18 Feb 2017

Movie Review: Kaabil: Lame, Compromised Thriller


A blind man, Rohan (Hrithik Roshan) and a blind woman, Supriya (Yami Gautam) meet up through common friends.Over a course of meetings, dance (inevitably) and a shopping mall lost & found episode, love blooms and they decide to get married. 

Everything is rosy in a lip-synced, well-dressed Hindi film song world until Supriya is raped by two local goons at her residence.One goon is the brother of the local city politician. As we have come to expect in reel-life and real life, the helpless couple is tortured and harassed by our 'social safeguards', the politician and the police. Things seem to simmer down, until tragedy strikes.Pushed to a corner with nowhere to go, Rohan just walks up to a police station and proclaims, "I gonna get my revenge. Catch me, but you can't." Words to that effect. 

Intermission. 

You wait for a nice juicy, even fun, vengeful second half. Instead, we get a slow, predictable cathartic conclusion. The director runs over the horror of rape with a body show. How else does one explain the cleavage-dipping Urvashi Rautela item number, post interval? It is a classic drab Hindi film 'escape to your dream moment'. Forget the film's premise, the tension, it says. Jumbling up multiple genres into one film has made bad movies of so many Hindi commercial movies, masala as we call it.  

Rohan's salary-earning talent is put to good plot use, though, but the rest is oh so filmy and loopholedLittle bits do stand out as impressive. That one clever instance about smelly socks, the safety harness bit. These are ruefully rare moments of smart writing. 

The hero-villain bashing each other up scene is another irritating Sanjay Gupta trait. Either the villain or hero has a gun, but they still prefer to beat up each other. No easy killings. The hero keeps leaving his fingerprints all over the 70mm screen and nobody cares to check. The law is blind, hence proved.

Contrived, No Thrills
Built on a tantalizing premise of a vengeful blind man, director Sanjay Gupta barely holds the first half together. It is a decent first hour, though, characters and plot connects are set up neatly, surprisingly spread over a thin layer of realism. Its finally ends up too fragile to last.   

Wanted: Faster, Sharper, Tenser 
A fast-paced format, sharper editing could have heightened the impact. But that is not to be. Again, performances make the film. 


Hrithik Roshan carries the film with all his sincere, stray-eyed dedication. In an average venture, Roshan holds us all through. He is easily among the most underrated, underutilized actor of our times. 

Yami Gautam is good too. Ronit Roy oozes menace in what is becoming a typecast role for him. But nobody is getting more typecast than the mercurial Girish Kulkarni, given another bad cop role here. Rohit Roy is adequate. Narendra Jha could have made more out a meaty top cop act.       

Great Idea, Poor Interpretation 
A great, novel concept on paper comes across as shallow. That Rohan finds peace post revenge is a dangerous concept. You can't be the same calm self after murdering people. That, among many other misplaced life-deviant elements, brings down Kaabil. It never feels immediate and close to the bone, despite the harrowing cruel act and its consequences.

Watch it for Hrithik Roshan, the undoubtedly exciting story premise and a cool first hour that brings out the best in Sanjay Gupta. The rest is a much-traveled tiresome trip down film-reel road.

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