Movie Review: Kahaani

Kahaani is a thriller which you just cannot miss. Sujoy Ghosh goes about unraveling the mystery of Vidya Bagchi’s (Vidya Balan) missing husband with such neat detailing that the trump card he reveals in the end is like a swift blow to the Solar Plexus. It catches you unawares and leaves you short of breath. Stupendous! Take a bow, Sujoy Ghosh.

This movie was a winner at the script level itself. Roping in Vidya Balan as the main protagonist was another master stroke. Mind you, there is no hero. Like in The Dirty Picture, Vidya here is the hero. Single-handedly, she takes the viewer through an experience that can be simply termed as WOW! Released on International Women’s Day, this movie definitely makes a statement for all the women in Bollywood!

There is no fanfare in her approach to a role. Vidya simply immerses herself in the character she is asked to play. She keeps to her space, and gets into a ‘zone’. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that her approach to a role in fact challenges the other actors around her to give in their best. This is what happens in Kahaani as Parambrata Chattopadhyay, who plays Rana, the sub-inspector and Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Khan the ATS officer stand equally on par with Vidya with their towering performances. Together, along with the slick editing, these three make for a compelling thriller.

The casting as well as the setting of the story in Kolkata during Durga Puja are other deciding factors that work hugely in the film’s favour. Being a Bengali, I guess, Sujoy had an upper hand in detailing the finer aspects of the city and taking it to its ultimate climax.

The film opens with a terror attack on the city’s metro. Over a 100 people have been killed in a gas leak inside a train. The action then moves to two years later. A heavily pregnant Mrs Bagchi has just arrived from London and straight away makes her way to the police station to register a complaint to find her missing husband. Arnab Bagchi had left London a month ago. For two weeks, he was constantly in touch with his wife. Suddenly all traces of him disappear.

Mrs Bagchi is in search of clues that will take her to her husband. She has just one photograph of him and with that she goes to his office. The HR head there tells her that there was no such man working in their office. Moreover, the local police have confirmed that no Arnab Bagchi left London, nor came through immigration in India. This leaves Mrs Bagchi even more confused. But she knows for sure her husband is in Kolkata, and she is hell-bent on getting to the bottom of the mystery, with or without the help of the local police.

There’s one catch here. Her husband resembles one Milan Damji, who worked for the Data Centre where her husband worked. Somehow, all traces of Damji have been wiped off, or cannot be accessed. Any attempt to get to him or have access to information on him leaves a trail of dead bodies. Damji, it appears, was the mastermind, behind the tragic train attack two years ago. So is her husband living a dual life? That’s the mystery she has to unearth. To her mind, she knows that her husband can do no such evil act! She needs to find the truth for hers and their unborn child’s sake.

Two other actors catch the eye. The young boy who works at hotel Monalisa where Mrs Bagchi stays and the chaiwalla.

Book your ticket, and brace yourself for an unforgettable ride. I’m going to watch it again.

Rating: 5 / 5

Martin D’Souza

This first appeared on on May 09, 2012

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