Sunday, March 25, 2012
Sujoy Ghosh's Vidya Balan starrer 'Kahaani' clever and convoluted
My friends Sudha Chandran, Bhavdeep Kang, Anita Katyal, Chandrika Mago liked 'Kahaani' and they would not agree with my reservations about the film before and after seeing the film. There are a few problems with the film. Comely Vidya Balan is one of the problems of the film. She is a problem in any film because she is attractive and she is not a natural actress. Nothing wrong with capitalising on the intelligent look but she she really does not become the character she plays. She cannot help. She is what she is. Viewers who are bowled over by her intelligent and good looks are not willing to look a little deeper and ask whether she is the character she plays. In the case of Vidya Balan, her intelligent looks work to her advantage but not to the advantage of the character she is playing. You cannot blame Vidya Balan for taking advantage of her good and intelligent looks and if she does not bother abut the characters she plays. She has done this fake act successfully in Íshqiya', 'No One Killed Jessica', 'Dirty Picture' and now in 'Kahaani'. If Katrina Kaif and Deepika Padukone carry the films they act in through their sheer charm, it might be foolish to ask whether Kaif and Padukone played their roles well. So, it might seem unfair to ask Miss Balan to play her characters and not rest on her intelligent looks. We will have to give Miss Balan benefit of the doubt, and not question her acting credentials which are not much in evidence.
There are two things that Miss Balan does in 'Kahaani'. She breaks down thrice in the film, remembering her dead husband, her dead child. But the scenes do not carry conviction because director Sujoy Ghosh does not establish the genuine love and affection that existed between Vidya Bagchi and her husband Arup Baso. Director Ghosh was too busy building up the complicated narrative structure which needs too many explanations, and at the end of it all the story of 'Kahaani' has too many loose ends.
The need to criticise 'Kahaani' arises because it pretends to rise above the mindless Hindi romantic romp. There is an intriguing story of guns and betrayal and intrigue here, but the viewer is not allowed to get a peep into the complex working of the plot. My friend Mago grudgingly admits that there are inconsistencies but she believes that the successful suspsense in the film outweighs the negligible inconsistencies.
Ghosh seems to be one of those precocious Calcuttans who has a taste for detective stories and he has conjured contrivances aplenty -- including the pregnancy of the protagonist -- to drive the story forward. What the film lacks is sincerity and integrity in its storytelling. We do not understand why police officer Rana and IB official Khan should be led along by Vidya -- yes, that is the name of the character that Vidya Balan plays in the film -- who turns out to be a member of the team as well. No good reasons are offered for her involvement, and it is left unexplained as part of a crisp plot which does not tell everything.
The story remains unconvincing because of this ostentatious tightness of the script and the explanations are offered along the way which do not seem to fit into the logic of the story.
Clever Ghosh and pretty Balan almost pull off the bluff that 'Kahaani' is. The camera is afraid to linger and capture the emotional and social geography of Calcutta. The camera is almost afraid to look longer at the people and the streets.
It is a good film to the extent that it has a story to tell, but it is a bad film because it fails to tell the story in a way that leaves an impression on the mind of the moviegoer. No haunting image lingers in the consciousness long after the film is over. More could be done with a face like that of Balan, but neither Balan nor Ghosh allow that to happen. They are too clever by half.
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