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Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

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Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

Old 03-03-24, 07:26 PM
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KILL (2024; India)

Planting this here for future discussion. I saw this at TIFF last September, where it earned a rousing response and very positive reviews. Bar none, it’s India’s most violent action movie ever, and that’s by design. The film’s influences are many, and have been or will be pointed out — JOHN WICK, THE RAID, TRAIN TO BUSAN (minus the zombies), whatever — and those are likewise by design. The producers very much wanted a piece of the Midnight Madness action that has largely eluded Indian cinema over the years apart from maybe this film (which was unique, but not especially memorable).

TIFF page: https://tiff.net/events/kill

Much was made about KILL being the film debut of ripped tough-guy leading man Laksh Lalwani, but according to IMDb, he’s been in other stuff, so I’m guessing this is just some kind of ‘reinvention’ PR to introduce him as a bad-ass. The real wild card in the film is an actor named Raghav Juyal who plays the charismatic psycho villain. Apparently he’s better known for comic and musical roles, but I could see this putting him on the radar of Hollywood’s Big Franchise producers for supporting roles that rope in his home audience (not unlike certain Thai and Indonesian stars in recent years).

This was picked up by Lionsgate in October (after Beyond Fest, I think) and they’ve been sitting on it ever since, presumably strategically when one considers Dev Patel’s MONKEY MAN seems to be generating some good ‘Indian guy kicks ass’ vibes, only with more pronounced noir-ish pretensions than KILL. The poster released so far (above) gives KILL a July 5 release date in India, but there’s no date for North America yet. Some PR stuff from that link above:

“American audiences have become more open than ever to bold filmmaking from all corners of the world. We were astounded by Kill and dazzled by the artistry of director Nikhil Nagesh Bhat,” said Lauren Bixby, SVP Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Lionsgate. “We’re confident that Kill will find an audience ready to delight in this film’s exuberant mayhem.”

In a joint statement, producers Karan Johar, Apoorva Mehta from Dharma Productions, and Guneet Monga Kapoor and Achin Jain from Sikhya Entertainment said: “It is a huge leap and moment for us to be joining hands with Lionsgate for our U.S. and UK theatrical releases. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the studio that’s behind the success of globally acclaimed cinematic masterpiece such as John Wick. This is a historic moment in Indian cinema and we’re elated to be creating a new milestone with our commercial Indian action thriller Kill, a never-before-seen genre film in India.”
And yes, as far as Indian action cinema goes, this is a ‘never-before-seen’ genre picture from there. India has been cranking out glossy, Big Action spectacles for ages, especially in recent years, but the producers of KILL saw the popularity lean, dark, ultra-violent action films from other countries and decided to go all-in on their first one.

There are no song and dance numbers. Just a small train full of passengers besieged by a band of 40 vicious thieves who don’t realize there’s an elite army commando (with multiple sets of ‘special skills’ and a friend) on board trying to gain the good graces of the wealthy family of the woman he loves before her arranged marriage in New Delhi. There’s plenty of action in the first 45 minutes of this movie, but nothing that really makes you think it’s much different from all of those other bigger-budgeted spectacles apart from a bigger emphasis on martial arts, but then the opening title finally appears on screen, and after that everybody just goes nuts, and the viciousness and gore are relentless until the end. One of the choreographers on the film, Oh Se-Young, was a stuntman and/or choreographer on a ton of great Korean action pictures, and some Indian and Vietnamese shows as well. He also worked on SNOWPIERCER, so he clearly brought that experience with fast-paced close-quarters combat to KILL, times ten.

I suspect this film could do alright internationally. Lionsgate and the Indian companies have done pretty well by hushing after the solid notices out of TIFF, so perhaps they’ll capitalize on the release of MONKEY MAN to get KILL on the radar.

I recorded this Q&A at the TIFF premiere. I can’t remember if there are spoilers — but the film DOES have some major twists, so it might be best avoided until you’ve seen the film.

Segment with the producers from a local news show here in September. They indulge in a little hyperbole, but they’re not wrong.

Last edited by Brian T; 03-12-24 at 01:29 PM.
Old 04-04-24, 02:27 PM
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Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

Only In Theaters July 4. Starring Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala and Raghav Juyal.

When army commando Amrit (Lakshya) finds out his true love Tulika (Tanya Maniktala) is engaged against her will, he boards a New Delhi-bound train in a daring quest to derail the arranged marriage. But when a gang of knife-wielding thieves led by the ruthless Fani (Raghav Juyal) begin to terrorize innocent passengers on his train, Amrit takes them on himself in a death-defying kill-spree to save those around him — turning what should have been a typical commute into an adrenaline-fueled thrill ride.

Wow, basically looks like the Indian version of The Raid. Looks pretty badass.

This was shown at TIFF in 2023. Lionsgate acquired the rights.
Old 04-04-24, 06:10 PM
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Re: Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

Finally! Further to my a comment in my original post, I’m now 100% convinced they went silent about this film until awareness of MONKEY MAN had peaked. If that one is successful, I’m sure the ad spend on this one might increase accordingly.

And yes, it’s very much owes a debt to THE RAID and a few other films (also noted in the first post). In the TIFF video above, the filmmakers happily own up to their influences, including that one, in acknowledging that they probably wouldn’t have broken out of the “Indian action movie” ghetto — i.e. films that have rarely gotten any traction internationally outside of diasporic communities — without more faithfully mimicking and/or ripping off better movies from elsewhere. This one absolutely has the potential to do that. The only problem will be whether their industry can supply more like it, or if they’ll mistakenly think that non-Indian audiences are suddenly primed for ‘regular’ Indian action movies, with all their singing and dancing and often bad-CGI-enhanced action sequences, and I think that will be a mistake. Guess we’ll see.

Incidentally, despite depicting almost non-stop violence and conflict, that trailer (wisely) barely suggests just how much of it is actually in the film itself, especially after the opening title comes on screen (see post #1).

Last edited by Brian T; 04-04-24 at 06:21 PM.
Old 04-07-24, 09:13 AM
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Re: Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

There are no song and dance numbers.
A Bollywood movie with no songs? I'll pass.
Old 04-07-24, 01:30 PM
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Re: Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

Definitely interested based on the posted trailer alone.

Hopefully it'll be screening in my area.
Old 04-07-24, 07:01 PM
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Re: Kill (2024) -- Indian action thriller

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum
A Bollywood movie with no songs? I'll pass.
I’m sure they still make plenty of those for folks who prefer them. Too many, probably! This kind of film is overdue in Indian cinema, though. It’s certainly not the first no-singing Indian movie, but it is one of seemingly few Indian action movies that jettisons all of the implausible and plot-stopping musical numbers in favour of (hopefully) reaching a wider audience with a simple, tight story. Coming on the heels of MONKEY MAN probably won’t hurt either. I think if KILL had even one scene of the hero and his lady bobbing out from behind a tree in joyous song, I wouldn’t have even bothered creating this thread!

When you think about it, traditional Bollywood movies have never truly crossed over, or had much influence on Hollywood (the way, say, Hong Kong or Japanese movies did). Sure, many people know of them, and adventurous souls have undoubtedly test-driven a few, but Indian films have never fully crossed-over — intact — the way cinema from some other countries have. For example, we’ve never seen American (or European) home video companies jumping on any kind of restoration-and-rerelease bandwagon the way they have for films from many other countries. I think there’s only so many three hour musical-(insert genre here) films you can watch before you realize they’re often as repetitive now as they were 30, 40 years ago, and increasingly, even depressingly representative of a country still mired in such abject poverty and corruption that sparkly cinematic bangles — even in the guise of bigger-budget action movies — are one of the few ‘escapes’ for a massive portion of the population, and perhaps a convenient distraction for a government (or series of governments) that seems incapable of or disinterested in bettering their lives in any meaningful way.

KILL doesn’t really get overtly political, per se, but it’s not entirely without subtext for those so inclined. I’m sure we’ve all seen images or footage down through the ages of trains in India and Bangladesh literally stuffed (and sometimes covered!) with people because it’s apparently the only way to travel for many there. As per the filmmakers, such conditions have long been fertile ground for pickpockets and increasingly coordinated ‘families’ of bandits for decades. The train in KILL Isn’t that bad, of course (maybe because it’s an overnight train?). It’s crowded, but not uncomfortably so, but as in real life it’s just a business-as-usual target for the 40 thieves who get on board. And instead of wasting time on puppy love dance numbers, both sides get down to business pretty quick, and if the film is successful — there or here — perhaps other Indian filmmakers will take opportunities to reach wider audiences (and I don’t mean the diaspora) by dropping or at least minimizing the one thing that has generally prevented that up until now while also shining a light on some darker aspects of the culture.

Last edited by Brian T; 04-07-24 at 07:49 PM.

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