Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Film conversations: Kahaani 2

While the first one was advertised as 'a mother of a story' (and it was), the second one alludes to a different kind of motherhood.  

The grittiness, realism, Kolkata, Bengali culture and accent, the lead actress, the director and the mystery element, all return in Kahaani 2, minus the other support cast from the first installment.  

Nevertheless, some parallels are worth noting between 1 and 2: the ironic killer LIC agent from 1 is replaced by a killer female police officer; the abetting Bengali police officer is replaced by another non-Bengali police officer who also happens to be the main protagonist's ex-husband; and the doubting senior non-Bengali detective is replaced by another doubting Bengali police officer.  Also present is the nondescript love interest of the main protagonist who has nothing much to do; and of course the mystery element from 1 that keeps you guessing throughout.

In all this, the film manages to make a serious point on child sexual abuse.  The dubious culprit who is also the uncle of the child, the denying grandmother who invariably takes her son's side and blames the child for all things wrong, the attempts to cover-up - they are all there; and for most parts the makers manage to get the issues right.

But the issue is used only to add to the thriller aspect of the narrative, rather than to make a social point, as in Monsoon Wedding.  Nevertheless, the grimness of this subject is matched amply by the bleakness of the backdrop and the deglamourised look sported by the lead protagonist.  

Comparisons are no doubt, odious; but since this has been presented as Kahaani 2, one cannot help pit it against the first Kahaani.  It is also true that sequels rarely ever steal a march over the first one, and this is no different.  

Even though the tautness is there, it is no way as riveting or unpredictable as the first one.  The sting in the tail certainly is not as surprising as the previous one.  If anything, the fast pace and editing, which are probably meant to keep the story taut and interesting, take away the real feel of the lead character's personality and the reason why she is a recluse initially following her early life experiences, and how she transforms herself into a protective mother later.  

A few loose threads hang about; for instance, why did the policeman - far too handsome to belong in a dilapidated small town police station - who was hand-in-glove with the mother all along, allow her to face the deadly duo all on her own towards the end?  The mother, after having been declared 'officially dead', manages to emigrate to the US for the child's treatment, with only her name changed on the passport.  

In spite of all this, I would go miles to see a quality film, as opposed to ego-inflated-superstar-oriented, ostentatious, self-glorifying, kahaani-less films.   

Therefore, I highly recommend Kahaani 2, which is well worth your time and money, and will not disappoint you on the whole.  

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