Sunday, March 11, 2012

Movie Review : Kahanni ( Vidya's Again Box Office Hit Movie )

Kahaani Reviews,Vidya balan in Kahaani Movie , Kahaani Movie wallpapers

The concept behind a jigsaw puzzle is most fascinating. Its three-step model involves drawing an intricate picture laden with buried details and fine clues, cutting it into several unrecognizable segments and assembling a jumble that carries a seemingly simple challenge — to fall in place, to make sense.
Suspense thrillers are just the same. But very few films belonging to this genre are able to fit the right piece in the right place. And that’s what makes Sujoy Ghosh’s accomplishment in Kahaani worth all the applause that comes its way.

He builds anticipation and tension without relying too much on the age-old ploy of red herrings or an overwhelming background score. It’s as though he wants his viewer to follow the cues, solve the conundrum on a personal level and entertain every conceivable theory/ wild suggestion that pops in the head. Gratifying, if you nail it and astounding even when you don’t. Either way his refreshing approach is appreciative of his viewer’s intellect and enthusiasm.

When Kahaani begins, you are left wondering what is going on, but slowly you come to terms with the characters and whatever they are going through. From the cab driver who drives ‘Bidda Bagchi’ from the airport to the police station, to the child who plays the ‘running hot water supplier’, each has a special and a significant place. It would be a grave mistake to assume that Kahaani is the story of a pregnant woman looking for her missing husband. It may seem like that at first and then, as you watch the film unfold, you realize that it is another story altogether.

What Dibakar Banerjee did to Delhi with his Khosla Ka Ghosla and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, Sujoy Ghosh does for Kolkata. It would be appropriate to say that Kahaani is an audio-visual representation of the real city as it actually is, though running as an undercurrent, and the fact that Vidya arrives there from London searching for her lost husband becomes almost a sub-plot. The unknown bylanes, unseen people, unheard sounds, regional quirks and Kolkata, in all its festive glory, presented in a way that makes it a breathing, living, secretive character that will never reveal its answers. 

Kahaani Reviews,Vidya balan in Kahaani Movie , Kahaani Movie wallpapers
The story is of one pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) who comes to Kolkata in search of her husband who was in India on an assignment but suddenly went missing. Not Bidaa, it is Vidya, with a V”. Vidya Bagchi, newly-arrived in Kolkata on a painful quest, comes up slam bang against the one intractable law that governs the city. No Vs, only Bs. No problem, the Bagchi part of her is a feisty B, and she’s here for some answers, and she’s not leaving till she gets them. 

Kahaani gives us not just a woman on the trail of a missing spouse, but a terrorist plot, data-crunching specialists, contract killers, evil moles and salt-of-the-earth guys. And it keeps us guessing, more or less, which, for a Bollywood thriller, is quite an achievement, even if the terrorist angle turns out to have faintly ludicrous edges. In the first place, Hindi cinema doesn’t really attempt fast-paced thrillers with quite these ingredients, and when it does, they turn out clunky if not plain terrible. If Kahaani had managed to keep the edge of suspense as sharp in the second-half, which falls prey to a few improbable plot contrivances and some gratingly explanatory scenes, it would have been very good indeed. But, despite the hiccups, it remains truly engaging and indulging.

The heavily-pregnant Vidya’s (Balan) first stop is a police station, where her missing person report is met with a mix of scepticism and indifference, universal to cop stations around the world, and a special Kolkata stamp of deference to women, especially those ‘in her condition’. With a taken-in-with-her young cop Bhalo Naam Satyuki, Daak Naam Rana (Parambrata) in tow, she traverses the city, and we go along with her, getting to see Kolkata through her eyes, alternating in rapid-fire snapshots, and in slower moments, till everything speeds up for a fiery, Pujo-soaked climax.

There is little that the cops can do since they are unable to trace any records of her husband in the guest house, office or even airport immigration. Things take a drastic turn when Vidya learns that her husband had a lookalike and perhaps that could get him closer to her search. But soon her personal quest turns into a political conspiracy.

Kahaani Reviews,Vidya balan in Kahaani Movie , Kahaani Movie wallpapers
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. That seems to be the underlying theme of Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani’. And what a film it is. The edge of the seat thriller was being touted as the next big release for Vidya Balan post her ‘The Dirty Picture’ success. And it doesn’t disappoint one bit. The film, which was in the making for quite a few years, couldn’t have had a better release time. Especially when the entire nation is still hung over with Vidya’s dirty act. A stark contrast to her Silk avatar, Vidya portrays the role of Vidya Bagchi, a heavily pregnant NRI woman who comes to Kolkata in search of her missing husband. The backdrop is of a city, which is bustling with activities prior to the grand Durga Puja festival..

Ghosh crafts a tale of devious dynamics that do not make a song and dance of their cloak-and-dagger intentions. The narrative doesn`t whip up a lather of anxieties. Stock devices of the suspense genre are here thrown meaningfully into the Hooghly.  Though Kahaani gets to the point from the very start, the actual graph in the narrative ascends when Vidya’s individual search for her husband takes a bureaucratic twist, with the intelligence department coming into picture. The local affair suddenly turns into a governmental concern.

Much of the credit for Kahaani’s appeal belongs to the fact that all the while you, as audience, have been told that the film is about a pregnant woman trying to find her husband who has suddenly gone missing. It is not. Thanks to a powerhouse performance by Vidya, you root for her character right through the first half, feeling bad for her, wanting to be there for her, egging her on to succeed in her quest, feeling nervous for her and, at the same time, appreciating her courage. The second half of the film changes it all; from being the sob-story of a helpless pregnant woman, it turns into a beast of a thriller.

Even if you have not been to Kolkata, it comes alive in Kahaani. There are subtle and touching tributes to Satyajit Ray, RD Burman and Amitabh Bachchan, and the montages and the fashion in which Director of Photography Setu captures the city invite at least one visit, if not many more. The city itself is expertly shot by Satyajit Pandey, using the outsider’s eye of Balan’s character to capture Kolkata in all its multi-layered glory: from tawdry “zero star” guesthouses where the reception man can only guffaw at the idea of a computerized guest record to the immaculate old-fashioned charm of Park Street’s loveliest ‘continental’ restaurants. But what is truly remarkable is the effect that Ghosh and Pandey - and their clearly consummate editor Namrata Rao (Band Baaja Baraat, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Ishqiya) - have managed to achieve: to take the throbbing pulse of Kolkata’s everyday life and make of it a ticking time bomb. Whether we are wandering through the crumbling, run-down lanes of North Kolkata, past the near-touristy sight of Kumartuli’s sculptors creating their clay images of the goddess Durga, or entering the mad Puja festivities full of beating dhaks and ululating women, the city feels unerringly real and yet filled with menace.

The supporting cast is brilliant and ably supports Balan in each and every frame. A popular name in Bengali art house films, Parambrata Chatterjee gives a restrained and sensitive performance as the kind and friendly cop, Rana. He needs a special mention, as the actor manages to showcase different shades with ease that prove his caliber as a potential method actor. The emotional scenes between Vidya and Rana are top-notch, with some of the scenes hinting at a romance. The director does not deviate even once from the main story line. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is rude, harsh and portrays a character of a ruthless officer quite effortlessly. He is cold, clear, dirty and he knows what he wants. I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes the next big thing on the block. He had me floored during every shot. Darshan Jariwala is natural and the two boys at the guest house and tea stall help the story remain innate, leaving a beautiful mark.

It is also heartening to see other known faces of Bengali film industry playing some pivotal supporting roles. While Saswata Chatterjee’s psycho assassin acts are spine chilling, Kharaj Mukherjee’s podgy cop act brings a smile on your face.

You expect a good quality soundtrack from Kahaani. After all, it was Sujoy Ghosh and Vishal-Shekhar who had started it all with Jhankaar Beats and while the album grew on to be an anthem of sorts. For Kahaani though any such comparisons are futile since this one has a different milieu, setting and situation. However what you do expect to hear is a soundtrack that won’t compromise on the sound and would stay true to the film’s theme. After “dilli” from no one killed Jessica , Kolkata now has an anthem. Aami shotti bolchi. And Amitabh”s ekala cholo re; is truly heart melting and inspiring.

Of course, Kahaani has its share of flaws - a trigger-happy, life insurance agent, portions in the first half when you wonder why a cop would help a random NRI woman and behave as if he were her aide or some such. The finale justifies it all, and makes you marvel at the talent of the filmmaker. The story and narrative is so brilliant that one wonders why Sujoy Ghosh’s last two outings were so out of place and obscure. Here is a director who very cleverly weaves a story in a simple, uncomplicated city, which is known for its revelry and pureness. Kolkata, its streets, its people, its culture - all are beautifully included in the film. 

Vidya balan is truly the hero of Kahaani’, hands down. What a fright. Her eyes dive into the Kolkata night. Grace, poised, sorted.

And the city stares right back with its chrome yellow colors; the Howrah Bridge is glimpsed through a local train; the Victoria Memorial whizzes by; sleaze is on 24 x7 at the unsmiling Mona Lisa Lodge. The City of Joy is undoubtedly the muse of the film. She’s the silent heroine with its charm, beauty and adolescent warmth.

Throughout you watch Kolkata, quite bedazzled, A work of outstanding vignettes, consistently brisk tempo and technical virtuosity, it’s the best two hours you’ve spent at the movies in years. Watch the film purely for the story. Watch it for the beautiful Kolkata, which comes alive on screen. And yes Vidya is an added bonus. After a brilliant Paan Singh Tomar last week, ‘Kahaani’ raises the bar. Clearly, Bollywood is all set to spoil us with good cinema.

The movie is definitely worth watching. A real paisa vasool.. Aami Shotti Bolchi.

Rating: 4.5 / 5  according to


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Olya Olegovna said...

great) liked everything very much) keep it up and dont stop)viewster

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