A good comedy is one of those rare gems that comes along once in a while. Akshat Verma's directorial, Kaalakaandi, starring Saif Ali Khan, explores the dark-comedy sub-genre. And we all know how tricky it can get. Thankfully, living up to our expectations, there are no dead beat jokes here! The plot is not simple and instead contains multiple arcs with various characters. So, does the ambitious cast manage to pull this one off? Well, there has to be a catch in a film where Saif is wearing a yellow-chicken jacket, right?
What's it about
Various characters are at different junctures in their lives. Saif has just found out that he has cancer. This makes him reckless and he drops acid for the first time, leading to some really crazy antics. Vijay Raz and Deepak Dobriyal are middlemen for a gangster and are trying to make quick money. Akshay Oberoi is having pre-marriage jitters. Sobhita Dhulipala is made to fight destiny to catch a flight to the US while her boyfriend, Kunal Roy Kapoor, is coming to terms with the long-distance thing. Yes, this is a lot to take in and to think of it, I have left out some.
At least Saif Ali Khan is acting his age. I am so glad he is not romancing an actress half his age. Can we call that the silver lining of this comedy? In fact, Saif gives one of his best performances in Kaalakaandi. Had the writing been stronger, this would have been a cult character. Saif can't be praised enough for his portrayal. The mix of eccentricity and suave that he displays on screen, is commendable.
If there is anything that is a class apart in this movie, it is the performance by each and every single actor. It takes guts to get so many good actors to act in a movie as pointless as this. Vijay Raaz and Deepak Dobriyal will make the first row audience whistle loud with their use of colourful language laced with slangs. Sobhita Dhulipala is a revelation and certainly an actress Bollywood should invest in.
The laughs and gags are funny. The film works like a dark comedy but the problem is many might not get it. The audience was laughing out loud at the usage of profanities and the obvious physical comedy, but didn't even let out a chuckle when dark was funny. But for those who might get it, Kaalakaandi will be a gold mine of dark humour. There is a long bit between Saif and a trans-hooker and it is probably the best thing about this film. Despite being genuinely funny, the dialogue between the two has been sketched with a lot of sensitivity. The sound design of the movie is elite and is a much-needed break from Bollywood's shenanigans. VFX is nice too. The scenes where Saif is seen tripping, is a great visual experience.
First of all the advisory/warning by the government at the bottom of the screen EVERY DARN TIME Saif is seen tripping, was annoying to say the least. Yes, we get it, drugs are bad. One warning is enough. But this one is more on the guidelines set by government than the film itself. Coming to the film, everything that happens in the plot is so absurdly pointless. I tried my best to decode the film, understand if there is a subliminal message somewhere - but failed. The plot of the film just doesn't add up. It's a bunch of things happening to a bunch of people one fateful night. No lessons learnt, no life changing philosophies, no there-is-more-to-life-than-this-bull-crap - NADA! I mean give your movie some spine. Akshat Verma, known for writing the hilarious Delhi Belly, makes his directorial debut with this one. He tries his best to pull off a Pulp Fiction template, but doesn't quite make it. Saif Ali Khan is the major character in the film and his story ends without aplomb. While there is still some sort of a closure given to two arcs, Saif's plot doesn't reach a satisfactory end. Let alone the whole part about Akshay Oberoi's pre-marriage jitters. That one should have been chopped off at the editing table.
What to do
Watch it if you possess a keen eye to find art in the places where others can't. If you are a regular movie-goer who just wants to be entertained, sit this one out.
2.0 out of 5
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