Kahaani: All thrills, no frills

MUMBAI: It is not often that a film based on Kolkata background is made and when one is made, Pujo and Rabindra sangeet are mandatory as are visuals of the Victoria Memorial and the Howrah Bridge; however, what is not mandatory is having an all local supporting cast when you plan to appeal to an all India audience. That leaves little option for a viewer, not much used to heroine oriented films in the first place, but to be content with Vidya Balan.

Producers: Kaushal Kantilal Gada, Sujoy Ghosh.

Director: Sujoy Ghosh.

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

A heavily pregnant Vidya Balan ascends on Kolkata in search for her missing husband and makes a police station her first halt and seeks help to trace her husband. Next she checks into a guest house where her husband was supposed to have stayed and used to call her from. She has a young police inspector, Parambrata Chattopadhyay, at all times and takes her around in her search. At the data centre, she is told that though there is no record of her husband having worked there, they did have an ex-employee named Damji resembling the husband?s picture she carried. Vidya Balan?s search is not easy for wherever she checks; the traces of her husband as well as his lookalike have been deleted, from files as well as the computers. What is more, whoever helps her or is willing to help her is killed while she herself has some close shaves from the killer.

It is when she finds the picture and address of Damji from old records from the data centre?s old, unused office that she stirs things up and soon a senior intelligence office from Delhi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, joins the action. This results in some twists and turns and thrilling moments as the climax is played out during a Pujo procession and Vidya Balan springs a surprise on all those involved on the wrong as well as the right side of the law.

Director Sujoy Ghosh chooses the inner, drab and crowded parts of Kolkata which add to the atmosphere and create anxiety. His handling of the subject is deft with ample help from a tight script without distraction in the form of songs except for "Ekla chalo" number in the background in pre-climax.

The film is an out and out Vidya Balan show in a role that offers her no frills; she is a desperate pregnant woman on a mission and she goes around it credibly. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is impressive balancing his act between negative and positive shades adding to the suspense. Parambrata Chattopadhyay is natural.

Kahaani a fair thriller and due for much acclaim; however its business will be limited to few metro multiplexes.


An inconsistent film with limited prospects

Producer: Samir Karnik.

Director: Samir Karnik.

Cast: Tusshar Kapoor, Kulraj Randhawa, Anupam Kher, Om Puri, Mukul Dev, Johny Lever, Anita Raaj, Sushant Singh, Chandrachur Singh, Rahul Singh, Farida Jalal.

A vibrant, bubbly girl lands up in a stubborn family of erstwhile Rajasthan royals who still live in the same delusions of being royal Rajputs. The family is full of oddballs all taking a fancy to her in their own way. A romantic comedy needs ample gags and characters; Chaar Din Ki Chandni has some of the latter. In an attempt to add a bit of everything from royalty to status barrier and the Indian wedding with romance and comedy, the film is a farce made of a series of situations.

Tusshar Kapoor arrives in Rajasthan to attend his sister?s wedding with his girlfriend, Kulraj Randhawa, whom he plans to introduce to his family and obtain their approval to marry her. However Anupam Kher, his father, has these notions of Rajput superiority and none of his children can marry anybody else but a Rajput and he always keeps a gun handy if the case is otherwise. Besides this trait he is a jovial person. Given this situation, Tusshar Kapoor fumbles at the last moment and introduces Kulraj Randhawa as a journalist from UK here to cover an Indian royal wedding. Tusshar Kapoor has four brothers, all with their own peculiarities - one is a drunkard, other is headstrong and violent while yet another is a womaniser; only one of them is sober and okay with Tusshar?s romance since he himself is heartbroken. Soon, Kulraj Randhawa has won the hearts of all members of the household; while Anupam Kher treats her as a daughter of the house and even promises to get her married to a suitable Punjabi boy, the three wayward brothers each try to score with her in their own clumsy ways while Tusshar Kapoor and Kulraj Randhawa keep romancing on the sly. To add to the tricky situation come Om Puri and Farida Jalal on the scene enthused that their daughter is planning to get engaged; but they are soon passed off as decorator and his chief assistant by Tusshar Kapoor as revealing their true identity would not work with Anupam Kher. With so many characters involved, there is a series of gags, some good some flat. In an old-fashioned way, the climax is a free for all with Johny Lever as one of the parties.

The story idea for Chaar Din Ki Chandni is the second half of the director?s earlier film, Yamla Pagla Deewana which had a huge Punjabi family and false identities; with many characters to share the screen, Samir Karnik keeps the pace moving. Using old film songs is a good ploy. Dialogue is not much help. Tusshar Kapoor is okay. Kulraj Randhawa is fairly good. Anupam Kher?s versatility is obvious. Om Puri Plays his loud Punjabi guy very well. Mukul Dev, Sushant Singh, Chandrachur Singh and Harrish as brothers along with Rahul Singh, Farida Jalal and Anita Raj are good in support. Johny Lever is wasted.

Chaar Din Ki Chandni is a passable entertainer with limited prospects.

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