The Akarsh Khurana film Karwaan that marks Dulquer Salmaan’s debut to Hindi film industry is a breezy cheerful film that is somewhere familiar and yet engaging. Just like how we say Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is about the miseries of the wealthy or how some say Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani is a glossy take on friendship, there is a texture of an unreal factor somewhere in the storyline (especially when you apply the logic factor to a lot of things set in the Kerala backdrop). But the film ultimately is going through a particular emotional connect of three diverse characters and because of the grounded nature of those emotions, Karwaan is enjoyable.
Avinash works in a software firm in Bangalore. He hates his job and he was forced to do this job by his father who discouraged him from going after his passion, which was photography. One day he gets a call saying his father passed away in an accident and the body has been sent to him via airlines. When he went to collect the body of his father, he came to know that they received the wrong body and his father’s body was at Kochi. So Avinash and his friend Shaukat decides to take the body to Kochi and the movie revolves around the eventful journey in which they meet one more person, Tanya.
The story idea behind the film is credited to Bejoy Nambiar. If you are wondering how good the feel-good factor here is, let me tell you that the dialogues are written by Hussain Dalal whom I believe has a major role in making a lot of us watch YJHD again and again. Akarsh makes sure that the cleverly mixed dialogues are rendered in the most natural way and Irrfan Khan is having a ball with his improvised humor bits. If I am not wrong, the major events in the film are happening over a course of three to four days. This constantly makes me a bit worried about the condition of the body they are carrying. Yes, the character Tanya at one point has mentioned about the decomposition and the need for ice, but the film looks so elaborate that it was just constantly popping up in my head.
Irrfan Khan is having a blast on screen and soon after his introduction, we are constantly hoping for him to come back so that things will lighten up. There is a moment that has Shoukat breaking down talking about his mom and I really loved the way he never lost the grip over the basic nature of Shaukat. Dulquer Salmaan as the introvert Avinash underplays the role neatly and we can feel the gradual change of the judgmental moody man to an optimistic person. The character arc of Tanya played by Mithila Palkar also goes through a similar transformation and the actress plays it impressively. Kriti Kharbanda, Amala Akkineni, Akarsh Khurana are the other actors who have played notable characters in the film.
Karwaan is not excessively glossy. In fact the visual texture sort of reminded me of Wake Up Sid. Akarsh Khurana keeps it simple and the dynamic between characters look organic. Even after being a Keralite, the movie’s representation of Kerala as this entirely exotic place was a bit unconvincing. To an extent, we also love it but don’t make it a tourism ad. A portion that gave me a major discomfort was the wedding that comes in between the journey and Akarsh Khurana has tried to make sense of it using Tanya who asks Avinash to be not judgmental about that. The conversations have humorous, humane and intellectual shades which I believe would make you watch this movie in your laptop as a stress buster. The moments that sort of focused on the common conflict each character faced had a nice feel to its credit. The cinematography was beautiful with elegant looking frames. Music is really catchy and blends with the narrative effortlessly.
Karwaan has interesting characters, rooted emotions and a slice of life feel to it. Yes, it has its share of errors in being completely convincing (like I still find the route map a bit confusing), but if it is the feel you are looking for then this one has it.
Karwaan has its share of errors in being completely convincing, but if it is the feel you are looking for then this one has it.