By- Shashank Reddy.
When one goes to watch a movie, one has certain expectations from it, whether good or bad and even not having any expectations is within itself an expectation from the movie. But what if the first scene of the movie is something that you would never, ever have expected judging by the trailers and the promos?
This is the exact feeling you get within the first five minutes of Kahaani. A movie that was made out to be a thriller about a pregnant woman in searching of her missing husband in the big, chaotic city of Kolkata turns out to be something else all together in the last ten minutes. And the best part about the movie is that it is near impossible to predict this shift, though enough clues are subtly laid out throughout the movie. In retrospect, the story may at times seem a tad unreal, but never once, while watching the movie, do you doubt the script. The director, Sujoy Ghosh, deserves full marks for crafting a wonderful story that makes the audience think, doubt and question every move every character makes on screen and for those really nice subtle touches that one may or may not notice, such as Vidya Bagchi (the protagonist) not signing her name anywhere. The characters are all superbly etched out and enacted, with my personal favourite being the insurance agent-cum-contract killer with the sadistic smile and the ‘Namoskar’ before every kill. The action and circumstances are about as realistic as they get, especially once the intelligence agencies come into play. None of that Hollywood suits, big guns and bigger bangs here. The portrayal of the Intelligence Bureau as a bureaucratic structure with so much of red tape around it that its only way out is a helpless pregnant woman is, in my opinion, as realistic a portrayal of Intelligence agencies as it gets. And the gritty camera work that catches the raw energy and feel of Kolkata during the Durga Puja is one of the best I have seen in recent times.
But at the end of the day, despite the great script, the superb direction and the pitch perfect acting by the entire cast, the movie runs because of Vidya Balan. I seriously doubt whether there is any other actress in Hindi cinema who could have carried off such a role so effortlessly. Vidya Balan dominates every second of the movie. Her angst, her helplessness and her final anger are so powerfully portrayed that I’d suggest all the male superstars of the industry to just watch and learn. With Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture and now Kahaani, Vidya Balan is rewriting the script as far as women and their portrayal in movies is concerned. And forget The Dirty Picture, Vidya Balan deserves every award thrown her way for Kahaani.
Overall, the movie is one-of-a-kind thriller in Hindi cinema, that finds itself among other such gritty, dark films released over the last decade such as Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Aamir, possibly being even better than these and is definitely better that 90% of the crap that Hollywood manufactures. My suggestion? Go and get mindfucked in the best way possible.