Kulture Didi is back this week to dish on another Bollywood masala, Kalank. Produced by Karan Johar and directed by Abhishek Varman the film stars Sanjay Dutt, Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Kunal Kemmu, Kiara Advani, and Kriti Sanon…phew!
This pre-Independence period drama is sprinkled with words like ‘kaum’, ‘mazhab’, and ‘batwara’ — like it has been made by someone who is only aware of the pop version of what exactly happened during the Partition. That’s not even the biggest crime in a film which has replaced its need for a legit script by taking Varun Dhawan out of his shirt in every scene possible.
Truth be told, the film is very stunningly shot by Binod Pradhan. Some of the frames are so beautiful that they can indeed be framed as paintings. The Dussehra sequences in the ‘Ghar More Pardesiya’ song, based in the ‘badnaam’ part of town, is splendidly staged. The theatricality of that song alone is mesmerising enough to forgive the rest of the film.
But then the rest of the film happens and it leaves nothing in its wake except for a ‘barbaad’ audience looking to escape this fresh hell KJo chose to subject us all to in the name of cinema.
This film is high on drama from the first scene to the last. There is no breathing room for subtlety anywhere. Everyone – from Sanjay Dutt’s Balraj Chaudhry to Kiara Advani’s Lajjo – seems to have only one expression at all given times. Their eyes are sad but the clothes on their backs are all Gucci Gang fine.
The makers wanted desperately to recreate the magic of films made by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and SS Rajamouli, but the shoddy VFX and superficial storytelling is exhausting at the end of the 166-minute runtime. As Instagrammers would say, the aesthetics of the film are on point, but the whole film is a redundant mish-mash of other popular films from the same genre, with headache-inducing flashiness to boot.
Even though, Kalank is a major bore, it’s enjoyable in parts where the narrative is disjointed and there’s a theatrical feel. The moment they get into linear storytelling, everything falls apart.
To know more about what Kulture Didi thought of Kalank watch the video.
FYI: After watching Kalank, Kulture Didi was heard screaming, “Humse barbaad aur koi nahin,” repeatedly.