Review: Kahaani

Vidya Balan in Kahaani.

Pregnant, Hacking, Action Heroine

Rating: **

What is it about today’s Bollywood filmmakers that I really don’t understand? They think they’re too smart and can narrate a story as long as they have charming actors filling the scenes. And yes, pregnant Vidya Balan is charming much like the raunchy Vidya Balan from The Dirty Picture. But, this is the Vidya Balan you prefer. This is the one you’ve seen in Parineeta, Lage Raho Munnabhai and Kismat Konnection.

Don’t get me wrong, Kahaani is a good thriller. The motive for Vidya Bagchi to land up in Kolkata is clear, but the follow through is confusing. The motifs were enjoyable in Kahaani. Bringing a pregnant woman to Kolkata right during Durga Puja and then making her do almost anything to uncover the truth. The circumstances provided by Sujoy Ghosh, test the character really well, as she runs down a busy market with a huge baby bump, before slumping to her knees and then asking for soda.

After a plot point is revealed, the film moves from the “search for the husband” stage to “kill every extra” stage where the unwanted characters land up dead. This of course gives Ghosh the chance to pick up Hollywood DVDs and observe the different forms of assassinations. And yes, an assassin in the form of an insurance salesman was ironical. He enters the house explaining life insurance plans and then whips out his gun. You can figure out the rest.

Sadly, Balan’s movies have become stereotypic. She chooses female-oriented movies, and ensures that her role overlaps others. And then, she wins a National Award. The climactic inspiration from Taking Lives was well enough to put Balan in the short list of action heroines.

Kahaani is sure to impress scores of populations who are used to seeing Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar jump buildings and defy realism. Kahaani just didn’t do the trick for me.

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