The Kahaani of Vidya Bagchi

The kahaani of Kahaani was no mystery to me as I made my way to the theater on a Sunday evening, thanks to a thoughtless moron at work who divulged the climax a day before. Having said that, I’d be lying if I said ‘Kahaani’ didn’t have any surprises to offer.  

Vidya Bagchi, a visibly pregnant woman lands in Kolkata all the way from London in search of her missing spouse. While the pursuit of her missing husband continues, she uncovers a much larger political plot with the help of a junior cop Satyuki Sinha a.k.a Rana.

In the late 80s and early 90s there existed a trend of female characters in Bollywood – these women either took a stand against bitter and wicked in-laws or bashed up pervert crooks and extras on a revenge driven mode. That trend although filmy, liberated the women from the mundane roles society and the film industry offered and drove them to discover and unleash their potency. In the years that followed with the ascending popularity of cholis, lehengas, Munnis and Sheilas, that fervor to project women as symbol of strength diminished. The aspiration of mainstream actress incarcerated to being eye candies and arm candies. Vidya Bagchi in its outlandish way is a reprisal of that fortitude from the 80s and 90s, fortunately in a perceptibly subtle and credible avatar.

Vidya Balan
in The Dirty Picture
Vidya Balan scores a hat trick of tour de’ force performance after No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture. From restlessness and helplessness to a composed demeanor, her body language emotes every bit of it effectively; and for a mainstream actress to appear onscreen with sweaty armpits, boy that sure takes guts! Parambrata Chattopadhyay is appealing as Vidya’s aid in investigation and at times adorable for his vulnerability in her presence. A strong supporting cast adds to the spontaneity of the movie.

The multihued Kolkata in the festive season of Durga Puja is well captured through the lens, while a strong script and slick editing raises the curiosity levels from the very first frame. Crisp and conversational dialogues with well-timed humor keep onlookers from snoozing which often happens in movie theaters. Although the movie has an impressive sound track, director Sujoy Ghosh fortunately uses to a minimum during the narrative. It would have been still better had he been tightfisted with the background score as well. For instance, when hundreds of people including kids and infants die inside a metro - you need a moment to let that sink in, you really don't want a heavy rock number like Aami Shatti Bolchi in the next instant.

Finally, like any well scripted movie, bread crumbs are left for the audience to connect the dots and while they are at it, the climax renders them speechless with one hell of a shocker twist.

- by Parmita Borah