At one point towards the end of the film Kalank, Roop asks Zafar “Tum seedhe Jawab kyun nahi de sakhte?” (Why can’t you give straight answers?) And I was like, excuse me? You should hear yourself talking and perhaps ask the same question to every character in the movie including you. Some of you may say if Bhansali can do it in his films, why not Abhishek Varman? Well, the movie Kalank will clearly answer that question as it shows the inability to place grandeur and use it gracefully. Even after its leading lady Alia Bhatt delivering an earnest and intense performance as Roop, Kalank ends up as a dull film.

SPOILER ALERT! Satya Chaudhry, the ailing wife of Dev Chaudhry has been diagnosed with cancer and the doctor says she has only one or two years left. Satya who loved her husband and took care of the entire family decides to ask Roop, a young and educated woman to come and stay with them so that Roop can understand Dev more and she can eventually marry him when Satya passes away (creepy request). The story of Kalank is primarily about the conflicted Roop who falls in love with a man named Zafar after getting married to Dev.


There are two instances in the film where the makers have placed the concept of really close people not knowing each other’s face. A groom who completed the wedding ceremony with his bride sitting next to him doesn’t know how she looked like. And a guy who hates a lot of people for ruining his life doesn’t know how one key person whom he hates and envies looked like. I am specifically talking about these two moments because it sort of broke the cheesy feel of the movie and made us go “what?!” Kalank is a movie where the characters and their pain should have lingered in our minds. But when you have such a shallow script, it is really difficult to create those emotions. The structure of the script is pretty dated and they haven’t given much emphasis on the writing part to approach the content in an intriguing way.

At the midway point, we are given a clear picture of Zafar and his motive. Perhaps what excited the filmmaker in Abhishek Varman was the grey shade in that. But the screenplay of the movie written by Varman himself has no real interest in showing us the sufferings and reasons of Zafar. Because of that when you see that sacrificing Zafar in the end, there is no real empathy getting generated there.  As I mentioned above, the screenplay is struggling to add sequences that add to the purpose in a subtle way. I am still clueless about that tacky bullfight in the film. There is a sequence where Sonakshi Sinha gives a smile when she sees Roop and Dev forming a bond, and the problem is that it looked so cheesy. Towards the end when the heroine tells the audience that whether they see stigma or love in the story depends on their perspective, I was like, no sister, nobody will see any stigma here. It is just an old school Bollywood romance. The production design is grand here and along with the stunning photography of Binod Pradhan, Abhishek Varman has managed to create the look of a Bhansali film, but Hussain Dalal’s dialogues and Varman’s own screenplay wasn’t really helping the movie in creating the feel. As an album, the music by Pritam is really good, but it doesn’t have the grace to save this exhausting drama.

Alia Bhatt as Roop is the best thing about Kalank. Her portrayal of the ambitious, talkative, strong Roop is really flawless. She sort of had the ability to minimize the theatricality in the overly metaphorical and sophisticated dialogues. Varun Dhawan has the intensity to be Zafar, but there are moments where you can sense a bit of eccentricity in his portrayal. I actually liked Aditya Roy Kapoor’s calmer portrayal of Dev and it looked poised and subtle. I think they unnecessarily added too much of song and dance to the character Bahaar Begum just to make it a celebration for Madhuri fans. The actress was good, but whichever scenes that had her performing gracefully were written sloppily. The special appearances by Kunal Khemu and Kiara Advani had more length than the role of Satya played by Sonakshi Sinha. Sanjay Dutt doesn’t have much to perform here.

Kalank is 166 minutes long and for a huge part of that runtime, this movie is flat out dull. Cameo dance performances and Saroj Khan choreographed songs may have created the ambiance of an epic love story. But the surface level exploration of India Pakistan partition isn’t helping this love story in creating any emotional impact.

Rating: 2/5

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Final Thoughts

Even after its leading lady Alia Bhatt delivering an earnest and intense performance as Roop, Kalank ends up as a dull film.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.