Kalank Movie Review: A great cinematic experience, but is it worth a watch?
Kalank Movie Review: By no means is Kalank an unbearable film, but there is a constant tryst to divert our attention from its storyline. The film stars Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur, Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Sanjay Dutt
U/A: Action, Drama, History
Director: Abhishek Varman
Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapur
Not one to get wooed by the scale and production value of a film, I can't help but be smitten by the sheer beauty of Abhishek Varman's Kalank. In 2019, when Netflix rules our lives, this film is a rare cinematic experience that blends in opulence, glamour with a solid story about a family torn by its own skeletons in the closet. Star crossed pairs, their infidelities and how it destroys the world around them.
Drawn to forbidden pleasures and immoderate love is Roop, played with heft by Alia Bhatt. Varman's vast screenplay primarily plays off the luminous chemistry between Bhatt and co-star Varun Dhawan. There's a tantalising quality about their pairing and Varman uses this element to full effect. But a lot of the emotions drown in its self imposed ornate design of the film, which gives it a synthetic quality.
Watch the trailer of Kalank here:
So when a feisty Rajputana girl (Alia's Roop) is compelled by circumstances to marry a man (Aditya Roy Kapur's Dev) she can't even recognise in broad daylight, you want to discover more about their faulty dynamics. Or even how a well-educated woman like her, who has opinions strong enough to be voiced in front of an all-male team of writers running a flourishing newspaper, would fall for a visibly dubious man (Varun Dhawan's Zafar) with a promiscuous life. All of this and much more about the period's socio-political submerges beneath Binod Pradhan's gorgeous cinematography. It's almost as if there is a barrier between the audience and the characters - a gulf presumably created because of the director's reluctance to delve deeper into the plot.
Kalank movie poster
It's at the casting department, Varman scores big. Raging with simmering pain, Varun's aching performance beautifully transcends from showing him as a bitter man thirsty for revenge to a kind soul softened by love. Aditya's character has little graph but he adds soul to his act, supported adequately by Sonakshi Sinha who keeps her brief role serene all through. The seniors - Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt bring their effortless experience in a climactic sequence which packs a punch. Kunal Kemmu's grey part is portrayed with flair.
By no means is Kalank an unbearable film, despite being nearly 2 hours 48 minutes long. But there is a constant tryst to divert our attention from its storyline; Varman distracts us with his suggestive background scores, special numbers and sometimes even the perfectly created Manish Malhotra costumes. It's also equally problematic that a film set in pre-Partition doesn't stir up much political conversations throughout the narrative. There are stray mentions of their noble intentions but it remains largely detached from the divisive politics of the time it is set in. It also pays a tribute to Sanjay Leela Bhansali's school of filmmaking by borrowing a lot of his trademark sequences (especially Alia's entry which reminds one of Aishwarya's first scene in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam). Varman's prism is fresh - his women aren't caricatures, his characters aren't perfect. Roop is innately flawed, her decisions are damaging but she fights back for love with all her might. His men aren't all heroic and larger than life; they stumble, are unforgiving and equally faulty.
Watch the video of the Kalank movie review here:
I was reminded of Deepa Mehta's masterpiece - 1947, Earth, rightly melodramatic, potently emotional which walked the tightrope of a love triangle in stormy times in a balanced way. Kalank doesn't aim for that depth. It's content in being pretty even when it has the potential of so much more.
Kalank screening: Janhvi Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur attend:
Kalank Movie Review: Impressive or not?