Kalank: “Yawn”-lank!, A “Daag” on Indian Cinema History
Cast: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur,
Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Sanjay Dutt & others
Direction: Abhishek Varman
Duration: 166 Minutes (2 Hours 46 Minutes)
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Nikhil’s Rating: 1/5
I am confused as to where should I start this review. Kalank which literally translates to a stigma/stain is the latest movie to come from Abhishek Varman who had earlier made the romantic comedy 2 States, which incidentally completed 5 years just yesterday. It’s a perfect time to release his latest offering and celebrate!
Movie reviews reveal much of the plot, setting and other aspects of the movie as one expects. This review won’t reveal anything as the heading is self explanatory! More about that in a minute. The audience is treated to what many would call ‘suspension of disbelief’ that takes the audience on a journey- oh sorry, for a ride!
Kalank from the promos and trailers looked like an extraordinarily mounted epic love story with high voltage and engaging drama! But instead, “Melodrama” is Kalank’s middle name! It was a dream project for Karan Johar’s father, the late Yash Johar. He had shared the germ of this story 15 years ago! One would think that a dream of 15 long years would get the treatment of a well blossomed plant. All the aforementioned points are true, except the last statement. Abhishek Varman tries very hard to give the audience a grand scaled partition drama. But it’s the script that fails miserably and the director shoots himself in the foot. The screenplay, written by Abhishek himself is crammed with a whole lot of ideas and inspirations from the Sanjay Leela Bhansali school of filmmaking. The film could have been uncomplicated in its telling. However, it fails to engage and grab the audience by the horn- pun intended! Watch the trailer for a few shots of a computer generated bull, in a fight scene featuring the hero Varun Dhawan!- The makers put a disclaimer for obvious reasons but laws of physics and logic take a beating.
Executing a multi-starrer movie is difficult, laborious and painstaking. But if the story was the guiding force, any film can be engaging if the perspective of the director is in place. The movie chooses the flashback approach similar to the one in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag for instance. I’m sorry for bringing this film into this review. It is only a reference point and not for comparison.
The story entirely looses its grip and the audience in the first 30-40 minutes of its run-time. For me, it was a yawn-fest. Kalank makes the audience the fool and sacrifices the narrative for the SLB-style mount. The sets look artificial and not elegant as Varman might have envisioned. Varun Dhawan as Zafar tries hard to keep the film afloat. His sincere attempt shows but it is bogged down by a spineless narrative and weak storytelling. Sanjay Dutt & Madhuri Dixit look good together as a pair. Sonakshi Sinha is also a part of this ensemble. Sanjay Dutt sleepwalks through his role as a father to Aditya Roy Kapur. Madhuri Dixit and Alia Bhatt’s talent is wasted. The watchable performance is by Kunal Khemu as Abdul. He plays intense character and is somewhat watchable, amidst this crowded bunch. Khemu sinks his teeth into it, and justifies his presence.
Kalank has another major drawback.For starters, Its length is far too long for the audience to keep focus. It could not have been an issue if the story had meat to it. The songs barring Ghar More Pardesiya are entirely forgetful and misplaced. The Tabah Ho Gaye song has some ungraceful choreography & Madhuri Dixit, The “DANCER” falls in that trap! It is a film that overuses high-speed shot taking. High-speed is a term used to denote slow motion. The camerawork by Binod Pradhan is the saving grace. Every frame is painstakingly composed. I tried very hard to be entertained as a cinephile. But alas! A line from a song in the Salman Khan starrer Jai Ho comes to mind: Aam Aadmi udaas hai, baaki sab first class hai!