The rules of entertainment are altering rapidly. Moviegoers, in the present day, are diffident about a film wholly centered on grim societal subject matters. Nor are they enthused about a conventional mainstream motion picture. What works for the discerning spectator in the current scenario is an evenhanded permutation. So does KAHAANI encompass the all-important blend? Let's explore...
This is indeed a favorable moment for a Hindi movie heroine, unlike in times of yore. She is being looked up to as an actor with strengths, limitations, failures and accomplishments. She is geared up to conduct experiments, equipped to explore uncharted territories. This also goes for one of the most proficient actresses of our times, Vidya Balan. The famed actress has persistently ambled the untrodden path vis-a-vis her choice of movies, PAA, ISHQIYA, NO ONE KILLED JESSICA, THE DIRTY PICTURE and now KAHAANI...
Come to think of it, the Hindi film industry is branded for creating movies from a male perspective. The women's stories are not really exemplified conscientiously. But, out of the blue, the souk of women-centric flicks is fast turning out to be a bankable genre. KAHAANI is a commanding story, has an authoritative central character, has several dominant and thought-provoking moments, which makes it an all-persuasive film.
Vidya Bagchi [Vidya Balan] arrives in Kolkata from London to find her missing husband. Seven month pregnant and alone in a festive city, she begins a relentless search for her husband. With nothing to rely on, except fragments from her memories about him, all clues seem to reach a dead end when everyone tries to convince Vidya that her husband does not exist. She slowly realizes that nothing is what it seems. In a city soaked in lies, Vidya is determined to unravel the truth about her husband -- for herself and her unborn child, even at the cost her own life.
A woman on her way to be a motherâ€¦ it's the biggest changeover in the life of a lady. And when her spouse vanishes at this crucial juncture, how do you come to terms with the fact that he has gone missing? People you approach to seek help assert that there exists no such entity. But you are certain that this individual exists and that you are carrying the proof of his existence: his child. The concept is truly striking and attention-grabbing.
Sujoy, with the skills of a master storyteller, amalgamates a human story in a thriller format. There is a certain uninhibited genuineness in Sujoy's direction. Besides, the writing is outstanding [story: Sujoy Ghosh, Advaita Kala; additional screenplay: Suresh Nair, Nikhil Vyas]; one seldom witnesses such aptitude and deliberation to specifications. Without doubt, Sujoy gives it his best shot with gleaming sincerity. Positioned alongside an intimidating environment of Kolkata's tapered side streets and constricted alleyways, the setting is ahead of credence in its realism.
KAHAANI is a captivating recount from its commencement to conclusion. Sujoy has fashioned enough scenes around the plot that keep the viewer on the edge. Besides, fragments of tongue in cheek humor pop up when you least anticipate to liven up the solemn plot. Yet, the storyteller never deviates from the fundamental somber remise. His attempt in infusing drama and pace in the narrative makes the movie accessible to the mainstream spectators. Just one itsy bitsy snag: Had the culmination been lucidly elucidated in a more simplistic fashion for the common man to decipher, the film would have created an even stronger impact.
Vishal-Shekhar's music is addictive. The title track is akin to an excursion of the City of Joy, while Amitabh Bachchan's rendition of 'Ekla Cholo Re' is mesmeric. The cinematography is arresting. The DoP [Setu] captures the essence of Kolkata magnificently on celluloid.
Post THE DIRTY PICTURE, the admiration for the National Award winning actress Vidya has scaled woozy altitudes and let me affirm, the supremely talented actress delivers a performance that's at par with her former accomplishments. She, very nonchalantly, re-evaluates screen acting in KAHAANI. She arrives with yet another enlivening, commanding character in this film and her portrayal of an expecting, frantic lady on a mission to trace her husband's inexplicable vanishing in an unfamiliar land is sure to win laurels by assessors and cinegoers uniformly. This is indeed Vidya's most eye-catching act. Her body language, her confidence, her vulnerability, her fury, her grief, all fall upon wonderfully.
Parambrata Chattopadhyay, as Rana, is a revelation. What a tremendous actor. His sequences with Vidya are truly wonderful. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, as Khan, proves yet again that he's an exceptional performer. He makes a stunning impact. Dhritiman Chatterjee is, as always, efficient, Saswata Chatterjee is effective and Darshan Jariwala is perfect. Indraneil Sengupta is splendid in a challenging role. The two child actors [the boy at the lodge and the boy at the tea stall] are a complete natural.
On the whole, KAHAANI works big time because Vidya Balan makes it come alive. It is several notches above the stuff we've been subjected to in the past. The movie triumphs in evoking emotions. You experience compassion, resentment, defenselessness and triumph at a variety of stages. A wonderful movie-going experience, you come out feeling a sense of pride, pleasure and fulfillment after having watched KAHAANI. Just do not miss it. Hugely recommended!