This is a great time to be a movie buff. Within a week of ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ which should undeniably win Irrfan Khan the National Award for best actor, comes ‘Kahaani’ in which Vidya Balan is so flawlessly resplendent that one suspects the next year's National Award too is already reserved for her.
Actress Vidya Balan has created alcove for herself with her women-centric movies like ‘Paa’, ‘Ishqiya’, ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and ‘The Dirty Picture’. Her latest movie ‘Kahaani’ which is directed by Sujoy Ghosh, is adding more value to it. The film has strengthening the trend created by her. With this movie, Vidya has proved that like other Hindi superstars, she can also run a successful show at Box Office. Dirty deeds forgotten!
Playing Vidya Bagchi, a non-resident Indian (NRI) who lands in Kolkata heavily pregnant and immeasurably distressed by the disappearance of her husband, Vidya Balan doesn't hit a single false note in the entire graph of her character's fascinating journey.
Kahaani is not an ordinary thriller film about a search for a missing person. It's a lot more. Bringing an original vitality to the suspense drama, the film strikes a captivating balance between realism in art and the art of courting realism, without losing the entertainment quotient.
From the moment Vidya lands in Kolkata, the color, vibrancy, hustle and bustle that is peculiar to Kolkata attack your senses. It's a claustrophobic yet liberating world of ruse and deception.
Ghosh crafts a tale of devious dynamics that do not make a song and dance of their cloak-and-dagger intentions. The relevance and resonance of Vidya's journey into the dark unrevealed bowel of India's secret service emerge in illuminating details created in Vidya's character which add up finally to a jigsaw where not a single piece is out of place.
Indeed so clever is the writing and so stunning yet convincing the denouement that one was persuaded into wondering whether Sujoy Ghosh filched the material from some unidentifiable source.
As we go back to the film, at the end we see every detail, every twist and turn in the plot was meant to be a coherent pointer to the complete picture. Ghosh's masterful story-telling leaves no room to doubt the existence of a rather unforgiving God who charts a seemingly cruel destiny for the unsuspecting individual.
Vidya's portrayal of grace under pressure is so measured and skilled; one at times wonders if she was actually watching herself perform from a distance to make sure she didn't take her character's distress into the kingdom of melodrama.
Impressive in his own right is Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Vidya's pillar of support from within an establishment that insists on throwing her off the track. Nawazuddin Sidiqqui, that brilliant actor from Kabir Khan's New York and last week's "Paan Singh Tomar", brings steely-sharp ruthlessness to his investigative officer's role.
Vidya Balan takes centre stage with great skill and restrained pride. Her laughter of joy when she bonds with the chai-wallah kid (Ritobroto Mukherjee) and her final breakdown sequence bring her close to the cathartic emotions that Shabana Azmi displays.
Kahaani is one of the rare and unique movies. The destiny of the protagonist is charted in a breathless sweep of urgently persuasive episodes that tumble out as though God wrote Vidya Bagchi's screenplay.
You will be hooked unconditionally from scene one. It’s a real spectacle!
Starring: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Directed by: Sujoy Ghosh