Kahaani Movie Review: an enthralling, engaging and absorbing thriller
Sujoy Ghosh director of Kahaani weaves a kahaani (story) to thrill us; and Vidya Bagchi played by Vidya Balan weaves a kahaani to accomplish her mission in the movie. What is the real kahaani? Is it the struggle of a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband in the city of Kolkata, as it seems to be from trailers, promos and previews before the release? No. It is an extraordinary kahaani of unflinching desire for revenge that sets an ordinary woman on a mission; the mission to destroy the evil (or villain in the typical cinematic language).
Kahaani is the story of a wife who loses her husband Arnab Basu, played by Abir Chatterjee, in a mass-killing incident in Kolkata Metro 2 years back and the story of a mother who loses her unborn baby in the womb due to the shock of her husband’s death. The focus of the plot keeps changing with the narrative drive proceeding towards the climax. In the beginning, it is Arnab Bagchi the missing husband of Vidya’s character. Then it is Indranil Sengupta’s Milan Damchi the villain who is the mastermind behind the mass-killing Kolkata Metro event. Whatever the focus of the plot is, it is the National Award winning Vidya who is in the center of the plot, steals the show and entertains us.
Climax is supposed to be the end of a story. Here does Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani go different from usual thrillers. The suspense pervading the narration from the very beginning does not cease to thrill the audience with the climax – the killing of Milan Damchi and the destruction of the evil. The suspense continues to lie heavy on the minds until who Vidya Bagchi is and why she kills Milan Damchi are revealed.
Vidya Basu weaves the kahaani of a pregnant woman Vidya Bagchi in quest of her mission husband, and uses other characters – Parambrata Chatterjee a Kolkata police officer, and Nawazuddin Sidiqqui an IB officer – as milestones to cover the distance in order to reach her target Milan Damchi. Apart from Vidya, Kolkata is another important character in the movie. Kahaani is an exploration drive in and around the city of Kolkata through the director’s lens. The portrait of Kolkata in this movie is a Slice of Real Life.
The puzzling lanes and alleys of Kolkata get merged with the thrilling twists and turns in the movie. Sujoy Ghosh holds the camera lens penetrates the serpentine lanes with crumbling houses and the crowded markets to reveal Kolkata’s claustrophobic self which has not been explored in the reel before. Roadside chow mean, parar cha, (local tea), standstill traffic, Kumor Tuli, dhaki, dhunuchi nach, sindur khela, lal par saada sari (white sari with red border), immersion of Durga idols, languid administration system, local train, Howrah Bridge, Metro station, Park Street, and the typical Bengali pronunciation of ‘computer’ – the identities of Kolkata – are shown as building blocks of Vidya’s kahaani in the movie Kahaani.
Kahaani is a powerhouse in performance of the major and minor characters. Vidya Balan rocks; and the portrayal of other characters is much convincing. Kahaani whose end is marked by the victory of the good over the evil on the last day of Durga puja, is “enthralling, absorbing and engaging” according to the noted movie critic Subhash K. Jha. The plot and the scrip are gripping from cover to cover.
No wonder, if Kahaani is rewarded with the National Award for the best film, the best actress, the best director, the best screenplay, and the best cinematography the next year. The budding filmmakers can learn a lot about the celluloid storytelling technique from Kahaani that proves to be a game-changing thriller.
Finally, to say in brief and precisely Kahaani is fatafati (excellent).