Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh -- Lost in the 'Kahaani' of expectations

Abhishek Law

The poster of Kahaani 2

Sequels do have this dis-repute of not living up to the expectations of their first film. And in India or Bollywood, there are no or very little of any sequels, to be very frank. 

 The second story of the series does not start from where the first one left. There are a host of new characters and all that remains the same are the names of producers and directors; may be lead actors.  
Well that is exactly what Kahaani 2 is. 

Please note, it is not a continuation of the first film. Just an extension of a brand.

 And in terms of characters and story line, they are as different as chalk and cheese. 

 Having put out this long disclaimer first, lets get on with my two annas of opinion. 

 Vidya Sinha (played
Vidya Balan) having a teenage daughter, lives in Chandannagor. She is more concerned about providing medical treatment to her child by taking her abroad.  But then one day, the kid gets kidnapped. On her way to rescue her daughter Balan meets with an accident. At the local police station, she is identified as Durga Rani Singh - a kidnapper, obsessed child lifter and a murderer. So what is her true identity and what is her story is what Kahaani 2 seeks to explore. 

 In fact, Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani 2 has every thing going for it in the first half. Solid build and a perfect mix of suspense. In fact, the back and forth storyline - between the past and present - of Vidya Sinha or Durga Rani Singh is juxtaposed with the appropriate setting.Cold, melancholy shots of Kalimpong. Sudden jerk-backs to the present. 

And  there is just about the right mix of suspense through-out the first 60/70 minutes of the film. But, it is the second half which follows the trodden path. 

As the story unfolds, the suspense or shock element starts to wane. The "regular" - although it is a bit harsh to use this term, I insist on using the same since it is a Sujoy Ghosh film where expectations run high - starts to surface. 

Talking or writing much in length has the flip side of revealing the story of a thriller. So lets not play spoilsport. Those who see the movie, will realise that there is a wonderful message that the film could have been delivered. 

It actually is a very original and bold script with the right modern day message to have been inter-woven as a thriller. Kudos to these modern day film-makers for thinking out of the box to mix 'parallel' and 'commercial' movie-making for the urban audiences.

However, in Kahaani 2, the message which otherwise would have been evident, is swallowed by the expectations of the "Kahaani" brand name. 

Yes, Ghosh's Kahaani (the first movie) is a landmark in modern day Bollywood (in fact his failed venture Alladin too was a fantasy thriller coming way ahead of its time). And, the name - Kahaani - is a brand. But, when there is a brand, expectations rise, and, the margin of error reduces. 

Each and every actor is brilliant. Vidya Balan is as good as ever. Arjun Rampal seems to have found the right expressions finally. Jugal Hansraj and other characters like Tota Roy Chowdhury do justice to their roles. 

Sujoy Ghosh delivers a neat movie. But, I repeat, it is the "Kahaani" brand that seems to be the biggest draw-back for an otherwise very well-made film. 

And accordingly, Kahaani 2 falls into that trap of sequels not living up to the mark of the first outing / film. 

Rating - 4 out of 5.

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