Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday, Jaideep Ahlawat, Swanand Kirkire, Vedant Desai, Deshna Dugad
The English idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" is a metaphorical phrase that means one shouldn't prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone. Well, the same applies to Ishaan Khattar and Ananya Panday's desi rom-com 'Khaali Peeli', based on the drop back of Mumbai that takes you on the road journey to Uttar Pradesh. With Mumbaikar accent and the lifestyle will surely bring a smile to your face. After getting negativity over the film's song, 'Khaali Peeli' was already in trouble but fortunately, the storyline hooks up on its promise and becomes the Masaledar film of the year.
'Khaali Peeli' story begins in Shivpur where Vijay Chauhan (Ishaan Khattar) and his father (Anup Sonii) decide to loot a jewelry shop, however, the police get to know about the same. They aren't able to catch him and Vijay quickly plans to escape the city by boarding a train and reaching Mumbai. After being in the city of dreams, Vijay becomes 'Blackie' and starts working with Yusuf (Jaideep Ahlawat), where he meets Pooja (Ananya Panday) at a very young age. With the flow of time, they became good friends and their liking grew towards each other.
Yusuf deals in human trafficking with his 'Khala' (Vaishali Thakkar) for different clients. One of their clients is Choksi Seth (Swanand Kirkire) a middle-aged man, who falls for 8 years old girl Pooja and expresses his wishes to marry her when she will turn 18 with Yusuf and also promises to be his guardian till that time. But when Yusuf gets to know about Blackie and Pooja's affection, he starts threatening Blackie to stay away from Pooja and even after Yusuf's warning Blackie still remains close to her. Finally, Yusuf asks Blackie to kill Pooja and to avoid the circumstances, Blackie runs away leaving Pooja behind.
Cut to several years later, and Blackie is now a taxi driver on a not-so-busy night, he meets 'runaway bride' Pooja with a stolen money bag, who seeks his help to run away from getting married to Choksi Seth. He agrees to drive her to freedom, in exchange for a hefty amount. This leads to a series of chase and escapes with the goons and cops on Pooja's and Blackie trail. What happens then leads to a series of chase and escape in the story.
This time Ali Abbas Zafar has left the Yash Raj banner and became an independent producer for Khaali Peeli and with a director partner like Maqbool Khan, he serves the masala entertainment of the year for the audience. More about the direction part then Maqbool Khan has sharply presented the cat and mouse chase with interesting oscillating timelines. Where he grabs the audience's attention while continuously shifts from parts to present and fascinatingly he presents the simplest story in a spellbinding manner. Maqbool direction spreads superbly on the screen when Blackie ditches Pooja and runs away, his conversation with Yusuf's goon was damn interesting as it mixes two different places in one frame. Some of the action shots are quite interesting as it takes you back in the '70s and 80's time.
Writer Sima Agarwal, Yash Keswani, Saikumar Reddy, Rahul Sankrityan have jointly presented a Masala film and perfectly wrote each scene. Although the story is simple but adding touches of humor and the addition of chasing scenes is enthralling. Adil Afsar's cinematography is commendable, the colors and his camera and light crews work on a film is captivating.
More about the cast performances then Ishaan Khattar has performed the role of blackie terrifically and adapts the Mumbai accent perfectly. Majid Majidi who brings the brighter side of Ishaan in his film 'Beyond the clouds' is proved with Khaali Peeli that Ishaan can hold any role and accent which looks so real on the screen. On the other side, Ananya Panday as Pooja is also a good charm to watch, her expression is also suited to the flow of the film. A bright star who shines in the film is none-other than Jaideep Ahlawat, after the success of 'Paatal Lok', finally, filmmakers are getting aware of the actor's acting ability. His role is strong and powerful but Jaideep's acting chops make his role more vigorous in the film. Apart from him, Swanand Kirkire will make you laugh in the film and Satish Kaushik is a surprising element who is full-on a laughter riot in Inspector Bhim's role is quite a delight to watch. Vedant Desai and Deshna Dugad as young blackie and young Pooja are too innocent with their performances. Anup Soni also did justice with the role of blackie father.
Rameshwar S. Bhagat has also edited the film sharply and didn't give a chance for the audience to get bored although, in this unbelievable film, some scenes were beyond the imagination and at last, it is a masala entertainment.
Music by Vishal-Shekhar, Sanchit Balhara is good for a music album and they hardly contributed any good aspects for the film. However, it's good to watch it digitally as you can skip the songs whenever you want. Already before the release, the songs were chopped by Censor Board, and there is nothing left to talk about.
All in all, 'Khaali Peeli' is a masala entertainment and a must-watch if you like the Bollywood romantic-drama genre. Maqbool has helmed the direction part perfectly, now with 'Khaali Peeli', people are getting aware of his work. Overall, Ishaan Khattar and Ananya Panday starrer 'Khaali Peeli' is a delight to watch only for those who love masala Bollywood films and it is their first- time pairing up for a film, bringing more freshness on the screen. So watch this popcorn entertainment on ZEE Plex or if you are in Bengaluru or Gurugram then watch in your nearby drive-in theatres.