Yesterday, after we had unfurled the Tricolour at our residence apartments, I went to watch Kaminey, the new Vishal Bhardwaj film.
Kaminey is a story about how the lives of two identical brothers, one a small time gambler and the other an idealist, crisscross each other in a series of incidents and after many manoeuvers, culminate in a happily–ever–after end. The title Kaminey (hindi), which loosely translates into a wicked or a vile fellow, derives from the wickedness of the gambler brother and how he uses this trait to survive in the world.
It is now beyond dispute that Vishal is surely an above-average film-maker, with gems like Omkara, Maqbool and The Blue Umbrella to his credit. It has to be said, however, that Kaminey falls just a whisper short of the high standards and expectations one has of him.
It has a rather clichéd story line, reminding one of the old 70s films, complete with bura bhai - achha bhai clashes, villain ka adda and late entry of the police et al.
Admittedly, the treatment and the screen-play is authentic Vishal but the earthliness and the gritty reality which seeps through each of his films has this time been replaced in part by a sort of flight of fancy – what else can you say when you see Priyanka Chopra holding and firing a machine gun!
And the characterization and role-etching, which is always a
Lest you be scared of the movie, however, let me reiterate that the standards by which I am judging Kaminey are a bit harsh - those which have been set up by Vishal’s earlier films. As a stand-alone film, Kaminey is a gripping movie, exemplifying Vishal’s superior understanding of this craft and has its strong points.
First, the film unearths a different Shahid Kapur – it stands to surely catapult him from the “boys’ club” to “men-only” section. It could be termed an out-and-out Shahid film. Add to that a surprise villain in Amole Gupte.
Second is the delightful music score – a combination of some brilliant lyrics by Gulzar (who else can write Dhan Te Nan with such élan?), music by Vishal himself, both riding on the voices of Sukhwinder and Mohit Chauhan.
Third is the fast pace and slick editing of the film, which keeps the adrenaline flowing.All in all, the movie merits a must-watch-once tag.