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KAHAANI - Watch it for its gripping narration, execution and Vidya, but it does have its flaws. (Review by Bobby Sing)
09 Mar, 2012 | Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

When 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.
Another 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

Tags : Kahaani Movie Review by Bobby Sing, Kahaani Film Review By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews, Inspired Movies, Inspired Movies, Inspired Cinema
09 Mar 2012 / Comments ( 18 )
Vishal Dhavan

Yes I Watched This Movie KAHAANI Yesterday ...
It was Really Awesome Movie...Bidya is Really Act Well...
The Whole Story is Based on only Two persons Mr.Arnav Bagchi & Mr.Milan Daamji...
That Story was Great...Loved this Movie...

Bobby Sing

Glad to know that you liked it Vishal as it sure is a worth watching film.
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Vighnesh

Nice review..
Watched the movie..Brilliant work by Vidya..took it away single handedly..
And thumbs up to the supporting cast of Rana and Khan..

Bobby Sing

Thanks Vighnesh and yes the supporting cast made the impact much stronger along with Vidya.

Keep Visiting and Writing In,
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Jay Shah

PLEASE DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE ALREADY WATCHED THE FILM....

Good review, Bobby bhai, but....I disagree with your thoughts about the ending. I felt it worked in the context that the film was about a pregnant woman supposedly searching for her missing husband but that in 'reality' this was all a feint and that her really motives were to seek revenge on an elusive terrorist who was hard to catch. I cannot see how the director and writer could not have had a resolution at Vidya's own hands, and also one that ignored her emotional loss of her husband and fellow agent. I did feel satisfied with the ending and I did try to come up with other ways in how the film could have ended but they all seem overly complex and would have required a lot more time to achieve. The point that I found implausible was the one where Rana/Sayogi, the police officer who ably assisted Vidya even when breaking the law (another implausibility but which could be explained by his working for Khan and using Vidya to draw out the terrorist) was able to spot the school uniform shirt on the 'running water' boy and then ask him if Vidya had also seen the shirt and whether the boy talked to her about his school.

Film's like this one are sadly few and far between but I am encouraged by Vidya Balan's and Aamir Khan's recent script choices.

Look forward to reading your next review.

Bobby Sing

PLEASE DONT READ THIS IF YOU HAVENT WATCHED THE FILM.

Thanks Jay Shah for your thoughtful comment and continuing with those points, the reason why the ending did not impress me was that in the entire film I kept on thinking about her pregnancy that how a lady with 6-7 months baby can do such exertion and walks, without any changes in her face (which goes through a big change in the 7th month of pregnancy).

Secondly I doubted it in the first scene itself when she came out of the airport and it struck me that what are the rules of Airbuses?, Whether they allow a 7 month pregnant lady board such a long flight without any doctor or not?

Thirldy in the second half Vidya kills a man shooting him, but she is not booked for it or charged by the police which was really amusing.

Laslty after you know the truth and start thinking about the film from the start its all seems to be too easy for a Lady and the pieces dont join in well like they did in USUAL SUSPECTS and films like that.

Still no doubt, it was a brave attempt which might have took its initial idea from "THE MIGHTY HEART" and then went on to a different script all together. So I enjoyed it too but the Hitchcock cells activated didnt find it as a masterpiece thriller.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Tabish

great movie..but d end was guessable...moreovr many times in d movie she walks vry fast..dnt knw whethr it was a flaw or it was shwn intentionaly.

Bobby Sing

Yeah Tabish, you are right on the spot.....the end was indeed a bit below the mark.
Keep Writing in.

Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

jyoti

Hi,
Bobby
about Kahani.. i want to add something ... that the ending is little sort of angelina jolie's "TAKING LIVES"..
What u thing.... that pretending to be pregant but not actually... intending to kill

Also i would like add the forthcoming movies BLOOD MONEY seems to be taken from Tom cruise's "THE FIRM" i seriously felt from the trailer and the scenes its been promoting in the trailer.

and about Jannat 2- from the trailer it seem little bit like nicolas cage's THE LORD OF THE WAR"

Thankyou

Jyoti

Bobby Sing

Hi Jyoti,
You are bang on target cause Kahaani does take the plots from 2 movies and I will soon write a post on it too.

Plus for Blood Money it is the same story of The Firm as well as their own Jannat in which only the business was different but the script was same. 
And for Jannat 2- it not only seems to be copying The Lord Of the War but it even has got a copied poster too.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Daman

I liked it because atleast Indian Cinema is trying their hand in crime thrillers..
Hope to see much more in this genre!

Bobby Sing

Glad that your liked it Daman Ji,
And yes they are trying their hands in this genre which deserves many more good movies from Bollywood.
as this genre is the least tried one by Hindi Film Industry till date.

Keep Visiting and Writing In,
Cheers!
HIS BLESSINGS

Dheeraj
Thanks Bobbysing,

Well I have to dis-agree

Point 1 : If she wasnt travelling as a pregnant woman then from where does she get the False Plastic Womb right inside the Airport only without knowing any person in the city itself. So in that case she had gone through a make up within the airport only before coming out which is a big loop hole.
She can carry the plastic Womb it her luggage and get its dressed in Airport rest-room. :) She can claim herself as an artist who came to Kolkata for a drama performance, that how ppl travel around for drama and other stage performance with such stuffs. nha ?? !!

Point 2 : Secondly travelling with a false plastic womb in an international flight in today's tense environment with high security alerts would have been even more disastorous for the lady herself........which again is impossible.
True, she maynot use it on the flight instead carry in her luggage.. :) Carry-ing such harmless plastic stuff wont cause any err.. Do I make sense.
Bobby Sing

Dear Dheeraj,

You are finding logical conclusions for every point raised from your own side.
Where as this is not the feature of a well made Thriller.
If only director had a scene with fast edit cuts showing that what happened before she moved out of the airport, the thriller would have been complete. But in the present form its a loop hole.

So as you can make conclusions, in the same way here are the answers to your points:

Point 1 :  She can carry the plastic Belly in her luggage and get its dressed in Airport rest-room.
Yes she can do so, no problem in that but she cannot claim herself as an artist because your VISA has a mention that for what purpose you are visiting a country. And not following the VISA details would have raised many objections. 

Point 2 : Instead carry in her luggage.. :) Carry-ing such harmless plastic stuff wont cause any err.. 
Yes she can carry that in her luggage but again that scene had to be there to explain the viewer, which the director missed.

Cheers!

Dheeraj
I always liked your review. One think to quote

"Secondly I doubted it in the first scene itself when she came out of the airport and it struck me that what are the rules of Airbuses?, Whether they allow a 7 month pregnant lady board such a long flight without any doctor or not?
"
Its never shown as she has travelled as a pregnant women in the airplan, she "came" out from airport as a pregnant women which we cant claim as plot hole... We can possibly "assume" she had a doctor accompany till the flight landed the Kolkatta Airport....
Bobby Sing

Hi Dheeraj,
Thanks a lot for appreciating my reviews. Now here are the reasons for your point made.

If she wasnt travelling as a pregnant woman then from where does she get the False Plastic Belly right inside the Airport only without knowing any person in the city itself. So in that case she had gone through a make up within the airport only before coming out which is a big loop hole.
 
Secondly travelling with a false plastic belly in an international flight in today's tense environment with high security alerts would have been even more disastorous for the lady herself........which again is impossible.

Cheers!

Dheeraj

Yeah, I am trying to find some logical consultions :).

"director had a scene with fast edit cuts showing that what happened before she moved out of the airport, the thriller would have been complete" -
Excatly. that makes the clear point and completnesss.

"she cannot claim herself as an artist because your VISA has a mention that for what purpose you are visiting a country. And not following the VISA details would have raised many objections."

Well, with the help of a senior EX IB officer, she could have gotten what is required.. Again its my way to interrepting the movie as fool-proof...

Directors left viewers to arrive at certain conclusions.. :(

Bobby Sing

Thats good but in Perfect Thrillers "If Directors leave viewers to arrive at certain conclusions" they they also give the hints in their narration too.

Like The movies of the great Alfred Hitchcock.

And moreover it doesnt happen in a good thriller that you kill a person by shooting at him right infront of the officers and no one charges your for that and you are still roaming around to solve the mystery.

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