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Kaanchi review: Simplistic & old school

Movie:
Kaanchi
Director:
Subhash Ghai
Cast:
Mishti, Kartik Tiwari, Mithun Chakraborty, Rishi Kapoor, Rishab Sinha, Chandan Roy Sanyal
Avg user rating:

This is one of those films where the topic is more interesting than the film itself. The story explores the possibility of an ordinary person taking on the Goliaths of the world. In this case, the protagonist is rebellious mountain girl Kaanchi (Mishti) and the antagonist is a spurned lover, the son of a powerful politician.

The film begins with a police investigation with an unknown character and we flashback to the story (yes, the film uses that tired technique). Kaanchi was all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, but the son of a powerful politician (Rishabh Sinha) has his heart set on her. He fancies himself as an artist and far removed from the crimes of his father and uncle (Mithun Chakraborty and Rishi Kapoor), but, in the end, proves to be quite a surprise packet.

A few unfortunate incidents later, Kaanchi refuses to take everyone’s advice to forget and move on. She has revenge on her mind, and marches to Mumbai for her mission.

From then on, the film has as many arresting moments as there are laughingly simplistic ones. We see Kaanchi enter the enemy family home without bothering with a disguise. We see a politician’s secretary’s death being blamed on a foreign country (really laughable stuff, this).

But the film also touches us in showing is Kaanchi’s determination. Indeed, the only thing that holds you is Kaanchi’s character that makes for a very unique Bollywood film heroine. Feisty, rebellious and idealistic—you almost believe Kaanchi can take on the powerful enemy single-handedly.

Sadly, then on, the film takes over with one improbable development after the other. The songs are a huge let-down (disappointing music in a Subhash Ghai film would have been unthinkable a decade ago). The background score is unsubtle and the blatant usage of patriotic songs is most annoying.

Editor-writer-director Subhash Ghai makes a film that’s badly muddled. Within the revenge story, he tries incorporating activism and faux patriotism. It’s all terribly jarring. Worse, he just scrapes the surface showing us the most stereotypical version of youth activism.

You almost forgive him for that lame appearance in a song, but while Ghai picks an interesting story, his execution is old-school and weak. Plus, he mistakes crowding the film with item numbers for entertainment.

The performances vary. It’s hard to decipher debutante Mishti’s performance. She appears expressionless at times, and delivers an effective monologue at others. Still, it’s a difficult role for a newbie, and she’s intermittently effective.

Mithun Chakraborty as an actor is clearly enjoying this phase in his career, and he’s very good as the scheming politician (reminding you of his devious act in 'Oh My God!'). Rishi Kapoor is fab as the flamboyant Casanova,wearing a shiny blue jacket, and cavorting with women. Rishabh Sinha does well. The scene-stealer is undoubtedly Chandan Roy Sanyal who plays a very interesting, grey character.

The film ends with (believe it or not) synchronized dancing. Yes, it’s that kind of a movie. But the film is not a total let-down. It has an interesting protagonist, an arresting story (sadly told in a simplistic fashion), and some effective moments. The gripe is this could have been a far, far better film. Too bad, really.

Rating: Two and a half stars

 

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