A mute splendour swathes every selfconsciously prettified frame of Abhishek Varman’s purported epic Kalank. I’ve never seen a trailer more eager to find acceptance as an epic. There is a note of high-anxiety in every frame.
Yes, this is producer Karan Johar’s tribute to the cinema of Sanjay Leela Bhansali.Got that. Although why the need to honour Bhansali’s cinema when Bhansali is very active,beats all rational explanation. It’s like Kamal Amrohi remaking Mughal-e-Azam instead of Pakeezah.
But then the junoon to equal if not outdistance India’s only operatic creator(Ms Bhansali) kicks in. And what we see are dancing houries and mythological figures blobbing around , a blinding blizzard of Moghul art and Hindi calendar images that together constitute the most kaleidoscopic kitsch we’ve been in commercial Hindi cinema.
But here is the thing. While the lavish luscious images of impassioned love and thwarted passion come naturally to Bhansali, in Kalank they look forced, unreal , unconvincing. Except for Alia Bhatt who would be at home even if she is out on a boat in the middle of the Amazon with only crocodiles for company, the rest of the cast looks like it could do with a shot of vodka .Neat.
Everyone needs to breathe easy in the trailer of Kalank. But the plot relentlessly pressurizes then to remain on tenterhooks. The plot, for all it is worth, has a wondrously wooden Aditya Roy Kapoor married to a beautiful statuesque Sonakshi Sinha who decides, for reasons best known to the script writers, to marry off her husband to Alia Bhatt, who clearly has the hots for Varun Dhawan.
Dhawan preens and postures and throws cheesy come-hither lines to Alia Bhatt while Sanjay Dutt does what he knows best. He issues a veiled threat to Dhawan.As for Madhuri Dixit I think she just decided to come along because the role here seems like an extension of what she did in Bhansali’s Devdas. Those dreamy tawaif Chandamukhi looks could mean one of two things. Ms Dixit is either still in character .Or she’s just wondering if her boys have had their dinner.
Everyone looks pained hurt wounded and angry in Kalank. Maybe it’s to do with the detachable papier-mache props which threaten to fall on whoever passes by.