Imagine a movie, which has the potential to strike a chord with the audiences after movies based on partition like Gadar, Train to Pakistan, Pinjar, to name a few, mesmerized the audiences with the same. You have some of the most influential stars to play the important roles. You have the backing of Dharma Productions. Nothing can go wrong here, right? That’s where the audience gets duped by Abhishek Varman’s ‘Kalank’, which like ‘Zero’, truly justifies the movie title – it is indeed a ‘Kalank’ [blot] on the face of Indian cinema.
Satya Chaudhary [Sonakshi Sinha] is informed that she would succumb soon to the cancer that she got diagnosed with. In order to give her loving husband Dev [Aaditya Roy Kapur] another shot at a better life, she surprisingly arranges his marriage with an acquaintance’s rebellious daughter Roop [Alia Bhatt].
Unable to adjust to the rigors of the Chaudhary household, Roop finds solace in learning music from an ex-courtesan Baahar Begum [Madhuri Dixit], who resides in the notorious Heera Mandi of Husnabad, a majestic city near Lahore, British India. How her adulterous relationship with the local womanizer Zafar [Varun Dhawan] affects the Chaudhary household, as well as her own life, especially in the wake of the partition, forms the crux of the story.
The Bad –
Usually, some movies become case studies for aspiring filmmakers as to how to create such compelling masterpieces. However, in the case of Kalank, it is the complete opposite. If this movie were a case study, it would’ve been a perfect case study on how not to make a period drama.
Zero originality, plagiarizing from various sources, including lifting a plot line from Munshi Premchand’s ‘Saut’ (observe the angle between Satya, Roop and Dev), and mediocre storytelling makes Kalank an unforgettable drag. The movie copied blatantly from Bahubali, Gadar, Padmaavat, DDLJ etc, failing to infuse the magic of either.
The editor of this movie needs some serious lessons in basic film editing. For a movie like Kalank, it was almost hilarious to see English subtitles being inserted and faded at whim. For the VFX of the movie, the lesser said, the better.
The movie is so bad, that even films like ‘Thugs of Hindostan’ and ‘Zero’ would look handsome in front of this. If the producers are brave enough to pump in 80 crores for this period drama, could they not spend some money for a decent script? Despite having a plotline with some potential, the characters of Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit were extremely underutilized.
Is there anything even Good?
However, even in the dark clouds, there is a ray of sunshine. The few bright spots in this movie were the music, the sets, and actors Aditya Roy Kapur and Alia Bhatt. For a person, who has been way too much underutilized in other movies, Aditya Roy Kapur surprises one and all as the no nonsense manager of Daily Times, Dev Chaudhary.
A true-blue progressive, who doesn’t like being bullied by political compulsions, a better focus on Dev’s personality would’ve removed the scourge of watching a movie laden with Kalank. Though Alia Bhatt’s Roop makes us frown with her constant confusion and her dumb approach to human relationships, in terms of acting, she essays her role quite well.
Had the character of Varun Dhawan not been exploited for the propaganda of the makers, he did nail the role effortlessly. Even Kunal Khemmu, as the vicious fanatic Abdul, surprises us with the conviction to his role. We wish he gets better opportunities.
All in all, Kalank was a golden opportunity to depict the complexities of relationships in the wake of the partition that got subdued by propaganda. Grand sets and foot tapping music aren’t enough to make a movie a success, if the content is mediocre. We’d rate Kalank with 1/5 stars.