Review: Kahaani

Sujoy Ghosh’s earlier movies include Jhankaar Beats, Home Delivery, Alladdin and others. Kahaani is his latest movie. It is by and large a crime thriller with a female protaganist, something doesn’t happen often. The feel of the movie is something again that we don’t get to see quite often. The movie largely escapes standard stereotypes that one usually comes across but falls victim to a few others sometimes.

It’s a gripping tale told with such simple crispness that dull moments are not allowed, neither by the support cast, nor by the screenplay, nor the cinematography. Everything holds up tight. There is some inspired casting choices that are to be enjoyed. Parambroto Chatterjee manages to bring to the forefront everything that his character is, Nawazuddin Siddiqui shines as Khan, so does the other police officer, the contract killer and many such characters littered liberally throughout the movie.

There are many images of urban India that we get to see. Images that can satisfy hungry eyes. Not as poetically as in  ‘Aamir’ (directed by Raj Kumar Gupta) but still, images that are good to see.

The questions of the movie are very direct, with clear answers. It doesn’t delve into the human condition, or the larger emotional graphs with any detail. Relying on the twists of the plot, the unravelling of the crime to the most part. There are references to Durga as the divine avenger but the parallel is sketchy and superficial at best. As such the feeling that one comes out with is that of having a read a very thorough crime novel. One also comes out of the movie hall feeling a little bit of a fool, because finally we are the only ones being taken for a ride. I wonder how it would have been with the the plot points already explained in the first ten minutes. Would it then have meant we could see some delicious cinema moments (the kinds one gets to see in a Vishal Bharadwaj or a Tigmanshu Dhulia movie, taking only from the current lot from Mumbai). I wonder.

There have been some movies earlier that could be grouped as belonging to the genre. Especially Sriram Raghavan’s movies (Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar) and also Aamir. I have to say I would rate Johnny Gaddar and Aamir above Kahaani. But nonetheless Kahaani does an admirable job of getting it all together and providing a good time at the theatre.

There is hardly anything to complain about Vidya Balan, be it her movie choices or her performances. One hopes she continues to get the interesting fare on her palette and that she continues to make a competent job of it.

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