Despite being one of the most anticipated films of the year, Kalank, directed by Abhishek Varman, is the definition of all visuals no content and we just couldn’t be more disappointed!
Rating – 2.5 / 5 ⭐️⭐️½
How often is it that a film has simply everything in its favour – a drool-worthy ensemble cast, KJo & Sajid Nadiadwala as producers, an epic playlist, a passable storyline…and not to forget, a ridiculously massive audience support! In which case, is it too much to ask for at least a slightly graceful execution? But alas, all we are left with is empty, lifeless characters trapped in sparkling costumes and an ornate set!
A period-historic film, set in Husnabad, Lahore in 1946, Kalank follows the story of Roop (Alia Bhatt), a young beautiful girl, who sacrifices her carefree life and marries Dev Chaudhry (Aditya Roy Kapur) to fulfil the ultimate desire of his cancer-diagnosed wife Satya (Sonakshi Sinha). However, Roop’s life takes an unexpected turn when she falls madly in love with Zafar (Varun Dhawan), but little does she know that the saga is yet to unfold and the worst is yet to come…
“Kuch rishtey karz ki tarah hote hai, unhe nibhaana nahi, chukaana padta hai”
Kalank’s biggest flaw is its inability to understand the concept of ‘less is more’, which is almost non-existent in all of modern Indian cinema. Although the film dwells on complex cinematic themes such as unrequited love, forbidden relations, revenge and passion, it’s a shame that every scene, every dialogue, every action is simply screaming out the same idea over and over again, thereby, dampening the raw emotions and losing out on the film’s true essence. From the very beginning, every scene, regardless of its relevance, is cluttered with way too much going on all at once (wedding, songs, death, emotional turmoil and whatnot). And to add to that, the film’s sense of time distribution was completely off – hours were spent on some of the most insignificant parts whereas the important ones were simply rushed through! And randomly introducing a flashback angle with Roop narrating her story to a journalist 15 minutes well into the film was, might I say, senseless!
Two of Kalank’s strongest points (other than Alia & Varun that is) were its spellbinding visual appeal and its hard-hitting dialogues – my favourite one being cameo Kiara Advani’s “Parvana shamma se chaahe jitni mohabbat kar le, aakhir mein ussi kea ag mein jal kar fanaa ho jaata hai” – which, at most times, went hand-in-hand to create some bedazzling moments on screen, but even these failed to fill in the gaps of disappointment created by the plodding pace and dragged story-telling of this 2 hour 48 minute spectacle (spoiler alert – Roop and Zafar don’t meet until 40 minutes into the show!)
Coming to performances, our winners were Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, of course, who failed to disappoint with their sizzling yet soulful chemistry and top-notch acting. Kunal Khemu was one hell of a pleasant surprise as Zafar’s friend Abdul, especially in the first half, after which, his role as an anti-hero didn’t impress much and saying the same dialogue at least five times (something about steel factories coming and mazdoor becoming berozgaar) definitely didn’t help! Not too sure what more to say about the seniors Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit other than they did adequate justice to their minimal roles and kept the loose ends intact. Lastly, I must say that Aditya Roy Kapur was undoubtedly the right choice for Dev Chaudhry because for once, his resting expressionless face and lethargic acting worked in his favour! Although, Sonakshi Sinha’s performance was overshadowed, but let’s just say it was for good reason!
So for those of you who expected this to be on the same level as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s masterpieces, or maybe a K3G 2.0 – let me just burst your bubble, it’s not. Nowhere close. But regardless of what I say, there’s no stopping theatre-goers from racing to the first day first show of such a high caliber film, especially those of you who are likely to suffer from FOMO otherwise (much like myself). That being said, baaki sab first class hai! Happy Weekend!
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