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  • SC asks ex-apex court judge who probed Guj encounters if he shared the final report with other members.


Refuses to sweep you off your feetA still from Kedarnath
Movie Review - Kedarnath

Refuses to sweep you off your feet

07 Dec 2018 | 6:55 PM

Film: Kedarnath

Cast: Sara Ali Khan, Sushant Singh Rajput, Nitish Bharadwaj, Alka Amin, Sonali Sachdev, Pooja Gor

Director: Abhishek Kapoor

[ + read story ]

Nonika Singh

Unlike its trailer which evinced people to jump the gun and nastily presume it’s heroine’s tears and aah that ushered in the floods in Kedarnath, let it be said; hold your horses. 

The film makes no connection whatsoever between the two. From the onset, the blame for the environmental catastrophe is laid at the doors of unprecedented development. But that is only one part of the story which is essentially a love tale and more essentially a launch-pad for Sara Ali Khan, the lovely daughter of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh. 

Suffice it is to say that she makes an assured debut, even though her character Mandakini, fashioned after the patakha girls of Bollywood, isn’t exactly fresh or refreshing. 

Here, she is both a femme fatale, who gets a proposal from suitors every other day as well as a free-spirited rebel. She cuts her finger so she doesn’t have to serve pakodas to her fiancé who by the way was initially engaged to her elder sister. Clearly she has reasons to dislike him and look elsewhere.

Moving on to her love interest; Sushant Singh Rajput as Mansoor is a do-gooder who takes selfies with pilgrims, steals ladoos to feed them as he ferries them along on his horse as well as on his back. Indeed, ala Jab Jab Phool Khile he is a lowly porter. But that is where the similarity with the Shashi Kapoor starrer begins and ends. For one Mandakini is no tourist but an integral member of the community that lives around Kedarnath. Indeed, here we see class divide but more than that is the ominous religious barrier. 

In times when many are raising the bogey of love jihad the film does pitch in pertinent points. Hindu-Muslim divide and finally the triumph of human goodness is anyway a subject that Abhishek experimented with in his delightfully poignant Kai Po Che. In Kedarnath, too, he tries to take the bull of communal tension by the horns, hints at cohesiveness and finally moves in the Titanic direction. Yes, you read that right; the doomsday of Titanic is transposed to Kedarnath. Precisely, the reason why he may have decided to place the film against the backdrop of floods which created havoc in Uttarakhand in 2013. The problem with Kedarnath the film is that it tries to operate at several levels yet fails to build an impact either which way. Even the spiritual fervour of the place despite the rather energetic opening song Namo Namo is not optimised.

Actually, if Abhishek’s Kai Po Che was touching and realistic and Fitoor hauntingly surreal, Kedarnath falls in between.  Of course, with a runtime of two hours it certainly doesn’t bore you to death and does pick up momentum in the final crux. 

But even in its most calamitous moments and flood scenes recreated with VFX effects, it can’t quite create a build-up which will have your heart in your mouth or move you to tears. You remain invested thanks to the lead pair. Sushant Singh Rajput appears as earnest as his role demands and allows. Sara with a striking resemblance to her mother is both ebullient, convincing and emotes well. The storyline by Kanika Dhillon and Abhishek despite so many emotive notes embedded within the narrative ties itself into a knot and doesn’t touch an emotive chord. May be fleetingly you feel for the star crossed lovers. But the emotion is neither overwhelming as expected of a love story nor potent enough to do justice to the tragedy of no mean proportions.

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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