'Kaalakaandi': Black humour hard sold (Review By Troy Ribeiro ; Rating: **1/2)
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
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.
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' is trippy, enjoyable and revealing (Review By Subhash K
Jha Rating: ***)
For those who lament the lack of skilful scrrenwriting, "Kaalakaandi" is an earful and an eyeful. A feast for the senses, this beast of a film is hard to tame and even harder to define.
Simmering on a slowburn, roasted at a temperature where the edges are singed while the centre remain raw and bleeding, this is a work of tremendous creative chaos bolstered and buoyed by an adrenaline-pumping energy that you would instantly recognize if you've seen Akshat Varma's writing in the pronouncedly profane Delhi Belly.
But hang on. This is not Delhi Belly Part 2. This is Mumbai Mayhem Part 1. Fiercely original and delectably feisty it has a feeling of tingling sexiness to it, much of it can be attributed to its gorgeous cast. The film is populated with interesting good-looking faces like Isha Talwar playing a wedding photographer whose lenses capture more than just images, and Amyra Dastur as a bride so blindingly blissful she makes her groom look sheepishly compromised.
The entire ensemble cast comes together to lend a looming urgency to the proceedings.
Saif Ali Khan sportingly participates in what is possibly the most trippy film of his career. He is a man on death row with many dreams to live out. He is just been told he's dying, and now he has to be part of a night adventure that would remind him how much one can pack into 8-9 hours if you set your mind and heart to it.
It's very hard to describe the unstoppable flow of original unexpunged ideas in this one-night-in-the-metro story where one man gets to know he is dying and another, coincidentally his younger brother, gets to know he is actually not the horny bastard he thought he was. The two brothers are played with smart sharp strokes of wicked satire by Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Oberoi. Khan and Oberoi are not just brothers they are soul mates in search of a relevance beyond the din and chaos of endless partying.
The cast is so vast and they all seem to have a blast. Vijay Raaz and Deepak Dobriyal as a couple of henchmen, one of whom comes to a sticky end, play against one another with such suave aplomb, it is like watching two expert tennis players on two sides of an invisible net. Raaz and Dobriyal are fantastically entertaining.
Elsewhere the beautiful Sobhita Dhulipala accompanied by her silently supportive boyfriend (Kunaal Roy Kapoor) will expose a moral probity that would shock even the jaded law enforcers before the night is through.
I loved the way writer-director Akshat Varma mixes the sublime and the profane as though they always belonged together. We just didn't look. Hence when Saif befriends a perky transvestite prostitute (Nary Singh), sneaks into a ladies' washroom to take peep at what he/she has down there, we are not shocked. This is that rare film which romances the renegade and emerges with some of the most striking characters and images seen in a Hindi film.
Well, Hindi filmatechnically speaking. A lot of the very pithy and peppery dialogues are in English. And if the 'F' word makes you wince then the picturesque conversations of the emotional drifters in this edgy satire will make you want to clobber them on their heads.
The atmosphere is hallucinatory. The tempo is breakneck. And the mood is reckless. Are you ready for the ride? Like them or hate them, you cannot ignore the droves of characters in writer Akshat Varma's directorial debut. Varma knows Mumbai's throbbing cultural arteries and social veins.
His script gets an able ally in cinematographer Himman Dhamija. Together they amble in and out of situations that would be outrageously funny if all the madness didn't secrete a cautionary sobriety.
Have fun, says the film, while its lasts. But don't forget to thanks the powers-that-be for the gift of life. In one vividly etched sequence a girl borrows a bartender's coat in exchange for a kiss to sneak out of a police raid.
That bartender's name, Manohar, is on the coat. To remind us that exchanging identities temporarily is more often than not, a very temporal liberating experience. Kaalakaandi assumes many identities and eventually abandons all of them for that one core truth that controls our destiny.
This film dares to laugh in face of mortality. That's what makes it so brave and unique.
Actor Akshay Oberoi feels he has had a "long and hard"
journey in Bollywood, but is glad that he is creating his own path without any
'star image' attached to his work.
"It has been a long struggle and it has been a hard journey. I am glad that I am surviving till date. I think the reason for that is that finally people have realised to separate actors from the film they do," Akshay told IANS in a recorded response from Mumbai.
Akshay has worked in movies like "Isi Life Mein", "Piku", "Laal Rang" and "Kaalakaandi", which released on Friday.
"When I was starting out, I was very keen to impress the media, the industry's directors and producers and letting them know that I am a good actor and I can act... That wasRead More
Superstar Aamir Khan has praised the forthcoming
dark-comedy "Kaalakaandi" and said that actor Saif Ali Khan's performance in the
film was "outstanding".
Aamir, who attended the film's premier on Thursday, took to Twitter to praise the film.
"'Kaalakaandi' is one of the funniest films I have seen in a long time. Haven't laughed this much since I read the script of 'Delhi Belly'. Absolutely loved all the performances. Saif was outstanding! What a debut Akshat (director)! Proud of you. Don't miss this one guys, it releases tomorrow. Love A," he tweeted.