Akshat Verma wrote the insanely hilarious Delhi Belly which released in 2011. After almost six and a half years he makes his directorial debut with this uniquely titled film Kaalakaandi. Akshat’s writing still has that spark which keeps you engrossed in the film inspite of so mamy characters and the humor is also very raw and real; adult to be precise. He certainly lacks that top notch execution skills which limits Kaalakaandi from becoming that path breaking film.
Kaalakaandi has three stories going on simultaneously which surprisingly has no connection with each other except characters from different stories coincidentally meet each other. Merging three different stories do not work well especially when there is no connection. Akshat would rather show them one by one not spoiling the fun for audience. Not that Kaalakaandi tests your patience at any point of time but sorted things are always better. His powerful writing is enough to praise him who has written such wonderful stories that happen in one night.
Saif Ali Khan has stomach cancer and he is disturbed like anyone else would be on knowing the fact that they don’t have much time to live. Saif who has never smoked or drank in his life tries all that and drugs which makes his night memorable with some bizzare experiences. Deepak Dobriyal and Vijay Raaz are small time goons who are planning something big to make more money. This story wonderfully depicts betrayal in friendship in just one scene. Kunaal Roy Kapoor and Shobita Dhulipala are the regualr confused couple who do not their relationshio status. The girl is ambitious where as boy is looking forward to spend his entire life with her. One incident that shakes them changing their life. Akshat beautifully portrays humanity or one’s morals/ethics in this story.
Akshat has confidence in his stories and his writing that inspite of such limited offering Kaalakaandi turns out to be a satisfying fare even though it is in bits and parts. You are constantly waiting for that something big to happen in the film but what Akshat does is increases the momentum of the film in the first hour and then slowly just release it. Kaalakaandi is surely a different film because of it’s story telling, humour and the treatment. Saif Ali Khan’s story takes you in an imaginary world and the screen just looks dazzling with those perfectly done special effects. Humour is limited and it not the ususal slapstick or situational humour but beautifully written lines makes the scene funny. It is the regular conversations and their presentation which makes it funny leaving you in splits.
Another thing that leaves you super impressed are the performances. Saif Ali Khan is definitely the most underrated actor in Hindi cinema. Give him a chance and he can even get you an Academy award. He has performed this character with such perfection, he does not even mind dancing like a fool on the floor in a family function. Shobita Dhulipala is very promosing in the film. After seeing her in Raman Raghav 2.0 and Chef she gets enough space in Kaalakaandi and she nails it. The cast is huge so the others who impress you are Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz and Kunaal Roy Kapoor. Full marks for that brilliant entry scene of Neil Boopalam.
Kaalakaandi could have been an easily enjoyable film but imperfect execution makes it appealing only for the classy niche audience. The one’s who like to take efforts to appreciate good cinema will like this one. My rating is for Akshat’s attempt to make something different and new in Hindi cinema. He makes himself someone to look out for in his next film.