Movie Review: Kahaani (Hindi) 148

Vidya Balan seems to be riding the crest these days. After pulling off three movies, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica and ‘The Dirty Picture’ almost as the sole lead, and winning a national award for her last entrée, she has hit the sweet spot yet again with this week’s release ‘Kahaani’, a suspense thriller set in Kolkata.

Just as the trailers suggest, the story is about a heavily pregnant Bidya err Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) who arrives in Kolkata looking for her husband who had arrived there on work and gone missing. Given the predicament, there is enough scope for drama. But, more interestingly, there is an undercurrent of an espionage thriller.

The pre-title sequence opens with a chemical attack in Kolkata Metro. Cut to two years later, Vidya arrives in town for her quest and approaches the city police. Rana, newbie cop (Parambrata Chatterjee) has a soft corner for her and accompanies her in her hunt. Vidya seems to hit a dead-end in her search as nobody seems to know her husband Arnab Bagchi. But as they dig deeper, they uncover darker secrets.

Okay! The discussion about the film’s story has to stop here. It’s a suspense flick after all. So, knowing anything more can spoil your experience. In fact, one can describe ‘Kahaani’ as an interesting multi-layered package that is unwrapped slowly, one layer at a time. Although it can seem slightly lengthy at some point, carefully planned twists will keep you glued to the screen. Also, notice the attention to detail in every scene.

Many have been raving about Vidya Balan’s performance. Full marks to her! But, what holds ‘Kahaani’ together is writer-director Sujoy Ghosh’s watertight screenplay. The film is much unlike the regular bollywood thrillers that rely on stylish European locations, slick stunts, fast cars and scantily-clad women. Truly commendable!

Among other goodies is Parambrata Chatterjee’s has acted well along with some powerful performances by Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Khan, Saswata Chatterjee as Bob Biswas with Indraneil Sengupta in a brief role. Vishal-Shekhar’s music has nothing striking, but flows with the film. Camerawork and editing is also neat.

Filmmakers exploring cities other than Mumbai is relatively a recent phenomenon. While Delhi-based flicks gave the audience respite from tiresome Mumbai-based stuff, Kolkata is an interesting choice. The director effectively portrays the city’s warmth, comfortable in its own timewarp while also providing the perfect setting for a thriller. Set around the time of Durga Puja, the film showcases the city’s culture too.

My advice: don’t Google or ask-a-friend to know the suspense. Go to your nearest screen and catch the movie. Trust me, it’s totally worth it!

Rating 8/10: A well-written and worthy desi espionage thriller!