Killa: Probably the best Marathi film you’ll see this year

Do you remember yourself at age 11? Do you remember how you made friends? Do you remember how you tried to cope with teachers who just made you wonder if growing up was really worth it?

The first time that we experience the complexity of our own emotions in life, it can be a bit much… But as we grow up we learn to handle betrayal, rejection, anger etc in our own ways. It never affects us like it did the first time… The first time you experience these emotions, it is usually because of someone we love dearly – a friend, a parent, a sibling…

Avinash Arun’s Killa which released yesterday, tells you a story that unravels all that insulation that life helped you build around your heart. You experience the anger, humiliation, betrayal, alienation exactly the way you did in your younger years.

Chinmay Kale has moved into a town in Konkan… There are coconut plantations, lakes, long and winding roads, thatched roof houses and there is a fort – a Killa. Chinmay’s mother, a government officer, has been transferred to this town from Pune. There are awkward silences between the mother and son which the mother tries to fill with mundane conversations. The loss of her husband has left her in charge – she is a single parent. Chinmay attempts to make friends at school but he runs back to write to his cousin back in Pune, he rebels against his mom, but every now and then, he tries to scratch the surface to find out what’s going on with his mom. The mother tries hard to adjust to a brand new work environment but isn’t quite vocal about it… They both, simultaneously, struggle to belong, to blend in.

All this against the backdrop of the magnificent Konkan landscape, shot beautifully by Avinash Arun himself. The beauty of Avinash Arun’s storytelling lies in the fact that the silences of the film are far more poignant & telling than the dialogue. (Many a ‘celebrated’ Marathi filmmakers could take a leaf out of Avinash’s book there). In those silences, the film connects with the audience…

Amruta Subhash, a gifted actor, brings out her character’s strengths & vulnerability beautifully. Archit Devdhar becomes the character he plays — Chinmay Kale. And of course, Parth Bhalerao’s Bandya brings much needed giggles to this very emotional, melancholic film.

With the authenticity of performances and the beautiful camerawork, I lost myself in the world of Killa. Killa took me back to my own childhood in more ways than one…  It left me feeling worried about school the next day and it left me feeling excited about my annual Konkan roadtrip with my late grandfather – both things a part of the distant past…

Go watch this beautiful, emotional film. It’s worth every second of your time!

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