Kaalakaandi Movie Review: It Is Trippy , Enjoyable & Revealing

Starring: Saif Ali  Khan, Akshay Oberoi, Ishita Talwar, Sobhita Dhulipala,  Kunal Roy Kapoor,  Vijay Raaz,  Deepak Dobriyal,  Shivam Patil, Shernaaz Treasurywala, Nary Singh

Written  & Directed: Akshat Varma

Rating: *** ½(3 and a half stars)

For those who lament  the lack of  skilful scrren writing, Kaalakaandiis an earful and an eyeful. A feast for the senses, this  beast of  a film is hard to tame and  even harder to define. Simmering  on a slowburn,  roasted  at   a temperature where the edges  are singed while the centre remain raw and bleeding, this is a work of  tremendous creative  chaos  bolstered and buoyed  by an adrenaline-pumping energy that you would instantly recognize  if you’ve seen Akshat Varma’s writing  in the pronouncedly profane  Delhi Belly

But hang on.  This is  not Delhi Belly Part 2. This is Mumbai Mayhem Part  1. Fiercely  original and  delectably  feisty  it has  a feeling of  tingling  sexiness  to it,  much of it can be attributed  to its gorgeous  cast. The  film is populated  with interesting  good-looking faces like Isha Talwar playing a wedding photographer whose lenses capture  more than just images, and Amyra Dastur as  a bride so blindingly blissful she makes  her groom look sheepishly compromised.

The entire ensemble  cast comes together to lend  a looming  urgency  to the  proceedings.

Saif Ali Khan sportingly  participates  in what  is possibly the mosttrippy  film of his career. He is a man on death row with many dreams to live out.He is just been  told he’s dying, and now he has  to be part of  a night adventure that  would remind him how much one can pack into 8-9 hours if you set your mind and heart to it.

It’s  very hard to describe  the  unstoppable flow of   originalunexpunged ideas in this one-night-in-the-metro story where one man  gets to know he  is dying and  another, coincidentally his  younger brother,  gets to know he is actually not the horny bastard he  thought he was. The two brothers are played with smart sharp strokes of wicked satire  by Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Oberoi. Khan and  Oberoiare not just brothers they are soul mates  in  search  of  a relevance beyond  the  din and chaos of endless partying.

The cast is so vast and they all seem  to  have a  blast.Vijay Raaz andDeepak Dobriyal as  a couple  of henchmen  , one of whom comes to a sticky end , play against one another with such suave  aplomb, it is like   watching  two expert tennis players on two sides  of  an invisible   net.Raaz and Dobriyal are  fantastically entertaining.

Elsewhere  the beautiful Sobhita Dhulipala accompanied by her silently supportive boyfriend(Kunaal Roy Kapoor) will expose  a moral  probity that would shock even the jaded law enforcers  before the  night is through.

I  loved the way writer-director Akshat Varma mixes the sublime and  the profane  as though they always belonged  together. We just didn’t look .Hence  when Saif befriends  a perky transvestite prostitute(Nary Singh), sneaks into a ladies’ washroom to take  peep at what he/she has down there, we are not shocked.This is that rare  film  which romances  the  renegade and emerges with  some  of the most striking characters and images seen in  a Hindi film . Well, Hindi film…technically speaking. A  lot of  the  very pithy and peppery  dialoguesare in English. And  if the  ‘F’ word  makes you wince then the picturesque  conversations  of  the emotional  drifters  in this edgy satire will make you want to  clobber them  on their heads  .

The  atmosphere  is hallucinatory. The tempo is breakneck.And  the  mood is  reckless. Are you ready for   the  ride?Like them  or hate them, you  cannot ignore the droves  of  characters in writer AkshatVarma’s directorial  debut.Varma  knows Mumbai’s throbbing cultural arteries and  social veins. His script gets an able ally in cinematographer Himman Dhamija. Together they amble  in and  out of situations that  would be outrageously funny if all the madness didn’t secrete  a cautionary  sobriety.

Have fun, says  the  film, while its lasts. But don’t forget to thanks the powers-that-be for  the gift  of  life. In one  vividly etched  sequence a girl borrows a bartender’s coat in exchange for  a kiss to sneak out of a  police  raid.

That bartender’s  name, Manohar,  is on the  coat. To remind us that exchanging identities  temporarily  is  more often than not, a very temporal liberating  experience. Kaalakaandi assumes  many identities and  eventually abandons  all  of them for that one core truth that controls our destiny.

Death .This film  dares to laugh in  face  of  mortality.That’s  what makes it so  brave  and unique.

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