Friday, August 14, 2009

KAMINEY: Vishal Bhardwaj loses his plot for once

After the very brilliant 'Maqbool' and 'Omkara', its only too natural for cinema affectionados like me to expect something of same intensity from Vishal Bhardwaj, especially when he attempts his first big real mainstream commercial potboiler all with twins long lost, mumbai gangsters, drug mafia, anti-narcotic police squads and opportunistic politicians. Vishal looses the only way he could have - by overdoing things. Result: too many characters, too much detail and too little plot and emotional depth. In the end, while we appreciate the new frontiers this movie has won technically, not to mention the fantastic music, we feel nothing about the characters or the story. Make no mistake, Kaminey is a honest, brave effort and could be dubbed as the best in Hindi along 'Dev D' in the new genre but its does not leave an impact on the audience like Vishal's earlier movies did. In entertainment, this succeeds largely through its dialogues but is boring at times.

Vishal expresses his admiration for Quentin Tarantino by injecting a scene in which a nurse dressed in white struts her long legs. Maybe the whole movie being dialog-driven with its parallel narrative, with a mix of humor and violence and some excellent background score is supposed to be a tribute to Tarantino but the 2.5 hour movie leaves behind its audience somewhere in between when boredom sets in. In fact, for a minute towards the end, I wondered if I was watching a Priyadarshan movie!

I can think of only 1 reason right now that spoiled the dish and that is too many characters and although they were all excellently written for, they take up the whole time and the plot is left too thin, too thin to make us all wonder at times what the movie is all about. Vishal worked out excellent details for his characters and the actors, including Shahid Kapur, played them equally well. It was a delight seeing Amol Gupte's opportunistic politician character and the 3 Gangster brothers characters bonded typically in loquacious Bengali style. The wordplay in dialogues is exceptionally witty and yes, its intelligent writing with lot to read between the lines. For instance, in the scene involving the 2 elder Bengali gangster brothers, one is engrossed child-like playing video games from his bed while the other rather worriedly keeps dialling the youngest one Mikhail (who didn't return home by then) from the adjoining bathroom. The scene, without a word, speaks volumes about their brotherhood and its only too natural to expect them to come sometime later with their guns blazing seeking revenge. And how they come!

Notwithstanding all this brilliance and hard work, Kaminey could be limited only to the multiplexes in next few weeks due to the the lack of emotional wiring which disables it from reaching broader audience. For all his awe for Tarantino, I wonder how Vishal could have not noticed that Kill Bill, for all its Tarantino style humor-violence mix, had tonnes of emotional undercurrent as a revenge saga. While Vishal may take a bow for all his technical exuberance with Kaminey, he would have to wait until next time for a decent share at the box-office.


prasad said...

Long time no see !
Nice review but did you notice that you got mixed up with Quentin Tarantino as Quarantino...:)
Jokes apart, it just released this day raa here,will catch up sometime this weekend.
Anyways, I was looking forward to your say on Gulaal,I for once liked it immensely.

Amar said...


Hmm, have been pretty busy. I shud confess I even missed Gulaal, let me catch it on DVD. I was eager to watch it but cudnt make time.

Thanks for pointing out at the mixup. Blame it on my sleep. Mistake Quarantined :)

Sandeep Naredla said...

Once again an excellent write up amar :) I agree with most of your views but felt you are a bit too harsh comparing to a priyadarshan's movie :) I cant imagine even priyadarshan dreaming of executing any single scene from this movie :):)

Yes you are right, the characterization has overtaken the emotional plot which should have been more effective. But nevertheless, once again it was a great experience watching a Vishal Bharadwaj film. For film buffs like us, it was a treat to see such an excellent writing for characters on screen.

You didnt mention much about Shahid Kapoor but i thought he was excellent playing dual roles. I sense this film will make him go places atleast in the kind of roles that he gets in future. Priyanka as usual is first rate.

Amol it to believe it thats it...

Yes, i think vishal took time in first half developing characters, and you are right i could sense some boredom...But i think in second half, it was pretty pacy enough. A special mention for climax really. The Background score in some 5-7 min of climax, i think it was a best example of how a background score can elevate the scenes in film. I just loved it in BIG Cinemas here.

Overall, it didnt disappoint me..But also i went with so high expectations that i should admit that it was not hard hitting like Omkara..

Coming to BoxOffice fate, i heard it got an excellent opening which is not surprising, but i dont think audience are prepared well enough for such genres still. It may not reach a wider range of audience. But i hope it will have a decent run. We should not also forget the impact of swine flu scare in the coming days :)

Raghavendra Keesari said...

Hey amar, after a long time there is something at your blog, read your review, i didnt watch
the movie yet, but still i would like to watch it, as i saw, vishal's earlier movie
omkara,which i like the most, and the beedi song in that movie, and now dhan tan naaa,
let me watch,..

I. said...

Hey there Amar,

I read your review first and went for the movie with major reservations, since i kinda believe in your movie reviewing abilities..

I agree with you most counts.. But i liked the second part.... and to compare this with a Priyadarshan is something I dont really agree..

Either ways.. it was really nice reading the review. Thank you and Bravo for ur effort..

Looking forward to more..

prasad said...

After having finally caught up with the movie, all I can say is it catered to my taste buds big time !
Maybe because I didn't go in expecting the brilliance of Maqbool or the humane Blue Umbrella or the riveting stuff Omkara is made of...but then again Kaminey is no less an effort,boasting of raw energy and is gritty yet extremely entertaining.
Kaminey has its own share of flaws-inconsistencies in Charlie's speech,not so well-etched characters,a tame and tedious climax-but again Vishal's signature touch and finesse with which the movie was made far outweigh them.
It reminds me of Mani's Thiruda Thiruda-both well made,out and out caper films,though genre,subject and treatment wise far removed from their best work.While one's a tribute to Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid kinda film, the other pays homage to Tarantino's - Kaminey's climax being a straight rip-off of Reservoir Dogs.
For once Vishal too has the privilege of exerting some cinematic,creative liberties...My two thumbs up !

Amar said...


Thanks buddy.
I thought Shahid gave his career best performance and I think he played both roles so well he looked better than what SRK looked like in Don playing 2 roles! Playing the flamboyant one is easy in both the movies. Playing the other character (Guddu here who stammers)is the challenge and Shahid does that surprisingly easily. He has surely come a long way from imitating the King Khan in 'Ishq Vishq'. We can watch out for his future roles with soem expectation.

The comparision to Priyan was made in a lighter vein :) I felt that way during the climax when it becomes a free-for-all. That scene when Tashi enters the scene was neither serious nor comical and was loud. For a minute, it reminded hulchuls and herapheris! I think this explanation satisfies u too Tess :). God, what has Priyan become to let u all protest for this comparision!

If you went to the movie with major reservations after reading me, then I will better take care to be more clear next time i blog :). I wasnt satisfied due to my expectations from Vishal but i did mention in the post that this is the best in recent times from Bollywood. Somehow, my criticality seems to have taken over the post :)

Knew u wud love this.
Well, along with Shakespeare Vishal skipped the intensity too for time-being. Yeah, the climax was tame and didnt give the high we look for. Let us see what will Vishal offer next.

See u folks again. Keep reading.

Deepak said...

Hi Amar ! Did not get to watch the movie yet; however the blog seems to be very nice. Kudos, for doing it time and again. Good to see your blog after a long time.

MTv Life.

prasad said...

Go grab tix for Inglorious Bastards if you haven't yet-Tarantino's refreshing take on the Nazi-Jews genre.It has its moments on one side-taut screenplay,breathtaking visuals and the score;on the other side Tarantino's signature nastiness and his delight in shocking the audience does undercut the movie's purpose...maybe it was meant to be that way.
Woooaw...I'll stop now and let you take over for the actual review.

Amar said...

Hey Deeps,

Nice to see u here ra. Watch it and let me know what u think buddy.


I am eager for the indian release. It looks as if the movie may have just bailed out the Weinsteins from the mess they are in after continuos failures.

Hollywood releases are still quite slow over here. Waiting..