Not many movies from India have managed to become successful that are low-budget, don’t feature a song and depend on a strong story-line like Kahaani. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the film is set in Kolkata during a festive season, where a heavily-pregnant NRI Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan) arrives in search of her husband Arnab Bagchi who has gone missing in India. She is aided in her quest by Satyaki Sinha aka Rana (Parambrata Chatterjee), a junior police officer at the Kalighat Police Station. A couple of characters get themselves entangled in the movie – including a couple of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials as well as a baby-faced Contract Killer, but nobody is able to stop Vidya from finding the truth about her husband.
The film coverts Vidya’s relentless search for her husband, and while all clues point to the fact that he has either run away or is dead, she doesn’t deter from her mission. She may be alone in the city, with nothing to rely on except a couple of flashbacks and a photo of her husband, she slowly manages to realize that nothing is what it seems. In an environment filled with lies and deceit, she gears up to give her life away, for the sake of the truth! By the time the movie ends, you will not only be sympathetic to the lead character but also be glad to have watched a perfect movie, after a long time.
Kahaani takes time to gain pace, but when it does, it’s a roller coaster ride till the very end! From the compact streets of Kolkata to the Central Metro Station, the film is shot at all the locations of the city, adding realistic touch to the thrilling plot. Not only is the film different from the male-centric flicks but has an authoritative central character that is female and on her quest for justice, the Indian way!
The movie is only 2 hour long, unlike many Indian films being produced these days. The interval also leaves the viewers stunned because it follows the Hollywood way of filmmaking, rather than the Bollywood one. Same can be said of the cinematography which is arresting and breathtaking at times. Kolkata hasn’t been captured like this ever before!
The direction Sujoy Ghosh must be commended for his masterful skills as a storyteller. Although some parts of the movies are inspired from Angelina Jolie’s Taking Lives, Clint Eastwood’s A Fistful of Dollars, The Usual Suspects as well as Dev Anand’s Jewel Thief, it is an amalgamation of the best, from the best. The characters are extremely well-looked after and the viewers feel connected to each one of them, be it on the right side of the law, or on the other.
As for the actors, Vidya Balan’s rise continues as she manages to convince the viewers of her innocence and desperation throughout the movie. Parambrata Chatterjee as the police inspector Rana also gives a compelling performance as a man who listens to his heart but is baffled by his mind. As for Nawazuddin Siddiqui who portrays IB inspector Khan, Kahaani is another stepping stone towards glory. He was outstanding in Peepli Live as the anxious-nervous reporter, and here he exceeds all expectations as the detective who wants to get his man, by hook or by crook!
On the whole, Kahaani is one of those films that will brighten your gloomy day as it will take you on a ride that will have its twists and turns, but an end that will not disappoint you. A wonderful movie-going experience. Must watch!