Illegal immigration/human trafficking is a global issue. We've read newspapers and watched news-reports on news channels highlighting the plight of millions of people who, in the hope for a better future, entry a country illegally.
Some get arrested, some get killed, some end up at the wrong place, some go missing, some eventually make it. KAAFILA, directed by Amitoj Maan, bares this issue on celluloid, besides clubbing a real-life, shocking incident [Malta Boat Tragedy] with the main plotline.
In KAAFILA, the story begins in Delhi, moves to Russia, then the surrounding nations, then Afghanistan and finally, Pakistan, before returning to India once again. Besides presenting the stunning landscapes, KAAFILA also looks at the various hardships people encounter when they decide to enter England unlawfully.
Not wanting to turn it into a dry, grim and disturbing movie, Amitoj Maan packs in songs and glamour to strike the right balance between enlightenment and entertainment. And that's where KAAFILA falters.
The portions depicting reality are watchable since the issue hasn't been highlighted in detail on the Hindi screen. But the romantic track [Sunny - Polina and Amitoj - Monalisa] stands out like a sore thumb. Also, the narrative tends to get lengthy in the second hour as the kaafila moves aimlessly from one country to another. A shorter duration would've only helped.
To sum up, KAAFILA is watchable in parts. The issue it highlights is its USP, but the writing as well as the length could've been controlled.
KAAFILA is about a group of people, not remotely associated/connected with each other, opting to leave their motherland in search of their utopian dreams of a better life abroad in the developed countries. These people put their careers, families and even lives at stake to reach their desired destinations even when they can be better off in their own countries without all the hardships and sufferings.
KAAFILA also exposes how innocent people are duped by a worldwide nexus of agents showing them dreams of a comfortable life, close to heaven, in foreign lands and making them sell their lands, homes and livelihoods here in a futile pursuit of that dream.
The general feeling is, KAAFILA is about the Malta Boat Tragedy, while the fact is that the boat tragedy forms a small, but significant part of the story. In fact, the tragedy is depicted realistically and since it features in the initial reels, you expect the graph of the film only to go higher and higher.
But the writing could've been tighter. As pointed out at the outset, the romantic track of Sunny - Polina and Amitoj - Monalisa doesn't work. The Russian mafia track is also not convincing.
Director Amitoj Maan has handled a few scenes well, but he should trim the film judiciously in the latter half. Sukhwinder's music is easy on the ear drums. 'Jaana Hain' and 'Humraks' are already popular. Cinematography [Nazir Khan] is of standard and the stunning landscapes sweep you off your feet. Action scenes [Hanif Sheikh] are alright. Varun Gautam's dialogues are nice.
Sunny Deol does well. Amitoj Maan dominates in a few scenes. But the real surprise is Pakistani actress Sana. This being her debut-making Hindi film and despite the fact that she's pitted against experienced names, Sana succeeds in making her presence felt. Sudesh Berry does well.
The film has a host of characters, but those who stand out are Paramveer Singh, Girish Jain, Chandan Anand, Sardar Sohi and Ashish Duggal.
On the whole, KAAFILA is made with noble intentions, but is partly letdown due to its writing and length. Fair.