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Kahaani

 

*****

  • Release Date 09/03/2012
  • Distributor  Other 
  • Language  Hindi 
  • Genre  Other 
  • Studio  Other 
  • Country  India 
  • Star  Vidya Balan
  •  
     
    Watch it for its gripping narration, execution and Vidya, but it does have its flaws -  bobbytalkscinema.com
     
     
    Kahaani - Bobby Talks Cinema.comWhen it comes to crime thrillers, the genre excites me a lot as I am huge fan and student of Hitchcockian kind of cinema. There is a different kind of excitement felt in these mysterious movies which keep you guessing till the end with the help of an engrossing screenplay and some fabulous performances. Luckily KAHAANI is one of those rare well made movies (in this genre by Bollywood), which thankfully has something fresh to offer, moving away from the usual rom-com stuff coming week after week for our disposal. In fact movies like these keep the Bollywood flag high in front of the World Audience, otherwise we are too much occupied with the Hero-Worship here, followed blindly.
    But at the same time, KAHAANI is also not a Classic or Masterpiece if considered in totality, while moving out of the theater. It at once reminded me of a similar plot in “A Mighty Heart” (2007) (made on the true incident), which also had a pregnant Angelina Jolie coming in an unknown city (Pakistan) in search of her missing husband Daniel (but the similarities end right there). In short, KAHAANI has surely got its visible merits and does have some big flaws too which restrict it from being added into the Must See Movies List here at BTC. Nevertheless lets start with the winning points earned by the film which make it a worth watching experience for the Indian audience dying for something NEW.
    KAHAANI works big time in its first hour due to a gripping screenplay which drags you into the world of “Vidya Bagchi” the moment she gets off at the airport to hire a taxi. Though, she is very strangely at ease with a completely new town, language and people in just a few hours, which looks weird. Still the narration never allows you to think that way ever due to its brilliant writing and fine editing. Each and every character introduced within the first 20 minutes of the film impresses you a lot and one just feels like investigating the case along with them on the crowded roads of Kolkata.
    Where its first half excels in its execution, the second dips a little leaving the viewer asking for few thrilling surprises to be thrown in fast. But the director decides to give all those shocks towards the end only and this very move is bound to get some mixed responses from the viewers as it seems. Coming back to the exceptional qualities of the film, it’s a Vidya Balan show all the way and the girl has hit the bull’s eye yet again with her flawless, award winning performance as Vidya Bagchi. She right away wins your sympathy from the first scene itself and then makes you feel all the pain and discomfort felt from her belly, every time she stumbles on the roads of Kolkata. After Ishqiya, Paa, No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture, the girl clearly announces through KAHAANI that its time the scripts are written in Bollywood around women characters instead of men and that’s indeed a commendable achievement made by the exceptionally talented lady, undoubtedly.
    Further, KAHAANI continues to spell its magic due to its outstanding supporting cast lead by Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Khan. In fact these two are the other strong contenders of Best Supporting Actor Award along with Vidya going for the highest, fourth time in a row next year in all the Award functions. Besides there is a terrifying portrayal of a serial killer too in the film by Saswata Chatterjee as Bob Biswas, who re-defines terror in his own way making a stunning impact on the viewer. And last but not the least are the two child actors handled well by the director providing the much required relief moments in its tense script.
    Kahaani - Bobby Talks Cinema.comAnother eye catching achievement of the film is the way it captures the spirit of Kolkota in its peak festival time, from a local resident’s viewpoint. Especially in the chase sequences shot in the narrow lanes of the city. However it also (for the first time) made me look upon the city as a scary one which I never felt before in another movie as such. May be it was the subject and the manner it is shown to us but Kolkata never appeared to be so tense and mysterious ever before in a film as I can remember (I hope the people of the city might understand what I wish to say here).
    Musically it has a well composed background score which goes perfectly with the theme of the film as required without being loud. The title track is fine but I really couldn’t enjoy “Eklo Cholo Re” sung by Amitabh Bachchan in the film’s context after it was all over. Probably because once you know the real secret, the song and its meaning loses the impact as then the whole game gets converted into a different thing which cannot be revealed here. So as I see it, this insertion was just either out of sheer respect for Tagore and Amitabh or it was solely used for getting some instant publicity for the film.
    Hence KAHAANI basically succeeds hugely in the way director, Sujoy Ghosh opens up all his cards slowly in an intelligent progression. It works mainly because of its superb way of story-telling and a tight script which at one end keeps you involved with a human touch (due to Vidya’s pregnancy) and on the other, never lets you ponder over its loose ends or flaws with its slick editing.
    In fact, the biggest point which goes in favour of the film is that it allows the viewer to think about all the loopholes in its script only after its all over on the screen. In other words, till you are not told the truth, it looks like a perfect mystery thriller with many superlative performances and a fabulous script. But once the secret is out, you start picking many unanswered questions and impossible things in its narration as you start thinking about it again from the start. Frankly speaking, I was not able to appreciate its culmination at all as I was really expecting something much bigger and shocking from the writers. And believe me I kept wondering about a major point in the whole movie which got cleared in the end and proved that I had really watched all those Alfred Hitchcock movies very closely (but I cant reveal the point here). In clear words, its climax was too filmy for me which actually reduced the overall impact of the movie as it ended. It just gave the feeling of seeing a well-built castle of playing cards crashing down all of a sudden. Its quite possible, that you might not find its climax that disastrous. But with my grey cells working in a Hitckcockian mold, it was way below what I was expecting.  
    Summing up, KAHAANI is unarguably one of the best films of the year capable of winning more awards for its worth praising performances. But with a different, out of the box conclusion it could have been a masterpiece in the Crime-Thriller genre which is a rare treat in Bollywood. Yet it still remains an appreciable achievement and deserves to be watched as a must for its gripping narration, execution and the wonder lady, Vidya Balan.
    Ratings : 3.5 / 5
    Following the brief opening sequence of the mass killing of Kolkata Metro passengers by poison gas, the main narrative of the film begins when, two years after that terrorism incident, Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi (Vidya Balan), a heavily pregnant software engineer arrives in Kolkata from London, looking for her missing husband Arnab Bagchi. Vidya gets support from one junior police officer named Satyaki Sinha/Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee) in her quest to find out her missing husband who came in an assignment to work in the National Data Centre (NDC). Initial probes suggest that no man called Arnab Bagchi came to work in NDC, or stayed in the guesthouse that Arnab told about to Vidya during their telephonic conversations.

    One human resource employee of NDC suggests Vidya that her husband resembled Milan Damji, an ex-employee of NDC. The HR employee is killed by Bob Biswas, an assassin (who works as a life insurance agent) before she could gather more data on Damji. Vidya, assisted by the friendly police officer Rana, breaks into the old office of NDC to collect paper documents on Damji. Here they have a close brush with the assassin who was also on the look-out for papers on Damji.

    Meanwhile, attempted activities on Milan Damji's records rattle two high ranking Investigation Bureau (IB) officials — the chief Bhaskaran (Dhritiman Chatterjee) and his expletive spewing deputy Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Khan is sent to Kolkata, and it is eventually revealed that Damji was an IB agent gone rogue, who was responsible for the poison-gas attack in the Kolkata Metro. The IB has been looking for him ever since. Khan warns Vidya not to get deep into this matter, but Vidya is stubborn that she would find out her husband.

    The residential address on Damji's records lead the investigating duo of Vidya and Rana to a dilapidated flat in one of Kolkata's narrow alleys. The errand boy of the neighbourhood tea-stall informs that the resident of that flat occasionally had a visitor. Paresh, a police-informer, provides them with some details about Milan Damji, and about an event two years ago when Damji got wounded. A doctor who apparently treated Damji gets assassinated, again by Bob, before he could supply any information.

    The errand-by from the tea-stall identifies Sridhar, an IT officer of NDC, as the person visiting Namji's flat. Sridhar instructs Bob the assasin to kill Vidya. After a failed attempt to kill Vidya in crowded alleyways, Bob gets run over by a tempo during a running chase by Rana. Examination of Bob's mobile phone leads them to an IP address sending killing instructions. Vidya and Rana breaks into Sridhar's office to verify his IP address. Being alerted electronically, Sridhar returns to office, and pursues the duo. A commotion ensues, and Vidya shoots Sridhar accidentally. Khan, the IB official, is upset as they could not catch Sridhar alive.

    Khan reveals that Rana has been all along working for him, and helping Vidya in her quest. Khan planned this as Vidya, a pregnant lady, would not generate much suspicion whereas police or investigation bureau—if they had done the investigation—would alert the culprits who supposedly have reach to the higher echelons of the investigation bureau itself. Although not happy at her being used as a ploy, Vidya agrees to help Khan. Further examination of Sridhar's computer reveals a code which is deciphered to be Bhaskaran (IB chief) phone number. Khan guesses that Bhaskaran himself may be the mole within IB. According to his plan, Vidya calls Bhaskaran, and tells him that Vidya has got hold of sensitive documents from Sridhar's office, if Bhaskaran helped Vidya to find out her husband, she wound hand over the documents to Bhaskaran. Bhaskaran nonchalantly tells Vidya to contact local police as he is not associated with this. However, within a few minutes of this conversation, Vidya gets a call from unknown number, warning Vidya that she should hand over the documents if she wanted to save her husband.

    This unknown caller later calls Vidya again, introducing himself as Milan Damji. He tells Vidya to meet him in Triangular Park. Khan and Rana manage to find this out and reach the place as well, but fail to trace her in the crowd. They believe she is in danger as Damji will inevitably kill her because she knows his identity and fugitive status. In a dark alley, however, the two come face to face. Damji demands that she return whatever evidence she might have against him, and it becomes quite clear that neither is he her husband, and nor will he flinch from killing her. He strikes at her stomach, hoping to destroy her child. It is then revealed that Vidya is herself on a mission to kill Damji, and her pregnancy is fake. She strikes a momentarily perplexed Damji with her hairpin, killing him. Amidst the commotion of the Durga Puja immersion, Vidya disappears into the crowd. She leaves a thank you note to Rana. Rana, on the basis of some clues that are shown to the viewers (most of which were earlier shown in the proceedings of the film), deduces that there was no Arnab Bagchi at all, and Vidya all along has actually used police and investigation bureau to achieve her mission—to kill Damji.

    It is then revealed that Vidya is the widow of Arup, an IB operative who was the officer shown in the beginning of the film who was trying to locate the bag containing the poisonous gas that killed multitudes in the Metro Rail incident. He dies in the event. Damji was a colleague of Apurba in IB, but he went rogue and cooperated with terrorists. In her mission, Vidya was helped by Colonel Vajpayee, a retired top IB officer, who suspected that some top IB official was associated with the Metro Rail killing.

    TV news reports show arrest of Bhaskaran for being associated with the killing. Rana joins a candle-lit vigil for those who died in the Metro Rail killing. The film ends with a short background monologue by Amitabh Bachchan on the mythological and cultural significance of Durga, while on screen the the Durga idols are immersed in Ganges (the ritual of Bisrajana at the end of Durga Puja festivities).
    Following the brief opening sequence of the mass killing of Kolkata Metro passengers by poison gas, the main narrative of the film begins when, two years after that terrorism incident, Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi (Vidya Balan), a heavily pregnant software engineer arrives in Kolkata from London, looking for her missing husband Arnab Bagchi. Vidya gets support from one junior police officer named Satyaki Sinha/Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee) in her quest to find out her missing husband who came in an assignment to work in the National Data Centre (NDC). Initial probes suggest that no man called Arnab Bagchi came to work in NDC, or stayed in the guesthouse that Arnab told about to Vidya during their telephonic conversations.

    One human resource employee of NDC suggests Vidya that her husband resembled Milan Damji, an ex-employee of NDC. The HR employee is killed by Bob Biswas, an assassin (who works as a life insurance agent) before she could gather more data on Damji. Vidya, assisted by the friendly police officer Rana, breaks into the old office of NDC to collect paper documents on Damji. Here they have a close brush with the assassin who was also on the look-out for papers on Damji.

    Meanwhile, attempted activities on Milan Damji's records rattle two high ranking Investigation Bureau (IB) officials — the chief Bhaskaran (Dhritiman Chatterjee) and his expletive spewing deputy Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Khan is sent to Kolkata, and it is eventually revealed that Damji was an IB agent gone rogue, who was responsible for the poison-gas attack in the Kolkata Metro. The IB has been looking for him ever since. Khan warns Vidya not to get deep into this matter, but Vidya is stubborn that she would find out her husband.

    The residential address on Damji's records lead the investigating duo of Vidya and Rana to a dilapidated flat in one of Kolkata's narrow alleys. The errand boy of the neighbourhood tea-stall informs that the resident of that flat occasionally had a visitor. Paresh, a police-informer, provides them with some details about Milan Damji, and about an event two years ago when Damji got wounded. A doctor who apparently treated Damji gets assassinated, again by Bob, before he could supply any information.

    The errand-by from the tea-stall identifies Sridhar, an IT officer of NDC, as the person visiting Namji's flat. Sridhar instructs Bob the assasin to kill Vidya. After a failed attempt to kill Vidya in crowded alleyways, Bob gets run over by a tempo during a running chase by Rana. Examination of Bob's mobile phone leads them to an IP address sending killing instructions. Vidya and Rana breaks into Sridhar's office to verify his IP address. Being alerted electronically, Sridhar returns to office, and pursues the duo. A commotion ensues, and Vidya shoots Sridhar accidentally. Khan, the IB official, is upset as they could not catch Sridhar alive.

    Khan reveals that Rana has been all along working for him, and helping Vidya in her quest. Khan planned this as Vidya, a pregnant lady, would not generate much suspicion whereas police or investigation bureau—if they had done the investigation—would alert the culprits who supposedly have reach to the higher echelons of the investigation bureau itself. Although not happy at her being used as a ploy, Vidya agrees to help Khan. Further examination of Sridhar's computer reveals a code which is deciphered to be Bhaskaran (IB chief) phone number. Khan guesses that Bhaskaran himself may be the mole within IB. According to his plan, Vidya calls Bhaskaran, and tells him that Vidya has got hold of sensitive documents from Sridhar's office, if Bhaskaran helped Vidya to find out her husband, she wound hand over the documents to Bhaskaran. Bhaskaran nonchalantly tells Vidya to contact local police as he is not associated with this. However, within a few minutes of this conversation, Vidya gets a call from unknown number, warning Vidya that she should hand over the documents if she wanted to save her husband.

    This unknown caller later calls Vidya again, introducing himself as Milan Damji. He tells Vidya to meet him in Triangular Park. Khan and Rana manage to find this out and reach the place as well, but fail to trace her in the crowd. They believe she is in danger as Damji will inevitably kill her because she knows his identity and fugitive status. In a dark alley, however, the two come face to face. Damji demands that she return whatever evidence she might have against him, and it becomes quite clear that neither is he her husband, and nor will he flinch from killing her. He strikes at her stomach, hoping to destroy her child. It is then revealed that Vidya is herself on a mission to kill Damji, and her pregnancy is fake. She strikes a momentarily perplexed Damji with her hairpin, killing him. Amidst the commotion of the Durga Puja immersion, Vidya disappears into the crowd. She leaves a thank you note to Rana. Rana, on the basis of some clues that are shown to the viewers (most of which were earlier shown in the proceedings of the film), deduces that there was no Arnab Bagchi at all, and Vidya all along has actually used police and investigation bureau to achieve her mission—to kill Damji.

    It is then revealed that Vidya is the widow of Arup, an IB operative who was the officer shown in the beginning of the film who was trying to locate the bag containing the poisonous gas that killed multitudes in the Metro Rail incident. He dies in the event. Damji was a colleague of Apurba in IB, but he went rogue and cooperated with terrorists. In her mission, Vidya was helped by Colonel Vajpayee, a retired top IB officer, who suspected that some top IB official was associated with the Metro Rail killing.

    TV news reports show arrest of Bhaskaran for being associated with the killing. Rana joins a candle-lit vigil for those who died in the Metro Rail killing. The film ends with a short background monologue by Amitabh Bachchan on the mythological and cultural significance of Durga, while on screen the the Durga idols are immersed in Ganges (the ritual of Bisrajana at the end of Durga Puja festivities).


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