KAAGAZ MOVIE REVIEW: Pankaj Tripathi and Monal Gajjar

  ACTORS: Pankaj Tripathi Monal Gajjar Amar Upadhaya DIRECTOR: Satish Kaushak PRODUCER: Salman khan STO...

 

ACTORS:

Pankaj Tripathi

Monal Gajjar

Amar Upadhaya

DIRECTOR:

Satish Kaushak

PRODUCER:

Salman khan

STORY:

Bharat Lal (Pankaj Tripathi) seeks a loan from a local bank in Uttar Pradesh in order to keep his band-baja business afloat. Soon after, he discovers that his uncle and his sons have declared him legally dead and seized his share of the family's jointly owned land.

REVIEW:

You know you're in the late 1970s when they joke about nasbandi (vasectomy) and the Emergency losing steam. And, during that remarkable period in Indian history, there lived a man – in a small hamlet in the country's north – who had been cheated out of his family inheritance.

Worst of all, his own family had declared him legally dead over a small plot of land he shared with them. "Aaj se tu humara rishtedaar nahin, hum tere kuch nahin," the aunt warns after revealing their elaborate ruse. Bharat Lal has the appearance of a child, but he is not. The otherwise unassuming man then vows to oppose both his estranged family and the 'tarik-pe-tarik' culture to which the Indian administrative system had grown accustomed. At a time, one letter, one hooligan, and one cop.

In a world grappling with intolerance of all kinds – from religious freedom to free speech, which strikes at the heart of democracy – the audacious and unabashed 'Kaagaz' appears to have arrived on Zee5 (and limited single-screen theatres in and around North India) at just the right time. This story, loosely based on the life of a man who experienced a similar fate in the past, is certain to instill confidence and self-esteem in its intended audience.

However, the narrative's pace and one-dimensional story-telling technique make it a tedious watch (even at 1 hour, 47 minutes!). It doesn't help that the diegesis is advanced by using two narrators (Salman Khan and Satish Kaushik). For one thing, the songs and general treatment lighten the tone of the plot, and the audience does not get a glimpse into the mind of a man who is the laughingstock of his peers, a proverbial loser who has truly lost it all. A story of this scope would have thrived in the drama genre; combining biography and comedy was a disaster.

Possessing just said, not everything in this aspirational movie project is dismal, and Pankaj Tripathi is at the top of a list of items to praise. As a performer, he is naive yet observant, and, of curriculum, a complete natural. Tripathi slides through his transformation from a harmless family man to a ruthless rebel who won't back down, and both extreme facets of his persona draw you in like a magnet. Such is his grip on Bharat's character and the enigmatic phenomenon known as acting. Satish Kaushik plays two roles in this film: actor and director.

While he is amusing as the morally bankrupt lawyer, his direction falls short: it is too lopsided and unimaginative, especially for a filmmaker of his caliber. The parallel characters pale in comparison to Pankaj Tripathi's brilliant lead, and this stark contrast is one of the many reasons why 'Kaagaz' fails miserably.

Sujata Rajain's costume design captures the essence of India's heartland and a bygone era, while Arkodeb Mukherjee's cinematography is both rustic and modern.

To summarise, 'Kaagaz' could have been the go-to film for those seeking a burst of inspiration, but it instead becomes a one-dimensional masterclass in one man's acting prowess. We're not complaining, but the movie had the potential to make us cry. Alas! It simply wasn't meant to be.

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