A pregnant woman in search of her missing husband….
Well this is the pretext with which Sujoy Ghosh’s fourth film Kahaani opens up. A heavily pregnant Vidha Bagchi, played by Vidya Balan, comes from London and straightaway heads to the police station to file a missing complaint for her husband Arnab who had also come from the same city to Kolkata and then went missing.
And thus begins the saga of a story that makes us foray into the alleys and by lanes of a city that had hardly been captured so well by a lenseman. Probably because director Sujoy Ghosh was himself brought up in the city and its beauty had enmeshed him so well that he could capture it in such a unique light. Kolkata even in its overcrowded state had not appeared so beautiful and inspiring at least in recent times. The beauty of the city does not lie in its clean roads and rossogolla and mishti doi, the stereotypes for an outsider. It is the essence of the charm that lies in its people, the shabby lanes, the chai r bhar, Ganga r ghat and the overall spirit of the city that is captured so well in the film. Before we understand, the city becomes an important character in the film. The time selected for the plot is Durga Puja – the mother of all festivals for Bengalis – quite naturally the story that cooks up in its underbelly is also ‘a mother of a story’.
The search for a husband by a pregnant lady is the pretext that delves deep into another quite complicated and arresting plot and before we have gathered enough courage to come out of its impact, we are just blown apart by the stunning twist in the tale of Kahaani in the end. This suspense thriller seems to suck the audience so well into the quagmire of events, which startle us one after the other that at times we forget we are actually not a part of the kahaani.
The Jhankar Beats man Sujoy Ghosh has crafted the film with an interesting star cast of Vidya Balan in the lead supported entirely by the Tolly team of quite efficient actors. Vidya Balan seems to be having a mother of a time these days. With the stupendous success of Dirty Picture that even fetched her the National Award, Vidya has again stunned her audience with a power-packed performance in Kahaani. She emotes not only through her words and gestures but her eyes as well and that is when we realise that her struggle has become ours as well and we seem to be sharing her problems and difficulties. When she visits the morgue or struggles her way into the alleys of Kolkata risking her life for the search of her husband, whose absence she admits has left her life nothing short of a joke; it is not sympathy we feel but the empathy that increases our oneness with the plot. We would be quite surprised if Vidya Balan doesn’t manage to grab a National Award for Kahaani as well.
Among the other cast Saswato Chatterjee has proved once again what a tremendously powerful actor he is. He plays a serial killer in this film and his body language and attire are very different from the usual meaty performers whom we usually see in other films. However, Saswata outshines other with his looks. The sinister look in his eyes evokes fear in us and the scene where he almost hurls Vidya into the tracks of the Metro we are just short of crying out in fear. Parambrata Chatterjee also deserves the accolades with his mesmerising performance of a cop who assists Vidhya in her plight. His character’s name is Satwaki, Arjun’s assistant, and in the film he truly embodies a character of Krishna incarnate for Vidya. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, the brilliant actor from Firaaq and New York shows once again what a truckload of talent he is. He plays a no-nonsense cop who can bend rules to get his man in any way possible. His conversations with Vidhya are the tensest moments in the film. Dhritiman Chatterji, Darshan Jariwalla, Kunal Pandhy, Kalyan Chatterjee, Shantilal Mukherjee … all the actors were outstanding in their commendable performances. Amitabh Bachchan like always leaves an impact with his baritone voice and his Jodi tor dak shune keu na ashe tobe ekla cholo re.
The film that was released two days after International Woman’s Day, is once again a tribute to womanhood and true woman power. The time selected for the plot to hatch is Durga Puja – and it shows that indeed a woman has it in her to bend the conventional and get her mission accomplished if she wishes to do so. The last scene where Vidhya rises up in a white red bordered sari after annihilating her adversary, with the sound of conch shell and ululation in the background, we truly feel she is Devi incarnate for all who like Ma Durga has demolished the modern-day Mahisasur.
The film is indeed a kahaani that is hardly explored in recent times. So please do watch this explosive of a film for a truly out of the box experience. Aami shotti bolchi.
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