Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Starring: Vidya Balan
Welcome back Sujoy Ghosh. We thought you were a one film wonder and had consigned you to oblivion after the disaster of Aladin. But Kahaani, a fast, fun, fearless thriller has made up for it.
Kolkata is the star of the film. Kolkata early morning, with people drinking tea, brushing their teeth, waking up from the pavement. Kolkata going home, on the tram, with the obligatory call from ma asking when you will come. Kolkata during pujas, dressing up, and then the melancholic farewell to the goddess. The Anglo Indian secretaries, mocambo restaurant, the little urchins with their precious toys, the ageing slow moving lifts. And into this comes Vidya Balan, just in from London, looking for her missing husband.
Of course, you can sense immediately there is a twist in there somewhere. Vidya’s boots are the giveaway, way too smart for just a wife of a software engineer, as is her obsessive cleaning of her room. There are some obvious loopholes, including a captain who by the end of the movie gets promoted to colonel. But by and large Ghosh keeps the plot ticking. Kolkata, usually shown as a sleepy city of privilege (Parineeta, anyone) comes alive in Ghosh’s hands. Its air of mystery, its crumbling homes, its dingy bylanes make for perfect cinematography.
Balan is as usual in crackling form, but it is the array of other characters who make the film come alive. Parambrata Chatterjee is perfect as young Rana, who is half in love with Mrs Bagchi, and is her willing accomplice in breaking into offices and interrogating/charming informers. Nawazuddin plays an IB officer with gusto, abusing, smoking, throwing attitude around. Dhritiman Chatterjee, all stiff upper lip, is the IB chief (or commander in chief, we are told). My favourite though is Bob Biswas (actor Saswata Chatterjee), the moonfaced hit man masquerading as an LIC agent. All the cliches are there – the seedy motel owner, the cheerfully bumbling police officer, the smiling urchins. but used to good effect.
Sit back, enjoy the ride, bumpy though it may be, in shambling taxis, rickety trams, the smooth and shining metro. And yes, feel a little sad too as Durga maa is immersed to the tune of Amitabh Bachchan singing Ekla Chalo Re, makes me want to book my ticket to the city now.Darshan Jariwala India today Kahaani Kaveree Bamzai Nawazuddin Siddiqui Reviews Sujoy Ghosh Vidya Balan