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KALANK - Over stylized, mismatching period drama made in the awe of other directors, with major contradictions missing the emotional connect. (Review By Bobby Sing)

18 Apr, 2019 | Movie Reviews / 2019 Releases

A few weeks before the release, Karan Johar said in an interview that this was the story he and his father had in mind 15 years ago and it was Yash Johar’s dream coming true in 2019 with KALANK directed by Abhishek Varman, who has been associated with renowned directors and had earlier directed 2 STATES for Johar's Dharma Productions.
So beginning with the story itself, cannot say whether it’s exactly the same or something different, but it’s hard to accept that a veteran like Yash Johar would have got excited by this particular plotline with nothing novel in its concept and everything repetitive. In fact KALANK turns out to be such a tasteless amalgamation of many hit films of the past beginning from TRISHUL to GADAR, DEVDAS, DDLJ (in climax) and even BAHUBALI resulting in simply nothing.
Stressing more upon the visuals and grandeur, it never looks like a film based on the pre-independence era, as the art direction, costumes and its complete visualization damn cares about any kind of authenticity. Was really surprised watching the so foolishly inserted bull-fight in the film that was just there as an entertaining circus item, having no connection or relevance whatsoever with the theme talking about the tension around 1947.
Over-styling almost everything visible and heard on the screen including the background score and forced philosophical dialogues, KALANK heavily suffers as a mismatching period drama and that is the reason why even the praise-worthy visuals and cinematography fail to impress irrespective of the huge efforts made.
Moreover the film contradicts itself in its script progression more than once which is truly amazing, considering the audience ready to accept anything and everything served by the big names. For instance, Alia keeps roaming around, having a good time with Varun playing the Muslim orphan lohar, but nobody seems to be concerned, even though she is the newly-wed Bahu of a well-known royal Hindu family of the town and travels in the royal cart (bagghi) too. So the film keeps progressing moving into the second half showcasing them as love-birds, till the director suddenly wakes up bringing in the maid/caretaker reporting the same to the head of the family Sanjay Dutt. In another instance, though everyone knows Aditya as the owner of the newspaper campaigning against the proposed partition as their (religious) enemy, they still are shown happily dancing with him in an item song forgetting everything about partition and their mutual rivalry. After all, a Karan Johar production has to have an item song featuring the two heroes dancing together (including a cameo), and it doesn’t really matter whether the film is a period drama revolving around a sensitive subject of partition.
The faulty vision behind the project also affects its music, which doesn’t appear to be as appealing as it sounded before the film’s release. To be honest, only the title track and “Ghar More Pardesiya” manages to work to a certain extent with everything else falling flat despite the presence of all reputed actors and an experienced dancer as Madhuri Dixit. 
Having said that, the performers still cannot be blamed, as they all become victim of a visionless, overcrowded multi-starrer film written quite poorly. Sadly, both Sanjay Dutt and Madhuri Dixit do not create any kind of throwback magic coming back together after so many years. Varun Dhawan tries his best but doesn’t look like his character more interested in flaunting the body and strangely relying on the Kaajal – which is not any symbolic feature of Muslims. Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapoor are just okay in their mostly silent acts with Alia being more impactful in her dances and Sonakshi strongly reminding you of her LOOTERE. On the other hand, Kunal Khemu impresses even in his flawed characterization of a close friend and Kiara Advani is almost not there with only a song and few bedroom scenes (surely signing the film just for the big banner).
Overall, it’s a pity that we get to see such a below average film made at such a lavish scale with such a potential cast wasting a great opportunity. Besides it's really surprising how the experienced makers couldn’t see the painfully slower pace and excessive length of their film lacking the most important emotional connect failing to rise above it grand visual appeal. Wonder what was the feedback in the trial shows of the film from their close associates? But then, what could they have done even after a negative feedback in the trial shows. As it seems, probably they knew that they had a pretty weak product in hand and thus cleverly released it two days early to take advantage of the holidays resulting in a long weekend. 
However, this once again proves the fact that most of the production houses today are least concerned about the subject or its emotional quotient, operating with the sole aim of making profits banking on the face-value of a film, that can easily be sold at forcibly increased ticket prices extracting the most from its first weekend itself and nothing else.
Anyway, ending on an important note, there is always a huge difference in creating something with your own individual style post learning from the masters and creating something remaining in the awe of the masters whom you admire, idolize and have learned the art from.
Creating anything in an awe of a master, copying his style which may or may not be related with your own theme can rarely result in an appreciable creation, getting lost in plain imitations, which exactly is the case with KALANK, both lacking a soul as well as an original feel.
The hard work is right there but it has a clear influence of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ashutosh Govarikar, Karan Johar and even Rajamouli (associated with Dharma Productions), without anything of Abhishek’s own with his individual mark or style. Wish the director had tried to create something original instead of just imitating the masters, following the ongoing trend or blindly working on the given instructions. 
Interestingly KALANK has a song, very rightly describing the experience of watching it in the multiplexes pointing towards the money spent on its high priced tickets and it says, “Tabaah Ho Gaye”.
So the choice is all yours, as always.
Rating : 1.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for its couple of songs including the title track)
Note : Following the years old exploitive practice, the ticket prices were yet again raised by the multiplexes for the film releasing two days early on a Wednesday. 
Strangely where the Consumer Product Industry organizes MEGA SALES on festivals reducing their high prices, the multiplexes ironically increase the prices exploiting the unconcerned public. Now though the people might have accepted this timely exploitation without thinking of any revolt as such, BTC will continue the tradition of deducting a big one star from such films, not caring about their passionate viewers. 
Net Ratings of KALANK : 1.5 - 1 / 5 = 0.5

Tags : KALANK Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Karan Johar Productins, Films revolving around partition of India
18 Apr 2019 / Comment ( 0 )
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