‘Kaalakaandi’ review: Lacklustre lives from a megapolis

Disparate individuals in megapolis Mumbai, at critical junctures in their respective lives, facing major dilemmas; separated by class divides but unknowingly united yet determining each other’s destinies. Kaalakaandi takes place in the matter of one night that unequivocally changes things for the characters forever. The multiple stories device has been used time and again, in ingenuous ways and to great effect, in movies as varied as Amores Perros, Magnolia, Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and more. Kaalakaandi, however, fails to rise above insipidness; none of the tracks is compelling, no character or situation persuasive enough. Director Akshat Verma neither gives the film any freshness and novelty, nor any depth and deliberation. Even the supposed black humour isn’t pert enough to tickle consistently.

  • Director: Akshat Verma
  • Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Sobhita Dhulipala, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Akshay Oberoi, Kunaal Roy Kapur
  • Storyline: Three varied groups of people cross each other’s paths unknowingly during the course of a single night and find their destinies altered forever
  • Runtime: 111.54 minutes

The good guy Saif Ali Khan (he whispers his name only once, towards the fag end; was it Vineet?) has to suddenly square up to his imminent death and goes haywire, feeding his curiosity for drugs and transvestites. He drops acid and goes bananas even as his brother Angad (Akshay Oberoi) gets conflicted about his impending wedding. Sobhita Dhulipala is at crucial point too — going to Boston for further studies while leaving the boyfriend (Kunaal Roy Kapur) behind. Meanwhile, two crooks — Deepak Dobriyal and Vijay Raaz — plan on their next defining loot while serving the big don and playing cards over chai in an Irani restaurant. It’s all about latent regret and guilt, trespasses and betrayals all culminating in a shootout, a car jumping the signal and a hit and run case.

Some basic special effects are used to render a visual dimension to Khan’s addled brain even as warning against use of illegal, psychotropic drugs keeps flashing on the screen and some characters chatter on about the legalisation of marijuana. It is intrepid actors like Dobriyal, Raaz, Oberoi and Khan himself who inject some life in the dull script. Khan is especially delightful, alternating between the slapstick and the sombre with an off the cuff ease. The “Cape of Good Hope” and “Australia” bits he gets to speak are the noteworthy chuckle-inducing bits in a largely bland, facile and slight fare.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 12:03:37 AM |

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