention, especially in the case of Chandan. He is mostly shown dressed in a lungi and vest or a soiled shirt or t-shirt. The look has certainly aided Avinash Tiwary to get into the skin of the character.
The entire story reeks of machismo and there is not much scope for a female voice here. The only one who catches our attention is Aishwarya Sushmita. She has done a good job playing the character of Meeta Devi, wife of Chawanparash Sahu, Chandan’s henchman. Chawanparash (an impressive Jatin Sharma) plays a pivotal role in transforming Chandanwa into Chandan. The scenes between the duo are interesting to watch.
‘Khakee’ boasts of a stellar star cast comprising Ashutosh Rana and Ravi Kishan among others. Both are good but don’t have much to do. Vinay Pathak appears in a blink-and-miss role.
If you do not regularly watch ‘Crime Patrol’ and wish to know how a case is cracked or used to be a decade earlier, then ‘Khakee’ is for you. Though it is not dressed to kill, you do not have to put on a thinking cap either. It’s streaming on Netflix....