Saif Is the Reason Kaalakaandi Works Despite Its Lows
Kaalakaandi is fun in parts and one which the ubiquitous multiplex audience might like.
Saif Is the Reason ‘Kaalakaandi’ Works Even in Its Dipping Points
Often film reviewers and critics tend to say certain niche films are meant "for multiplex audiences". I do not know what that means but I'm tempted to borrow it and say that Kaalakaandi, which marks the directorial debut of Delhi Belly writer Akshat Verma, will appeal to this particular category of people! But who constitutes this multiplex audience? The ones who shop at Zara? Prefer English to Hindi? Or just the ones who enjoyed Delhi Belly, have an appetite to stomach "regular se hatke" ideas and have a fondness for Saif Ali Khan's suave style .
Much is being made about Kaalakaandi being another Delhi Belly. There are of course some familiar faces and a similar irreverent style of storytelling but Kaalakaandi is tripping to its own tune (pun intended).
For starters, there are just too many characters to take in.
One night in Mumbai, the six main characters cross paths thanks to karma and coincidence. Saif (who remains unnamed till the very end of the film) is nearing death after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. Numbed by the news and high on the "pill" his relative gives him, he sets off with his cousin Angad (Akshat Oberoi) on what can at best be described as an adventurous drive around the city.
Angad, meanwhile, is on a different tangent feeling jittery about his shaadi. Then there is a jealous boyfriend (Kunal Roy Kapoor) sulking as his girlfriend (Sobhita Dhuliapala) is flying off to Boston to do her PhD.
In another part of the city, two small time crooks (Vijay Raaz and Deepak Dobriyal) are trying to hatch plans to smuggle the money they must deliver to their boss. It's a busy night with many twists thrown in, but Saif has the most colourful excursion of them all and one we most enjoy witnessing.
The primary reason Kaalakaandi works despite straying off multiple times into ‘blah’ territory is lead actor Saif Ali Khan. Self assured, wearing his edginess without much ado, he manages to look convincing even when he sees dolphins jumping around him or when genuinely rueing the lack of time he has at hand – an absolute delight!
The ensemble cast comprising Vijay Raza and Deepak Dobriyal deliver yet again with their perfectly timed repartees. And while the lack of depth in the characters at times spoils the fun, Sobhita Dhuliapala, Kunal Roy Kapur and Shenaz Treasurywala are still on their best behaviour.
A special mention for Nary Singh (Sheela) whose scenes with Saif Ali Khan are some of the most heartwarming moments in the film. Those are the times that show the highs that Kaalakaandi could have touched if only the writing had been a little more taut and gripping.
Over all, Kaalakaandi is fun in parts and one which the ubiquitous multiplex audience might like. It's A-rated, so make sure to leave your Taimurs at home. I give it 3 quints out of 5.
Producer: Abhishek Ranjan
Camera: Shiv Maurya
Editor: Puneet Bhatia
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