Kahaani TOI Movie Review by Gaurav Malani

Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

Kahaani rightly lives up to its name and reinstates the fact that the core criterion for a decent film is a strong story. And if that story is in competent hands, you don’t need anything else. No big stars, songs, budget or even a customary male lead. For a (pleasant) change, the script is indeed the hero here!

The story is of one pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) who comes to Kolkata from London in search of her husband who was in India on an assignment but suddenly went missing. There is little that the cops can do since they are unable to trace any records of her husband in the guest house, office or even airport immigration. Things take a drastic turn when Vidya learns that her husband had a lookalike and perhaps that could get him closer to her search. But soon her personal quest turns into a political conspiracy.

Though Kahaani gets to the point from the very start, the actual graph in the narrative ascends when Vidya’s individual search for her husband takes a bureaucratic twist, with the intelligence department coming into picture. The local affair suddenly turns into a governmental concern. The writing by Sujoy Ghosh, Advaita Kala, Suresh Nair and Nikhil Vyas is articulate and immaculate, investigating the matter gradually and building up the mystery at every step. The story explores the case systematically, credibly and logically.

While the initial pacing is moderate, the proceedings pick up rapidly in the latter reels as the story gains multiple dimensions. The brisk storytelling calls for your absolute attention but the narrative has been so gripping since start that you never lose a moment. And like any good story should boast of, the actual brilliance of Kahaani comes in its climax that shall leave you spellbound. Amidst a horde of predictable plots and conventional culminations, Kahaani has one of the most impressive climaxes for a Bollywood film in recent times. The exquisite detailing in the writing adds conviction to the going-ons as the mystery unfolds at every step. In that respect, Kahaani is the kind of film that will fascinate you even more on second viewing as you would be able to notice the finer nuances in the bigger scheme of things.

Amidst the few improbable or avoidable aspects in the otherwise authentic film is a young cop’s over-willingness to go out of his way to unofficially escort and aid Vidya throughout her pursuit. Also his faint romantic inclination towards Vidya seems out of place. Thankfully the director refrains from stretching it into any dream song zone. In fact Sujoy Ghosh shows utmost sincerity in keeping the narrative clutter-free, sans any songs or side-tracks. Incidentally what seems to be a human drama at first glance is smartly moulded into a suspense-thriller. But at the same time there is much sensitivity in the direction to not leave it as a mere mechanical mystery tale but lend requisite heart. A dose of dark humour is wittily integrated through the track of a clerk-cum-contract killer who maintains a constant smirk while terminating his targets.

Namrata Rao dexterously edits the film, never letting the viewer stray for a second. Cinematographer Setu captures the vibrant shades of the busy city of Kolkata with panache. The dialogues are crisp and effective.

Kahaani essentially banks upon the prowess of Vidya Balan, one of the most blessed actresses of the times, who impresses more with every new film. She brings depth and poise to her character and adds conviction in every scene. Parambrata Chattopadhyay is charming as Vidya’s cop-companion and makes for a good supporting character. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the crude intelligence officer exudes solid screen presence and confidence. Indraneil Sengupta does well in his cameo. Several other character artists lend adequate support.

Kahaani, undoubtedly, is Sujoy Ghosh’s most accomplished works till date as he emerges as a skilful storyteller with the film. If story is what you seek from a film, Kahaani is a must-watch. Aami Shotti Bolchi!

Verdict: Very Good



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