Some films provide entertainment, some send out sermons. Very few manage to do justice to both and Sujoy Ghosh’s film falls firmly and fabulously in that area. A seven-month pregnant lady lands in a city alien to her to find her husband who has gone missing. Where does she start from? The energy and anxiety knitted neatly into the film doesn’t flag right till the last credits roll.
The plot: A very pregnant Vidya Bagchi aka Bidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) has just arrived from London to look for her husband Arnob Bagchi (Indraniel Sengupta) who has gone missing from Kolkata. She starts with the police station where smitten young cop Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay) partners her, willingly going out of his way to help her in her quest to find Arnobda. The rest of the plot is best discovered on your own.
The good: The film gets its power from a strong story penned by Sujoy Ghosh and Advaita and a stronger screenplay created by Suresh Nair and Sujoy Ghosh. It is smart and cerebral and yet told without complication. The whole leitmotif of the movie is the embodiment of victory over evil by Goddess Durga, brought out brilliantly by Vidya, against an ethnically exotic puja backdrop. The vulnerability and the obstinacy of Ms Bagchi is perfectly depicted by Vidya. The entire demeanour and personality of a seven-month pregnant lady seems to have lodged itself in her system, as she is subtle and sure almost all the time. Her encounters with several people and the insurmountable hurdles enthral you as her character and the mystery are built with sure-footed swiftness. Happily, the supporting team of actors, sourced mainly from Bengali cinema, are not fringe characters. They are well-crafted, vital characters who give standout performances and strengthen the story. As the gentleman cop, Parambrata Chattopadhyay is pleasantly perfect in his smitten behaviour in front of Vidya. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, cast as Intelligence Bureau officer AP Khan, makes a splendid tough cop, unrelenting in his mission. Right down to Running Hot Water, all the characters are well cast and come up with worthy support to Vidya Bagchi. The music by Vishal-Shekhar is surprisingly intense and poignant considering the kind of peppy music they are renowned for. The Rabindra geet ‘Ekla cholo re’ sung by Amitabh Bachchan in his cathartic voice is stirring and adds even more depth to the bundle of emotions. Jhankaar Beats director Sujoy Ghosh has come up with a completely different film from all his previous attempts at filmmaking, elevating Hindi cinema to a level not seen in recent times. The director creates a wonderful maze of dots right from the beginning which eventually join up to make a clever design. The humour is added very subtly without distracting the movie from the mood it belongs to. Kolkata is splendidly displayed, larger than life and colourful by Setu. His frames will do Bengal proud. The feel of the film is completely correct and everything has a connection, with nothing really out of place. It keeps your brain active practically all through.
The bad: The film gives you a tough time in figuring out loopholes in the plot, as every movement is placed accurately, every frame is for a reason. If one has to nitpick, then maybe the end where the truth comes out looks a little spoon fed and tumbles out very easily. The gift from the cop which Vidya uses to get fused into the crowd looks a spontaneous decision and not part of a plan.
Overall: It is superbly crafted with every aspect and detail given due care and attention. Kahaani is definitely a must-must-watch for several reasons. Most of all, it’s sure to revive your trust in Hindi cinema once again.