When the movie, Gupt (1997) was released, someone in my school wrote on the blackboard: Kajol is the killer in Gupt, hence depriving others the thrill of a whodunit. Imagine a film’s director doing the same ‘The butler did it’ kind of spoiler act in his own film. Sujoy Ghosh was the last person you’d ever expect to undo everything he’d been building up in the fantastic first half of Kahaani 2.
Kahaani 2 is a film about a woman going to extreme lengths to protect a girl, while hiding her past, ambling along the labyrinthine lanes of Chandan Nagar, Kolkata and Kalimpong. The film begins with the pace of a thriller, only to finally limp its way to the climax with the suspense of a TV crime show. So much so that you hope against hope that it wouldn’t turn out the way you have already guessed post intermission.
Vidya Balan reprises her role of a vulnerable woman of Kahaani, but demonstrates her acting prowess which is perfect to a fault, especially a scene where tears well up in her eyes while conversing with a doctor on phone. The real surprise in Kahaani 2 is surely Arjun Rampal, who is getting better with each film, with the recent one being Rock On 2. Perhaps this actor with complete command over dialogue delivery, body language and histrionics was never given the roles he has always deserved. Way to go!
The first half of Kahaani 2 leaves you so stunned that you might forget about cellphones, popcorns and colas, until those irritating multiplex ads return to torment your senses. Revealing any further would be like committing the cardinal sin of spoiler, but one wonders why Durga Rani Singh’s husband angle was included in the script. It serves no purpose other than few forced laughter, just like those stock laughter TV shows.
Jugal Hansraj shatters our ‘Lakdi ki kaathi’ memories of childhood or ‘Ghar se nikalte hi’ nostalgia of growing up years with a role played to perfection. Wish the writer Sujoy Ghosh hadn’t reduced Jugal’s character into such caricature. The dock scene of rescuing the kid towards the climax was surely the weakest one, apart from the kerosene splashing scene, which was perhaps symbolism for setting the film afire. Kahaani 2, despite its edgy treatment, misses the mark by a whisker, yet keeps you engaged enough with some brilliant performances from its lead as well as character artists and a nuanced screenplay. Well, better luck next time!