King of Kotha Review: A Dulquer Salmaan Show

Director: Abhilash Joshiy

King of Kotha (KOK) Cast:

Dulquer Salmaan, Shabeer Kallarakkal, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Prasanna, Nyla Usha, Gokul Suresh, Shammi Thilakan, Chemban Vinod Jose, Saran Shakthi, Anikha Surendran, Shanthi Krishna

Release Date:

The film was released worldwide in theatres on 24th August 2023 in Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi & Kannada Languages.

King of Kotha (2023) Review: 

The story of the gangster drama "King of Kotha" starts with the arrival of Circle Inspector Shahul Hassan in Kotha, determined to put an end to the criminal activities plaguing the area. Tara (Aishwarya Lekshmi), who works at a bookstore and volunteers at the Kripa Rehabilitation Centre, along with a group of women, pays a visit to Shahul Hassan's home. They inform him about a drug racket wreaking havoc among the youth, masterminded by Kannan Bhai (Shabeer Kallarakkal).

Shahul Hassan, accompanied by SI Tony (Gokul Suresh) and ASI Janardhanan, confronts Kannan Bhai. In this encounter, Shahul Hassan faces humiliation and a physical assault. It's during this time that Shahul Hassan learns about Kotha Rajendran, also known as Raju Madrassi (Dulquer Salmaan), and decides to bring him back to Kotha to dismantle Kannan's criminal activities and drug empire.

A decade ago, Raju and Kannan were best friends. Raju, the son of Kotha Ravi (Shammi Thilakan), who was once a gangster but now works as a tailor, follows in his father's footsteps. However, his mother, Kotha Malathi (Shanthi Krishna), disapproves of his activities and constantly advises her daughter Rithu (Anikha Surendran) to stay away from Raju.

Ranjith Bhai (Chemban Vinod Jose), a gangster from Gandhigram, attempts to smuggle drugs into Kotha, but Raju opposes this. Raju is in love with Tara, who despises drugs due to her brother's tragic addiction. Kannan decides to betray Raju and joins forces with Ranjith Bhai to traffic drugs.

Subsequently, Kannan kills Ranjith Bhai and marries his widow, Manju (Nyla Usha). Kannan's brother-in-law, Jinu (Saran Shakthi), is in love with Rithu. However, when Rithu discovers Jinu's involvement in the drug trade, she severs ties with him. In an attempt to harm Rithu, Jinu is killed by Raju. Can Raju successfully put an end to Kannan's drug operation in Kotha?

Dulquer Salmaan shines as the heart and soul of "King of Kotha." Every scene featuring him is masterfully executed by the debutant director Abhilash Joshiy. Salmaan's outstanding performance, combined with solid punchlines and charismatic swagger, makes this one of his career-best roles.

Shabeer Kallarakkal's portrayal of Kannan Bhai is convincing throughout the film. His ruthlessness, love for Manju, and ambition to dominate Kotha are clearly depicted and commendable. Aishwarya Lekshmi, as Tara, performs well, although her character deserves more screen time. The chemistry between Raju and Tara could have been more impactful.

Nyla Usha, in the role of Manju, makes a decent contribution to the film. Prasanna as CI Shahul Hassan, Gokul Suresh as SI Tony, Chemban Vinod Jose as Ranjith Bhai, and Shammi Thilakan as Kotha Ravi all provide noteworthy performances.

The film's runtime feels stretched by 15-20 minutes, and with sharper editing by Uma Sankar Satapathy, this issue could have been resolved. While the music composition by Jakes Bejoy and Shaan Rahman appears ordinary, Jakes Bejoy's background score is impressive. Nimish Ravi deserves recognition for his brilliant cinematography.

The narrative of "King of Kotha" weaves in subplots, including Raju's love story with Tara, Raju and Kannan's friendship, and Raju's relationship with his family. Each subplot is effectively presented in the film, though the overall writing by Abhilash N. Chandran could have been stronger.

Final Words:

The movie King of Kotha stands out from other gangster dramas, primarily due to its brilliant execution, action sequences, and Dulquer Salmaan's powerful portrayal. It's an enjoyable watch.


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