Akshat Verma is the man who wrote the outrageously hilarious black comedy Delhi Belly which is among my favorites. Kaalakaandi is Verma’s first film as a director. The less than two hour long movie definitely has moments of outrageous fun. But those moments are far too discrete and ultimately Kaalakaandi looks dull and the multiple narratives don’t really merge smoothly.
Kaalakaandi has basically 3 narratives. One has a divorced man Rileen who has been diagnosed with cancer and doesn’t know what to do with life. The other track has a young girl who goes into a series of unexpected problems on her way to the airport as she has plans to do her PhD abroad. And in the third narrative we have two small time gangsters thinking about a plan to make it big by cheating their boss.
If you look at the scenes, everything has some sort of humor to its credit and some of them are extremely funny. Like the gangster who lost a testacle or the policeman who couldn’t run after Rileen as he was overweight and many other funny moments and anecdotes are there in this movie. The issue is that none of it merges convincingly in to the narrative. And in the second half the movie becomes too moody and watching Kaalakaandi feels like observing that friend who is high. You just can’t figure out what it is aiming to do and why is it going into all those things. It felt like the movie was gearing up for something exciting but just looses the grip completely in the midway point.
Saif Ali Khan easily becomes that first time drug user who is crazy and occasionally vulnerable. His decision to do this character that breaks the “hero” image deserves to be appreciated. The rest of the cast has a lot of actors but the sad part is that Akshat can’t give that much space to each of them. Even that narrative featuring the super talented Deepak Dobriyal and Vijay Raaz feels inadequate. Shobita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi, Kunaal Roya Kapoor, Nary Singh, Isha Talwar, Amyra Dastur and Shenaz Treasurywala are the other main actors.
From the F word to the unapologetic style of addressing scenes, Akshat Verma promises something interesting in the beginning. The trailer of the film was such an exciting one. But it is the writing that can’t connect all these narratives together in a more engaging way that causes the problems. The tempo drops considerably towards the end and I found myself clueless about what this movie was searching for. When I saw that “Karma” climax, it all looked mad, but not in an entertaining way. The cinematography was good. The sets and scenes looked authentic. The music is Akshat’s tool to connect the parallel plots, but it wasn’t providing that facility.
I am someone who enjoyed Delhi Belly and my reason for not liking Kaalakaandi is definitely not the cuss words and other “ugly” stuff. This movie is too disjoint. I tried to backtrack and make sense of a lot of things, but it wasn’t working for me.
Kaalakaandi is too disjoint. I tried to backtrack and make sense of a lot of things, but it wasn’t working for me.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended