After a long, long time, we see a Bollywood production which has a strong story base; it should come as no surprise as to why this Sujoy Ghosh directed venture has been titled KAHAANI! And what a whodunit this turns out to be! Through a rather intricately woven plot replete with twists and turns, Sujoy Ghosh manages to cloud the narration with an ambience of mystery and the unknown. As a viewer you are continuously teased: you know that something is amiss from the time the female lead lands in Kolkatta, but it is difficult to guess about what is it which is not falling in place. We do not have many such suspense laden movies being churned out in Bollywood; and Sujoy draws on the amazing pool of talent from West Bengal to construct his tale and make it riveting.
And of course, we have the lead artiste played brilliantly once again by Vidya Balan and which should fetch her the National Award for the best actress again after her having got the award for last year’s THE DIRTY PICTURE. As the pregnant Vidya Bagchi, coming into town to find out the whereabouts of her husband, she is just perfect. Whether it is an expression that demands display of frustration, anger, excitement or parental emotion, she brings it on effortlessly and with consummate ease. Her recent roles in PAA, ISHQIYA, THE DIRTY PICTURE and now KAHAANI easily position her as the most versatile actress we have in Bollywood today. It is such a pity that she is ill at ease in formula movies: otherwise we might have had the opportunity to see her on screen more often!! The rest of the cast also delivers admirable performances and the only song is the background number rendered by Amitabh Bachchan.
Sujoy and the photographer have also managed to capture the essence of Kolkatta in this presentation: the bureaucracy, the typical middle class milieu, the colours and smells of the by-lanes, the Kichhu Hobe Na sentiments and the delirium of the celebration of Durga Pooja. Sujoy is also the writer and his creation is more like the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with a female Sherlock Holmes trying to unravel the truth. And the unraveling does not come easy; an average intelligent person would need to see this movie twice and with rapt attention to understand the layers of deception! Even in the end, when all the jigsaw puzzle pieces fall into place, it takes the viewer, who has watched the movie without blinking, some effort to see this puzzle against the background of all the events that have taken place. And if you have blinked a few times, it is all the more difficult. The movie’s failing is in the insistent use of hand held cameras and that compounded by the intricate plot makes it less taut than what it could have been, despite it being just two hours long.
Sujoy makes one more pardonable gaffe in the opening credits: he uses the word “honorary” as a prefix to Mamta Banerji’s name instead of “honorable”! But perhaps, I am wrong; he might have intended it that way!!
Just watch it!!
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
March 9, 2012

About The eternally happy Vijay

A cheerful person who loves watching and reviewing movies and indulges in random writings!
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2 Responses to REVIEW: KAHAANI

  1. Naveen says:

    I liked the plot, which has been ingeniously put together. I found two major flaws, please let me know if I am wrong:
    1. Something dishonest about flashbacks showing an imaginary persons face. Sounds like it is meant to deceive/confuse the audience. They could have used the back of the person.
    2. Villains motivation completely unexplained.

    • Hi Naveen: Saw KAHAANI again yeterday: I think I have answers to your points. One, the flashbacks are meant to convey what Bidya Balan is wanting to convey to the cops etc. The villain’s motivation is obviously “the hidden foreign hand” and is therefore hidden!!!

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