Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Jugal Hansraj,Kharaj Mukherjee, Tota Roy Choudhury
In 2012 writer-director Sujoy Ghosh and actress Vidya Balan came together to give us Kahaani, an edge-of-the seat suspense thriller, which set a new benchmark to beat in Bollywood. The same duo now returns with Kahaani 2, which is not a sequel but an independent film in the same genre. Naturally the expectations are very high from the talented duo. How does this second installment in the Kahaani-franchise fare?
What’s the plot?
Set in a small town near Kolkata, Kahaani 2 begins as a story of a single working mother and her paraplegic wheelchair-bound teenage daughter. But soon a series of shocking incidents turns it into a cesspool of memories and mysteries where the past mixes with the present and the identities and the relationships get tangled in knots. At the core of all this drama is a lone woman taking on the world to desperately try and save a young child from harm; and a cop who is unsure of what he is dealing with. Where is this thing heading? What will it reveal?
· Sujoy Ghosh, the director, once again wows with his superb suspense-building storytelling skills. The back and forth narrative, the subtle human behavioural observations, the memorable characterizations, the assured non-gimmicky camera moments and using simple rundown locations for atmosphere-build-up…..his signature directorial style is fantastic. He manages to convey much more than the mere sum of dialogues and visuals.
· Vidya Balan comes back into her elements and delivers a terrific performance as the complex central character with multiple shades.
· Arjun Rampal is a revelation as the cop caught up in a dilemma about the guilt of the criminal he is investigating. It is definitely his best performance to date.
· The supporting cast is excellent and they get and essay some memorable characters.
· The commentary on the menace of child abuse will be an eye opener for many.
· Sujoy Ghosh, the writer, comes up a bit short on creating shocks and surprises. The story has loopholes and the coincidences-filled narrative is not convincing at times.
· The climax feels predictable.
· The Bengali atmosphere reminiscent of the original Kahaani has lost its novelty.
· The music (mostly serving as the background) is not memorable.
It may not be in the same league as its predecessor but Kahaani 2 is still a very watchable thriller thanks to its brilliant direction, social subtext and some superb performances. Sujoy Ghosh has plans to turn the Kahaani- franchise into a series of independent suspense thrillers; well, I am already waiting for the next one!