It’s a tale with a sting in the tail

After watching Sujoy Ghosh directed movie – Kahaani (2012) in the Talkie Town (now named as Cine Town) cinema hall of Hyderabad, the memories of the experience of watching that movie kept on haunting me non-stop for hours and hours. This movie had, in addition to entertaining me for two hours, reminded me of two things. Firstly, my Kolkata days. I had stepped on the Howrah Junction for the first time in my life on 31.08.1988 and left it finally on 15.04.1992 when my objective of obtaining my C.A. degree from the City of Joy had been met. I lived in Chittaranjan Avenue, a central place of the city for more than three and a half years and I still miss those days of walking 5-6 kilometres daily and travelling in buses, local trains, trams and sometimes the metro rail (it was in its initial period those days and used to run between some selected places only). I enjoyed watching movies in poor quality to high quality theatres, eating Jhaal Muri at roadside joints, drinking hot milk and having sweets at the roadside sweet shops, having my lunches and dinners at Maarwaari Baasas (Dhaabas) in the Bangur Building situated on the Mahatma Gandhi Road in the Burra Baazaar (or Bada Baazaar) area etc. etc.. I visited most of the areas of the city during my stay, understanding the Bengali society and culture first through my eyes and then through the short-lived association of my deemed sister – Moon Moon Didi. It’s a wonderful city, quite different from the other three metros of India. Kahaani enabled me to relive that more than two decades old period. Everything in this world is prone to changes but by watching Kahaani, I felt as if very little has changed in Kolkata (except the name because then it was Calcutta). With the main protagonist of this movie – Vidya Balan, I wandered through the streets, roads, localities, buildings and houses of Kolkata, the Kolkata of Bidya Didi (and not Mamta Didi).downloadThe second thing that this movie reminded me is the Hindi novels penned by Ved Prakash Sharma during the eighties. Late Ved Prakash Sharma, a Hindi mystery writer from Meerut, had been termed as the bestselling Hindi pulp-fiction writer of the eighties and the nineties. Mr. Sharma did not write pure whodunits. He used to write stories with a social tinge but containing a suspense element which passed current or shock waves through the minds of the readers at places and always contained a sting in the tail, rendering a big jolt to the reader in the climax. The script-writer of Kahaani (if it’s an original idea) has done exactly that. It’s a tale with a sting in the tail, leaving the spectator in shock and awe.81Ju3ZGVAdL._SL1500_
Cinema is the fine art of telling a story on the silver screen in an interesting manner. A few decades back, the grandmas and grannies of small children used to tell them stories at night and helped them in getting asleep. However the storyteller in cinema has to do exactly the reverse. If the spectator remains engrossed as well as attentive to the story being told throughout the duration of the movie, the narrator can consider himself as successful in his mission. And Sujoy Ghosh has passed this litmus test of being called a good storyteller with distinction in Kahaani. It entertains, arouses and enhances curiosity with the advancing of the storyline, impresses with a high degree of realism, cuts all the crap and focuses on the main track only and ensures that everything told or shown has a link or relevance in the movie with nothing superfluous. The only thing that defies logic (in my opinion) is the incident of the contract-killer’s not thrusting Vidya on the metro rail track and drawing her back instantly. When the contract-killer (and the person hiring him) had to ultimately get rid of her, then there was no reason to pass only a threatening and leaving her alive.
imagesI am not revealing the story here and I was very much annoyed to see that just after the release of this movie, certain reviewers had revealed the suspense through spoilers in their reviews, thus diluting the pleasure of the prospective goers of the movie. I feel, there is no need to reveal the story or the plot here and it’s better that the story is revealed to the viewers on layer-by-layer basis on the screen itself. It’s a suspense thriller but it contains healthy and natural comedy as well as the human aspect of life also. In certain ways, I feel like being able to compare this movie with the classic suspense thriller directed by Vijay Anand, starring Dev Anand, Vyjayantimala and Ashok Kumar – Jewel Thief (1967). However the latter was a typical Bollywood potboiler studded with songs and dances whereas Kahaani is a modern movie sans songs and dances, pump and show. With Kahaani, our suspense thriller cinema had come of age.MV5BMTExYmVkNDAtZjQ4Yi00NTM2LWExOTgtZjJlOTNjNzJjNGUzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc5Mjg4Nzc@._V1_Kahaani is a near perfect movie with everything falling into place. The real look of Kolkata comes before the audience in the most authentic and influential manner. Not only Vidya Baalan but all other performers (mostly Bengali actors) also have done their parts excellently. In Vishal Shekhar’s music – Tagore’s immortal song Ekla Chalo Re and Aami Shotti Bolchhi are damn impressive. There are no other songs and the flow and the momentum of the story is nowhere broken. The background score is also perfect. Editing is razor-sharp. The director has not made a fool of the audience in the name of mystery. He has provided clues at places for the audience to think and figure out what the suspense is all about. However, the movie is fast paced and does not leave much scope for the viewer to take a pause and think. This edge-of-the-seat thriller is a team effort. At the very end, when the idol of Maa Durga sank into the water, the theatre (in which I was sitting), got echoed with the clapping of the audience. That clapping was not just for Vidya Baalan or Sujoy Ghosh, but it was for the whole Kahaani team.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
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6 Responses to It’s a tale with a sting in the tail

  1. xhobdo says:

    Kahaani one of my most favorite film. Brilliant.
    Thanks a lot for your review.

  2. This is one of my favourites too. Loved Vidya in this. You made to watch it again 🙂

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