film
Bollywood film review: Kaabil

A dark, revenge thriller that shocks and satisfies

Posted: 25.01.17

A masala movie, but not as you know it, the Ghajini-esque Kaabil begins with a sugary sweet love story before it turns into a heart-wrenchingly sad tale where the only way to heal wounds is via bloodshed, murder and an arson attack. Our hero and revenge seeker is Hrithik Roshan, looking fair and lovelier than ever, playing Rohan, a blind voice artist who creates characters for animations by day, and by night is the sweetest husband in existence. Gorgeous, caring, generous and loving, his mission in life is to make his fellow blind wife’s dreams come true.

Then one day everything changes with the unexpected and horrific act of rape. A topic rarely touched upon in popular Indian cinema, rape is a regular feature of Indian news and since the sexual assault and murder of Jyoti Singh on a bus ride home in Delhi back in December 2012 shook the world, not a lot has changed. Kaabil is perhaps the Roshan’s chance (the film is Produced by Hrithik’s Father Rakesh) to use their status to confront this important topic through the biggest medium there is in India: film.

Yet as much as it tries to keep the shocking act that led to the revenge story unfold as the main crux of the story, the film descends into a full-blown Bollywood edge of your seat revenge thriller filled with cleverly-plotted developments and some pretty nasty incidents. There are moments of sheer disbelief and far-fetched situations which flaw the story, but if you invest in Hrithik’s strong portrayal of a man who relies on his senses to get by and allow yourself to indulge in his unexplained intelligence, knowledge of how to handle powerful political bullies and his genius ideas for how to get revenge, then you’ll enjoy this movie much more.

The female lead Supriya Sharma who plays Yami is likeable and the co-stars including corrupt police officers are well cast. Unlike some thrillers the story is explained at every stage, making it easy viewing, and though dark and disturbing at times, it comes together as a well thought out and watchable film.

The biggest flaw is the item number. I am the ultimate fan of item numbers and have long adored watching them bring light-hearted escapism and beauty to the screen, but in the case of this film it disgusts me that shortly after committing his heinous crime, we see the main rapist (there are two in the story) dancing and singing along while an extremely scantily clad woman gyrates in a room filled with of drunk men. It’s downright disgusting and insensitive and adds nothing to the film other than bringing it down a peg or two.

Kaabil is in cinemas from January 25th 2017.

Momtaz Begum-Hossain
 

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