Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Story: Sujoy Ghosh, Advaita Kala
Actors: Saswata Chatterjee, Vidya Balan and Parambrata Chatterjee
Review By: Vidit Bhargava
Even though, Kahaani has been advertised as a thriller, our characters are not put into unnecessary mortal peril or being kidnapped and being ported to different continents. This being reminiscent of most modern day thrillers, be it books or movies. Kahaani provides thrills quite differently. There is that uncanny touch to it, that puts you on the edge of your seat, thinking of what will happen next. All this is done with a very subtle backdrop and some good background music, which makes you feel as if you were along side the main leads solving the mystery.
There is little to disclose about the plot here, there are many twists and turns which are served to you during the course of this two hour thriller. The story revolves around a pregnant Vidya Bagchi (Played by Vidya Balan) who has arrived in India in search for her missing husband. But the problem is, that there are no records about the fellow at all. What follows next is Vidya's pursuit in find her missing husband, filled with appropriate twists and turns.
The Plot is original, but it is slightly inspired by popular literature like the Dan Brown thrillers. You'll find a few ideas taken from the 'Dan Brown Thriller Stencil' in this movie. There is a gruesome prologue, seemingly unconnected to the plot of the film, A hit-man answering to a unknown caller and executing murders by the confirmation of an MMS. There even is a subtle epilogue fixed into the movie. But truth be told, Sujoy Ghosh has created a thriller which is much better than Dan Brown's attempts using similar tools.
Also the screen play is slightly inspired from Satyajit Ray's mysteries. The scene about running hot-water and Vidya Balan Opening the Windows of her room and sitting on the sill to see the city-scape are an ode to Satyajit Ray. But the director never lifted stuff directly from the books. In-direct references are only a tribute to the famous director.
Acting is top-notch. Parambrata Chatterjee As Satyaki is phenomenal. Nawazuddin Siddiqui over does a little as the curt Intelligence Officer but is fine most of the time. The scene where his bellowing at Vidya Balan suddenly changes to a polite 'plea' was done with great poise. Vidya Balan is on a roll, this is probably her best performance we've seen in years. Moreover her character was written brilliantly, keeping any question of a weak performance at bay.
One of the key elements of a good thriller is to create an element of shock and surprise at the end i.e. the point where the mystery unfolds. Sujoy Ghosh, does it quite nicely and puts the audience into a complete silence. Of course the effects on audience may vary from place to place, you may hear a sudden gasp, a loud whistle, some praises or even claps. Trust me, The mystery is that good, no one seems to have complained so far. I heard from lots of people about the movie, and all of them were spell-bound about the climax, they said it was one of the best they've seen in a thriller. Personally, I think that the climax was great but it could have been done with much more intensity and could have created a bigger impact. People sometimes go to a Hindi thriller with toned down expectations about its mystery but Kahaani is not a 'Kahaani' to be Underestimated. But all is not so good about the film, even though the mystery is more or less brilliant, it does leave a loop-hole or two, which leaves you slightly disappointed.
Anyone who has seen 'Kahaani' would really be dead scared of these words, "Namoshkar!... Main Bob Biswas. Ek Minute". Bob Biswas is easily the best hit man ever created in a Hindi Movie. Played by the talented Saswata Chatterjee, Biswas is an LIC Agent in the mornings, and a brutal Assassin after work hours. The character of Bob Biswas is exceptionally well written. The dual nature of Bob is what makes him so dangerous. He may look like a local Bengali, an every day working man with a job at one of the 'Daftars' with a tinge of charm. His polite demeanor, carefully masks his true blood and makes him look totally Harmless. Moreover, he doesn't even look like a Hit-Man, he is in his mid-ages, slightly overweight, gets tired easily and might not be the ideal choice incase of a quick escape. But that is hardly needed, since Biswas, is an Assassin of the first order, he completes his task without so much as a hint of suspicion on him. In a sequence in the film, Vidya Balan is thrown towards a speeding Kolkata Metro by our Assassin Bob Biswas , only pulled back in time to be politely asked to go away. The fear that creeps Vidya Balan and the audience is quite genuine. Bob Biswas, is a truly inspirational character. And Saswata Chatterjee pulls it off with great ease. I am sure, we'll be seeing more of him, in the near future.
Kahaani is an entertaining thriller which requires your grey-cells to be in great form. It's a blink and miss movie, you just can't move from your seats while watching the movie. It's certainty the best Hindi movie in 2012 so far and will be ranked amongst the classics in time to come. Also, the movie has a replay ability, even though most of the movie depends on a mystery. You'll still enjoy it because of its calm backdrop and awesome performances.
Rating: *** 1/2 /5 (Amazing)