Kahaani – A Movie Review


It’s rare that I review a Hindi movie on this blog. It’s not that I don’t see Hindi movies, I do, but so very often I have very little to say.

Most of the movies I have seen in the past couple of years have been overly stylized, and with very little story.

For example (and I know I am in the minority here), I saw Zindagi na Milegi Dobaara, right in the middle of the hype, and I was a bit puzzled.

I mean, yes the cinematography was brilliant, the songs very nice, and Spain is fabulous. But when I had to comment on the story, I didn’t have anything to say. It was boring actually. I think a Globetrekker episode on Spain was more entertaining than this dull, predictable story of three rich lads driving through Spain.

Basically, that’s why I have left off reviewing Hindi movies on my blog. Very rarely do I have anything to say, and when I do, it seems me and popular opinion point to two very different directions, making me question my judgement, and wonder whether I am now too old and jaded to enjoy Bollywood movies any more.

However, last month, I had the pleasure of seeing Kahaani, and after the longest time, I was absolutely engrossed in a movie.

Here are some high points:

The Story

A pregnant woman travels from UK to Kolkata in search of her missing husband.

I don’t really want to say anything more than that because each twist and turn in the movie was a pleasant surprise for me, and I would hate to spoil that experience for anyone else yet to watch.

I thought the story was incredibly strong and kept me interested for the duration of the movie. The start is shaky true, and doesn’t exactly match up to the conclusion at the end, but overall the plot got two thumbs up from me.

The Acting

OMG. Vidya Balan rocks. She really lived her role, and her every movement, her every gesture was so true to life. And she was simply luminous. I just couldn’t take my eyes off her.

The supporting cast is really strong too. Most of them are from Bengali cinema and apart from coming up with some impressive realistic acting, they also add tons of local flavor.

I particularly was impressed with Parambrata Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee (one of the most chilling characters I have come across), and Nawazuddin Siddiqui who as always turns in a fabulous performance.

The Setting of Kolkata

I’ve never been there, but I tend to enjoy most movies set in Kolkata – movies such as Parineeta and Devdas come to mind. I love how Kolkata looks in the movies, the accents of the people, just the atmosphere is so lovely and so unique.

Kahaani is no different doing full justice to the place. Unlike Devdas and Parineeta though, the focus is on a modern-day middle-class depiction – neither overly fancy, nor poverty ridden slums. I loved this different take.

In short this film was so enjoyable that I suspect the plot is probably filched from some Hollywood or as is the trend these days from Korean or Japanese movies.

Whatever it is, I”ll happily take this movie over the rest of the bilge that Bollywood is churning out (dark thoughts about Dilwale).

And if you haven’t yet seen this, I strongly urge you to check it out on the TV. It’s bound to be repeated again.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy)

    I don’t think that movie’s made it here but I’ll look for it for sure.

    • Nishita

      @bermudaonion_kathy:disqus It’s one of those really intelligent thrillers and though I didn’t mention it in my review, it has some interesting feminist undertones that added a lot of depth to it. You should watch it if you get the chance.

  • Laavanya

    Hello hello! I felt like I had to step in and comment when I saw your post on Kahaani. For someone who hardly watches hyped up movies, I stumbled onto Kahaani on Netflix and I LOVED IT. From the acting, to setting up the atmosphere and the scene, it was brilliant.

    Hope things have been good for you!

    Namoshkar… ek minat. Bob Biswas is one of my favourite characters!

    • Nishita

      @Laavanya: Hello, hello, hello. How are you? And happy new year to you! Things are decent here, how are things with you?

      I had practically given up on hindi movies, until I stumbled on this one. Such an unexpected surprise 🙂 , and agree with you Bob Biswas rocked! Actually loved everyone in the movie. Really well-done and understated.

  • Oh man, Kahaani is one of the most amazing movies ever. And chilling. And heartbreaking. That last scene!

    • Nishita

      @athirac:disqus I know, don’t know why I never saw it when it came out. My faith in Bollywood is renewed 🙂

%d bloggers like this: