DSP Dheeraj (Karthi) is an honest police officer who keeps getting transferred due to his sincerity. When he's handed a case that involves brutal dacoit killings, it changes his life.
DSP Dheeraj (Karthi) and the love of his life, wife Priya (Rakul Preet Singh), lead a happy and laidback life. He's a sincere police officer who's ruthless to criminals, and it is this attitude that keeps getting him transferred. The only sunshine in his life is Priya, a homemaker, who tags along with him wherever he's transferred to and by now is used to him prioritising his work over family life.
After his latest transfer, he comes across a file that involves a group of 17 dacoits looting and killing people in a violent manner. With the thugs leaving only their fingerprints behind as evidence, Dheeraj becomes embroiled in the case, hell-bent on capturing the criminals led by Omveer Singh/Oma (Abhimanyu Singh).
The band of dacoits showcased in the film is ruthless in its killings, a fact that's established even before the opening credits finish rolling. Inspired by the notorious Thuggee gang that plagued India for more than 450 years, the dacoits led by a tremble-inducing Oma, prefer to loot houses right along the highways. The ways the killings are carried out remind one of the Dandupalya gang, but that is where the similarity ends. The dacoits led by Oma are smarter and much more calculated in the killings.
What sets 'Khakee' apart from other cop thrillers is not just its almost airtight screenplay that relies on brain more than brawn, but also the fact that the film is well-researched, especially about how dacoit gangs operate. The way the film is shot is remarkable too, with no songs (except for one special number) interrupting the flow of the film. The way the film portrays the plight of the police department and those officers who choose to put their duty over personal highs and lows is also worth mentioning.
The film, despite its long run time, runs at a pace that makes it hard for one to look away. It is only in the second half that the film gets progressively draggy towards the end. Despite having a love track in the midst of a high-octane cop drama, the director manages to reel it back right when it begins to test the audience's patience. Then again, Karthi and Rakul are so adorable on-screen, it's hard to complain!
Karthi is stupendous in his role as the protagonist cop who will not rest until he nabs the criminals and brings the killings to a halt. He will also travel all over the country to do so, if need be. Rakul Preet is beautiful in her role, making it hard not to fall in love with her. While most heroines these days exist in South Indian films for the sake of it, Rakul bags good screen time, at least for a portion of the film. Abhimanyu Singh is stunning in his role of Oma, subtle in his menace without being over-the-top crazy.
It is clearly evident on screen, the amount of thought, research and hard work that went into 'Khakee', offering a refreshing change from mindless dramas. There are no needless hero elevation scenes and no preachy dialogues. By the end of the film, one is left invested in the characters; indeed a hard fete to carry out these days. Ghibran's score is also worth a mention, for keeping the viewer as engaged as the screenplay does.
If you're looking for an out-and-out cop thriller, go watch this one. You will not regret it!