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This wild dog looks a better bet than Kuttey – Beyond Bollywood

Actor, producer Anshuman Jha’s action drama holds more promise than the competitor release.

Anshuman Jha in Lakadbaggha [2023]

By Mayur Lookhar

Adipurush being pushed to June had opened opportunities for other films to cash in on the largely uncontested window in early 2023. Vishal Bhardwaj has lined up his son Aasmaan’s maiden directorial, the black comedy Kuttey for a theatrical release on 13 January.  A humble film titled Lakadbaggha is also releasing on the same day.  One Kuttey [dog], the other Lakadbaggha [hyena]. Phew, who prepares the theatrical line-up?

Save for the Canis lupus titles, both films are poles apart. Kuttey is a black action-comedy featuring bad ass characters. It boasts of an impressive cast comprising of Arjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Tabu, Radhika Madan, Konkana Sen Sharma. 

Lakadbaggha is appropriately titled as the prime plot revolves around a hyena. Anand Bakshi [Anshuman Jha] is a humble martial arts teacher who has affection for animals. He is a vigilante for the strays whenever any insensitive human tries to harm the mammals. The search for his missing dog Shonku leads him to finding a hyena. Soon our guy learns of the illegal animal trafficking racket in the state. The director Victor Mukherjee is out to expose the illegal animal trade to Middle East. Isn’t China also notorious for such smuggling?

Interestingly, the story idea came from a personal experience. Years ago, a security guard had passed a hyena cub to Anshuman’s brother. The Allahabad [now Prayagraj] boys brought it home thinking it to be a dog. Seven days later, the wild dog ripped open a fully grown Alsatian’s neck. The boys then had to return the hyena cub who was then sent back to the forest.

Ridhi Dogra plays a local Kolkata cop who then falls for Bakshi.  The illegal animal trade is being run in Kolkata by Paresh Pahuja’s character.  It sets the stage for a gripping vigilante, animal lover versus the cartel. 

Lakadbaggha seems to have to a fine story at its disposal. What’s evident from the trailer is the physical effort put in by Jha and even Ridhi Dogra, who makes her Bollywood debut. The action here is not OTT and looks genuine. Jha has roped in Ong Bak 2 [2008] action director Kecha Khamphakdee. If not the entire masses, we trust animal activists, good hearted souls to evince some interest in this human/animal interest film. Old hunk Milind Soman plays Jha’s father. He comes with his own following. 

Having seen the very profane Kuttey trailer yesterday, Lakadbaggha seems a better bet. After all, it is likely to attract family audiences more than Kuttey,which might get an A rating from the CBFC [Central Board of Film Certification].

Lakadbaggha may not have big stars, big banner, but it sure has a big heart and a promising story.

Watch the trailer below.

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