Kaalakaandi review: Black humour hard sold
The plot unravels like the pages of a thriller, but the humour seems laboured
Friday 12 January 2018
Saif Ali Khan, Sobhita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi, Isha Talwar, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Shenaz Treasurywala, Amyra Dastur, Neil Bhoopalam, Shivam Patil
The title is Marathi slang -- Kaala-Kaandi. It means, something that is not being done in the right manner or is horribly wrong. And as the title suggests, right from the first frame, we are reminded that nothing can go right for its characters.
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What makes Kaalakaandi interesting, though, is its dark comedy, easy to relate situations and characters. It is one of the easiest films to love and one of the hardest to think of as a work of art. It approaches the notion of pure filmmaking as entertainment; it is a nearly flawless example of- itself.
It lacks, a lesson or message and is content to show three sets of people facing a series of interlocking challenges they face one night.
Set in Mumbai, with a variety of quirky, pseudo characters awake after midnight, it reflects the unpredictable life in the city. But, they seldom find themselves intertwined in a bizarre series of coincidences.
Boldly told, what happens to the characters apart from the nightmarish and bizarre nature of their experiences can only be described as screwball logic.
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While the plot unravels like the pages of a thriller, the humour seems laboured. You witness this in the first scene and in the climax.
In the opening scene Saif Ali Khan is in his doctor's clinic where his doctor sugar coats his diagnosis with, "You do not suffer from ulcers, hence you don't have perforating ulcers. Instead you suffer from stomach cancer."
For a person who never experienced the excesses of life, this unpleasant bit of news hits like a ton of bricks. So when he returns home, where the wedding preparation of his younger brother Angad (Akshay Oberoi) is under-way, he sips alcohol and tries a narcotic substance. This sets the ball rolling for a roller-coaster cinematic experience.
In the second situation, Zubin (Kunal Roy Kapur) is in low spirits because his girlfriend is migrating to America. Just before her flight, as a farewell gesture and to celebrate the birthday of their friend Ann (Shenaz Treasurywala), they land up at a pub which predictably gets raided. How they escape from the clutches of the police and what fate has in store for them, forms the crux of their story.
In the third narrative, Vijay Raaz and Deepak Dobriyal, work as flunkies for the local gangster. After collecting the protection money from a film producer, how greed overcomes them, forms the crux of their fate.
What keeps the quirky characters afloat are the spunky, rustic dialogues that are gags by themselves. For instance, when Angad asks his older brother about his sexual preference, Saif in his typical style blurts out, "Madame Curie, curious," he asks this after Saif's escapades with a transgender. The dialogues between Saif and the transvestite also bear testimony to this.
On the performance front all actors have put their heart and soul into their characters and they shine on screen. Unfortunately the characters are two-dimensional and cardboard thin. Of the supporting cast, Sobhita Dhulipala as Zubin's girlfriend, Amyra Dastur as Neha -- Angad's fiance, Isha Talwar as the wedding photographer and Saif's love interest, Treasurywala as Ann along with Shivam Patil as her boyfriend Jason who calls himself "Jehangir Jehangir" have their moments of on screen glory.
Overall with good production quality, debutant director Akshat Verma's attempt at this noir comedy is engaging but it goes without saying that the script material tries to sell itself a little too hard.
Kaalakaandi review: 2 1/2 stars
Reactions from Social Media:
Shruti Seth @SethShruti
Just watched #Kaalakaandi
An absolute treat of bizarre humour, black comedy and incredible performances by the entire cast. Big shout out to the writer and director #AkshatVerma
Rohit Khilnani @rohitkhilnani
Watched #Kaalakaandi at a pvt screening yesterday. It's hilarious!! Killer dialogues!! #SaifAliKhan #DeepakDobriyal #VijayRaaz @sobhitaD & all the actors are outstanding! Good one #AkshatVerma @ashidua_fue
Danish Aslam @dan1shaslam
It's always amazing to see #SaifAliKhan let loose, and @KaalakaandiFilm is the perfect playground. #AkshatVerma, this has been a long time coming & totally worth the wait. And @Akshay0beroi, your choice of projects remains impeccable. Congratulations, all! #Kaalakaandi
Gauravv K Chawla @gauravvkchawla
#Kaalakaandi is MAD FUN! The 'Trip' begins & you'll be on a ride! surprisingly poignant moments will bring a smile! #SaifAliKhan is TOP CLASS! @deepakdobriyal stellar as always! KunalRoyKapoor ShobitaDhulipale & the rest of the cast - all perfect! Loved it! AkshatVerma respect
Kriti Tulsiani @sleepingpsyche2
So. #Kaalakaandi is about one night in Bombay wherein four different narratives continue to unfold. Each has its moments!
#Kaalakaandi @DMmovies The Trailer of the movie was more promising than the movie itself..the movie takes a lot of time to make a grip on the audience
#QuickReview #Kaalakaandi at least 1921 gets an excuse that multiplexes aren’t showing their film. what excuse is there for this asinine film?
Karthik Shankar @kookykarthik
#Kaalakaandi is bizarre in a way I wish more Bollywood films were but it's also an American Born Confused Desi mess that vacillates between unsuccessfully between its Coen Brothers influences and Bollywood masala.
Tarika Khattar @tarikakhattar
#Kaalakaandi Brave. Real. Brilliant. Haven't seen any Hindi film quite like it. So proud of @cinestaanfilmco for backing a film like this. And Akshat Verma, take a bow!
Chetna Kapoor @chetnak92
Some interesting life lessons by #SaifAliKhan in #Kaalakaandi
And here's a shout out to @sobhitaD, variety of emotions expressed well.
SULTAN KHAN @moviefanatic6
#Kaalakaandi .. Yet another awesome.. quirky... Witty Movie from Chota Nawab .... #SaifAliKhan is fantastic skilled & versatile actor .. Never fails to entertain ! A Must watch Movie