People who were complaining that they have become tired of toxic Vijay Varma characters will be delighted to know that he plays a harmless, innocent man in Kaalkoot. He is Ravi Shankar Tripathi, a meek sub-inspector who gets tired of the police force within three months of his posting. His work environment is too toxic for him, as everyone regularly teases him. Ravi is fed up with his colleagues, so much so that he submits his resignation letter to another colleague (Yashpal Sharma), who doesn't forward the letter to the superior officer. What's more, Ravi never wanted to join the police force. He prepared for many competitive exams but couldn't clear them. He is...stuck.
He's also a bit incompetent. I am not just thinking of that scene where Ravi - very unprofessionally - loses his composure in front of an acid attack victim. The series displays his shakiness (quite literally) in that scene where he slowly and unsteadily climbs a ladder to clean bird shit. Well, he neither fully climbs the ladder nor cleans the shit. You can interpret all this as "He's not completely dedicated to his profession and doesn't do his tasks properly." When a video of a politician is leaked, Ravi proceeds with the investigation without even watching the clip. Moreover, he arrests someone who wants to expose criminals like that politician who think they can get away with anything. Ravi, however, isn't concerned with what's wrong and what's right. He just wants to quit his job as quickly as possible.
Let's go back to that ladder scene. It's not the only moment here that contains subtext. When a boy talks about Ravi's father and how much he admired him, the series tells us that Ravi hasn't earned even half of the respect given to his father, and I am sure he will actually be applauded for his actions eventually. It will be part of his arc thing. The ride the first two episodes of Kaalkoot offer is bumpy. Director Sumit Saxena isn't always able to match the tone with his intentions properly. For instance, a joke about the muteness of an acid attack victim perhaps wants to convey how the men don't take such matters seriously (the police station, after all, has many reported and unsolved cases of crimes related to women), but the tone here exists in the zone of comedy. The series wants you to laugh at the comment and doesn't look at it critically. Hence, it all feels icky. A female speaker says it's inappropriate to cuss in front of a woman, and a few minutes later, a policeman utters an abuse in front of everyone. Again, we experience a discomforting sensation.
The camera sometimes swiftly zooms in on someone, a la The Office, and sometimes it moves disorientingly. This style is distracting and comes across as a decoration inserted to make things "cool" and "appealing." Near the end of the second episode, Ravi gives a speech about how alcohol alone cannot prove that a woman is a prostitute, and then, a woman - who had whiskey in her purse - is found to be, well, a prostitute. I guess it will all turn out to be fake later, but for now, the scene so desperately tries to subvert our (and Ravi's) expectations that it comes across as shallow and superficially clever. All you see is Saxena high-fiving himself after showing us Parul's (Shweta Tripathi) profile. He merely builds intrigue, and I don't know how the payoff will be. I am as much in the dark as Ravi.
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