Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#36: Kaminey

For that miniscule percentage of people who might not get the meaning of the word, it stands for a scoundrel. It's a script based on a story that Vishal Bharadwaj bought from a Kenyan writer called Cajetan Boy (creditted in the opening slides of the movie). Vishal took the script and co-wrote the screenplay with his usual suspects Sabrina Dhawan, Abhishek Chaubey and Supratik Sen. It is not the best script this team has come up with so far but will surely count as one of the most riveting ever in the history of Bollywood.

With his signature style of an ensemble cast with actors Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Amol Gupte in the lead and a host of theater and TV actors such as Chandan Roy Sanyal, Vishal Bharadwaj weaves a story of love and deceit with an effortless ease. There are too many high points in the movie to put a finger on one. From an outstanding music score by Vishal Bhardwaj to some breathtaking cinematography, to some superbly malicious performances- the movie is a feast on the senses. And through this feast Vishal Bharadwaj is trying to tell the viewers only one message- that there is a scoundrel in all of us. A special mention must be made for the experimental hand-held camera work with minimalistic lighting by Tassaduq Hussain that fits in beautifully with the sombre and ominous feel of the movie. Through a mix of characters which include an MLA, a social health care worker, Anti-Narcotics cops, an African underworld don and a set of brothers who're avid betters on the horse-racing scene, the movie is nothing short of a stirring potboiler.

A liberty that Vishal takes with this movie is adding a dash of the traditional Indian 'masala' unlike his previous classics like Maqbool, The Blue Umbrella and Omkara. A backstory about the twins- who play the protagonists- towards the climax is sprinkled with some needless melodrama that is a bit of a strain and is probably the only failing of the movie.

Unlike in any of my previous reviews, I have only mentioned some of the characters involved and not the story. Because Kaminey is a rare movie where even a 10 minute appearance by some of the characters are so well written and enacted that they'll leap and bark at you with their intensity. And to prepare you for anything with regard to the story would be an injustice. Simply put, as far as crime thrillers from Bollywood's stable go, we just don't have them better than Kaminey. And we probably never will for some time to come.

Rating: 7.8/10