Movie Review – Kahaani (2012)


Year of Release: 2012

*ing: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Verdict: 3/5

When the biggest star of 2011 asks you to go watch a movie, you don’t question, you just do. That’s the effect Vidya Balan has on people these days. But in Bollywood you are only as good as your last movie, so let’s check out where does Kahaani leave her on the star-o-meter.

The film opens with a sequence where a toxic gas that’s released ends up killing people in a Kolkata Metro train. Wait, did you come to the right screening? Well your ruminations are put to rest when right in the next scene (which is 2 years later in the movie) a heavily pregnant Vidya (or Bidya as they would say in Kolkata) emerges from the Kolkata International Airport only to get hassled by the taxi guys haggling over getting her to take their taxi. The subtle yet powerful acting by Vidya in this small scene gets you glued already.

So Vidya has flown all the way from London to find her missing husband – Arnab Bagchi. Armed with her suitcase & a 2 kg. belly she heads to the police station to get an FIR filed. Thus begins her journey, through the sultry by-lanes of Kolkata, to find her missing husband. Spurned by the Police, she finds support & empathy in a rather naive but idealistic cop Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay). With very little information and not much help she sets out on a task that is a rather difficult one. During this expedition we get embroiled in government politics, secret agencies, underground network, contract killing; with each scene and link providing bits and pieces of information so as to keep us guessing the storyline further.

It’d be best not to give too much of the story away since the film’s a thriller where you are constantly discovering details and guessing how the movie will turn out and what the climax would be like. But no matter how much you rack your brains throughout the movie, you would never be able to imagine what turn the story actually takes. Yes! The twist in the story is THAT wild (in fact bordering a little on absurd)!

The performances by all the characters are commendable. But special mention should go to Nawazuddin Siddiqui for portraying the uncouth, bad-mouthing, stern government agent. He is a treat to watch and his bad-ass performance will find it’s own sweet corner in your heart. Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana is quite adorable in the role of a naive, idealistic cop who is yet to be corrupted by the system. You will give in to his simple charm. Saswata Chatterjee in the role of a weirdly funny psycho contract killer is good too.

Vidya Balan as always has done a lot of work and fits the bill perfectly of a pregnant woman – in terms of mannerisms, body language etc. Her dialogue delivery is subtle yet still packs punch.

But despite all the above things working for the movie, it lacks that zing, that special wow-factor. At the end of the movie you feel that it could’ve definitely been better although you can’t really place a finger on how or what. The pace could’ve been more slick.

Well, the movie works if you keep some of your logic aside and do not go with a lot of unnecessarily high expectations (which I made the mistake of doing). Kahaani with all it’s wonderful ingredients is a heavily pregnant movie which somehow fails to deliver (quite literally / pun intended)!

Trivia:

  • Vidya Balan’s pregnant tummy was made of rubber weighing 2 Kgs.
  • Vidya Balan made her debut in a Bengali movie, Bhalo Theko, which also starred Parambrata, her co-star in Kahaani.
  • Kahaani was shot in real time, during Durga Puja in Kolkata with real people who had no idea what was going on.
  • While filming a scene for Kahaani, Vidya almost fell onto the tracks of the Kolkata’s metro rail, but was saved by her director Sujoy Ghosh.
  • To promote Kahaani, Vidya embarked on a promotional tour with a pregnancy bump. She was seeing promoting the movie at public places like railway stations and buses in her character.
  • Amitabh Bachchan has lent his classic baritone voice to Rabindranath Tagore‘s epic song ‘Ekla Cholo Re‘ in the movie.
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