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Director: Maqbool Khan

Starring: Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday, Jaideep Ahlawat

Written by: Sima Agarwal & Yash Keswani

KHAALI PEELI is the story of two youngsters on the run. Blackie (Ishaan Khatter) is a cab driver in Mumbai who drives the iconic kaali peeli cabs. One night, when there’s a cab driver strike going on, he comes across a pregnant lady who needs to get to the hospital. He agrees to help her and her husband out for 5000. While he is on his way, a few cab drivers catch him red handed and gang up on him. While trying to save himself from their attacks, he accidentally stabs one of the cabbies attacking him and decides to run away from Mumbai till things calm down. After this, he runs into Pooja (Ananya Panday). She has stayed in a brothel run by Yusuf (Jaideep Ahlawat) since she was a child. She had been “reserved” by one of Yusuf’s customers, Choksi Seth (Swanand Kirkire) when she was young and he wanted to marry her when she turned of age. This is the reason why Pooja has decided to run away and steals a lot of jewellery from Yusuf too. That’s when she comes across Blackie. Blackie agrees to drop her somewhere in the city, as she promises to pay him generously. Blackie realizes she has a lot of money in the bag and what’s cooking. He decides to hand her over to Yusuf’s goons who promise to give him more than double of what she has in her bag. The plan is put in motion and at that moment Blackie realizes that Pooja is the girl who is her first love and that they have a prior connection. What happens next forms the rest of the film.

The plot of this film is paper thin to say the least. The story is a rehash of a lot of films we have seen in the 70s, 80s and the 90s. The film takes a predictable route and you know what’s coming before it even happens. The scenes are certainly amped up but not one scene really manages to captivate you completely. Some elements of the film do make you smile but otherwise the film is consistently lacking.

Technically, the film is decent. Cinematography by Adil Afsar is good. Although, it could have been better but due to the mainstream appeal of the film, he faced limitations. Editing by Rameshwar S. Bhagat could have been slick and better. Writing could have been better, a lot of elements should have been changed. Music is a serious let down and no song is chartbuster worthy. You’d really think a film such as this would give out a great song, if not an album. The action is great and the production design and costume design seem spot on.

Performance wise, the film is good. Ishaan Khatter shines in the film. He has been limited by poor writing but he still shows how versatile he can be and is surely a talent to watch out for. Ananya Pandey looks good on screen and although she does better than her previous films, she still has a long way to go. Jaideep Ahlawat has also been seriously let down by poor writing. He usually has a lot to offer but here, there wasn’t much he could have done, but still he gives his best. The rest of the cast offer good support.

Director Maqbool Khan turns the dull script into a watchable film. His direction is neat and executes it to the best of his ability.

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