Too much of a mess

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Jan 2018 08:56:32


By Farina Salim Quraishi

One rainy night, six characters and a world of problems - underworld, murder, adultery, cops, love, deceit etc- playing out rapidly in the heart of Maximum City, Mumbai are indeed perfect ingredients to tell a racy, edgy story. Add to it Akshat Varma, whose last venture was the brilliant black comedy Delhi Belly and a scandalous trailer; and one can be forgiven for expecting Kalakandi to be a rip-uproariously risqué and funny movie. Well, bawdy it certainly is, with enough cuss words and profanities to put a seasoned cusser to shame but humourous it ain’t! With a dozen or so characters, the heavily populated film sails at a languid pace - even as its characters scurry around frantically - and moves around in twisted circles to tell a tale that leaves one more bemused than amused.

Kalakandi starts off with a ramrod straight guy, Rileen (Saif Ali Khan) discovering that he on a short leash of life. With only months to live and loads to do, terminally ill Rileen pulls out his bucket list, scarcely caring for propriety or correctness of it all. With a ‘star’ pill (read LSD shot) to ‘smoothen’ the ride, he hits the road to paint the town red, totally oblivious to the mental turmoil of his soon-to-be groom cousin Angad (Akshay Oberoi). Meanwhile, a modern couple, Tara and Zubin (Kunaal Roy Kapur and Shobita Dhulipala) are struggling with their goodbyes as Tara is headed to the US to pursue a PhD. Dropping in at a party while on the way to the airport, the couple’s plans go south after cop busts the rave party.

Simultaneously in another part of Mumbai, two delivery men of underworld Don Raza, Waris (Deepak Dobriyal) and Amjad (Vijay Raaz) are tired of merely ferrying around millions and now want the booty for themselves. Tossing about half-baked plans to get rich instantly, the duo keeps driving around Mumbai, even as the Rain God unleashes a torrent on the city. With four concurrent plots to keep up with, Kalakandi – which incidentally means a mess of the royal order - commands full attention, but the rewards are a pittance. Comedies are as much about the execution as they are about the script, and Akshat Varma - handling both - lets too much slip. The writing is lazy and uneven with a lot of loopholes. Just as one starts relating to a plot, it breaks away to focus on another, straining comprehension. Also the pace of the film is too slow for a thriller and post-interval the tempo dips further as jokes dry up, making
it a drag.

Though Kalakandi plays out in after hours, the movie feels like it’s in a time-capsule, with the hour frozen over. Events pile up with no sense of time or how long they play out. The subplots wrap up as clumsily leaving you to wonder what happened and to what purpose. Also, the abundance of cuss words is surprising. Even the most rustic of Mumbaikar does not talk trash like the characters of Vijay Raaz and Deepak Dobriyal do in the film! The effort to be funny and salacious is too glaring to miss. The humour too seems laboured and the audacious chutzpah which made Delhi Belly so likeable is sorely missing here. Thankfully the cleverly crafted lines and rustic dialogues remain and do much to keep the movie afloat.

As ensemble cast movies go, Kalakandi has several gems - Vijay Raaz, Deepak Dobriyal, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Akshay Oberoi and Nyari Singh, with Saif Ali Khan shining the brightest. The best - writing and screen-time - is reserved for Saif’s character, who is slightly crazed yet somber. Saif delivers the whacky lines smoothly, slipping between English and Hindi with expressions which are priceless. The portions involving Saif, a transvestite Sheela (Nyari Singh), and the corrupt cop are easily the most hilarious and surprisingly handled with a lot of finesse.
Vijay Raaz and Dobriyal are superb and have a crackling camaraderie. Their repartee, when they are not cussing, is a lot of fun too. Akshay Oberoi sports a lost look throughout and is rather endearing. Sobhita Dhulipala looks gorgeous and emotes beautifully. Others including, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Amyra Dastur, Isha Talwar, Shenaz Treasury and Shivam Patil, all get their moments and leave a strong impression.

Neil Bhoopalam joining the gang for a cameo as a larger-than-life shooter called Omelette (for a reason which needs to be seen) gets the worst deal. The entirely forgettable, not to forget needless appearance, is among the several things Kalakandi would have been better off without. With a smattering of ribald jokes, scores of abuses and a bunch of graphic gags, Kalakandi is definitely not recommended for those with delicate sensibilities. Even those made of sterner stuff will find little to take away from this one.

The Hitavada Rating: O O