It is a stormy night. Two troubled lovers are at the throes of passion only to suffer the anguish of unrequited love. But then, what is love which does not rebel to attain the unattainable?? Karan Johar’s KALANK is for all those love-sick poodles whose idea of romance is all about dancing wearing expensive jewelry and suffering in designer labels and spotless make-up. Still, life is tough on these poor rich kids.
KALANK: A Visual Extravaganza
Set in the pre-partition era, the film boasts of an ensemble cast. From the word Go, KALANK is a visual extravaganza. Opulence and magnificence going hand in hand. Lest you forget, it is Dharma production and love does not come cheap here 😊.
To lock-in, the beauty of these exquisite costumes and porcelain faces with our two eyes is indeed a herculean task!!! A major part of the film is drenched in the rich colour palette of charcoal grey and velvety red with a dash of dull gold and silver. Such is the beautiful explosion of colours that KALANK deserves to be watched only on big screens. Credit rests with cinematographer and Art director for their synchronised efforts. But in a bid to just ‘appear’ beautiful, the locations of the film shift from Gwalior fort to Ganga Ghat to the Himalayas to Moroccan alleys without any explanation or connection to the story.
But if, Director Abhishek Varman was trying to match up with the scales of ‘King-of-Grandiose’ Sanjay Leela Bhansali, than KALANK does not qualify to be called even as its first copy!! Because behind this grand façade of majestic
As a period drama, it has ticked all the right boxes except the crucial box of a storyline.
The simplistic plot gets unnecessarily stretched with disjointed twists and turns. Love blooms between the youngsters of two warring castes in the times of bloodied partition. Of course, the focus stays firmly on the love angle of Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. But fringe characters of a courtesan, Madhuri Dixit- Nene, patriarch Sanjay Dutt, Newspaper editor, Aditya Roy Kapoor and his dying wife, Sonakshi Sinha, just make things complicated by bringing out enough skeletons from their cupboards. After all, there is no harm in shedding copious tears while bathed in diamonds and sinking in 30 kg zardozi ghaagras.
Finally, in spite of going through umpteen sacrifices and facing extreme prejudices by one and all, true love refuses to die down.
Finally, at 2hours and 58 minutes, audiences are more than eager to reunite the star crossed lovers and put an end to these never-ending sermons of Pati-Patni ka Pyaar, Khandaan Ke Riwaj, Najayaaj Aulad Ka Kalank etc etc etc.
Also, it seems the characters set between 1944-56 talk to each other only in heavy dialogues laced with Urdu couplets. One is almost tempted to read the English subtitles instead.
But for die-hard romantics, KALANK’S celebration of love through glitzy dance & song sequences might just give birth to a new fan base.
Muscular Varun Dhawan looks fetching in kohl rimmed eyes and colourful kurtas. He has put in 200% efforts in this otherwise run-of-the-mill character. He does justice to the character of Zafar who is unable to make peace with his troubled past and is hence out for a revenge at any costs.
Normally his crackling chemistry with Alia Bhatt is four films old. But in KALANK, it pales in comparison. Partly because Alia looks too young to sink into matured-beyond-age of Roop. We miss her radiance and dimpled smile who otherwise walks with a long face through the film ( barring the introductory song).
Maximum people might watch the film for the screen-union of Madhuri and Sanjay Dutt. Both defy ages to look graceful. But somehow Madhuri has turned into a curious case of misfit roles. Trying to redo a Chandramukhi at fifty turns out to be a non-starter. But she still dances like a dream and deserves meatier roles for sure.
One long stride, a slant smile and a careless smirk
Aditya Roy Kapoor looks aristocratic with a perfect body language to match yet falls short when it comes to emotional outbursts. Sonakshi Sinha continues with her LOOTERA look and even the character. She makes a mark in a small role.
The film could have been easily trimmed by half hour if the director was not hell-bent on sponsoring Madhuri’s kathak performances and Varun’s Bullfight (just to showcase his newly minted eight packs). Two songs namely, Ghar Aa Jana Pardesiya and Yeh Pyaar Kalank hai stand out for their melody.
Kalank Review in a nutshell
In spite of all the right ingredients, KALANK wears a forlorn attitude that is impossible to shrug off. It is a sincere request to the makers of the film to leave the marriage of art and commerce to Bhansali films and concentrate on the script instead.