Kedarnath review: Competently crafted but lacks soul
Though Sushant and Sara deliver their chops earnestly, their on-screen chemistry lacks charisma and the fault lies not with them, but the script
By: Troy Ribeiro/IANS
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Friday 7 December 2018
Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan, Nishant Dahiya, Nitish Bharadwaj, Pooja Gor, Alka Amin
Director Abhishek Kapoor's Kedarnath kind of wears its premise on its title. It is sensitive, competently crafted and appears genuinely regional in flavour.
It also brings together two opposing worlds of Indian cinema; the narrative of the traditional cinemas of the 70s and the modern technicalities of the 21st century. There are sequences that remind you of films like Waqt, Jai Santoshi Maa and Mother India.
Wasting absolutely no time, the director drops the viewers into the picturesque pilgrim town of Kedarnath and introduces us to the harmonious lives of its residents which consists of human-porters who are locally called "pithoo" and the shop-cum-lodge owners and tells us how their lives are dependent on the flow of the pilgrims. And interestingly, we learn that despite being a pilgrim centre for the Hindus, there are a few Muslim families that live there too.
Soon the narrative focuses on the affable Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) a human-porter and Mandakini aka Muku (Sara Ali Khan), the rebellious daughter of a local business man. How romance brews between the two of them, forms a major part of the narrative.
The plot is actually an interesting one that feels both timeless and current, in the way that it plays with romance and a recent natural calamity.
What holds your attention is the cast. While Sushant Singh Rajput delivers a sincere performance, all eyes are on Sara Ali Khan who makes her debut with this film. As the spunky Mandakini, she reminds you of her mother Amrita Singh in her debut Betaab.
And, while Sushant and Sara deliver their chops earnestly, their on-screen chemistry lacks charisma and the fault lies not with them, but the script.
Supporting the couple in conventional roles are; Nishant Dahiya as Kullu the local politician and Mandakini's fiance, Nitish Bharadwaj as Mandakini's father - "Pandit", Pooja Gor as her sister and Alka Amin as Mansoor's mother. They deliver a uniformly strong performance.
Technically the film is astutely mounted. Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray uses the fluidity of the hand-held cameras in an attempt to capture the freshness of a spontaneous experience. The action and melodrama sequences too are competently handled.
Hitesh Soni's music brings Amitabh Bhattacharya's lyrics to life. The songs "Qaafirana" and "Namo Namo" sung by Arijit Singh and Amit Trivedi respectively, add a mystical flavour to the narrative.
Chandan Arora's editing has also got that finely-tuned, perfect blend of every technical element that it takes to make a great film, especially the climax, which is painstakingly done by incorporating effects with sound design and music into a seamless fabric that is emotionally satisfying.
But overall the shift of tones while blending a fictional, inter-faith romance with a historical natural disaster, the film suffers to some degree from the maker's romantic and idealistic ideas and thereby leaves you unsatisfied.
Kedarnath review: 3 stars
Reactions from social media:
Taran Adarsh @ @taran_adarsh
Unconvincing love story... Sketchy and unexciting screenwriting... Few moments [sequences depicting the floods] stand out... Emotions are superficial... Sara Ali Khan makes a terrific debut... Sushant is ordinary... #KedarnathReview
Mayur Sanap @mayursanap709
#Kedarnath falls short to evoke right emotions while trying to put character and drama over spectacle. However, both @itsSSR & #SaraAliKhan are wonderful. Film's true strength lies in the combined appeal and compelling performances of the two. #KedarnathReview
Rohit Jaiswal @rohitjswl01
#Kedarnath 1st Half = GOOD
Stunning Visuals + Love Story + 2 songs, and BRILLIANT performance by @itsSSR, as of Now Feel Good Type film....
#SaraAliKhan reminds me of @realpreityzinta .... Full On Bubly Types....
#SaraAliKhan makes an impressive debut in #kedarnath and #SushantSinghRajput is flawless actor! Superb acting and chemistry. Sara can be the next #aliabhatt she is way ahead of other new actresses. #KedarnathReview ***
Good visuals and storyline. Congrats #AbhishekKapoor
Sumit kadel @SumitkadeI
#Kedarnath is a victim of grotty writing & Shoddy VFX. Shushant & Sara delivered a knockout performance but they couldn't rise above the cursory script. Tragedy sequences are decent but lacks emotions which required. Overall kedarnath is a weak film. Rating - **
Nishant Bhuse @nishantbhuse
Here is the #Kedarnathreview thumbs up to this love story sparkling debut by @iSaraAliKhan and flawless performance by @itsSSR @Abhishekapoor @RSVPMovies
Suhani Arora @SuhaniArora20
very slow in first half and unbearable in second half. #SaraAliKhan is going to create magic in bollywood but not in this movie. Movie isn't good and i don't recommend this movie. #MovieReview #KedarnathReview @itsSSR
Srabanti Chakrabarti @srabantic
#KedarnathReview #SaraAliKhan is definitely here to stay she is flawless. Her adaah and acting skill is excellent. Sara is a complete package inside out. Few good roles and she is definitely on the road to stardom. #saraalikhanfan @RSVPMovies