Most of us as college goers bunk a class or two to watch the ’First Day First Show’! But here I was doing it (not bunking any class just some chilling out time! ) many years later catching the first day first show of the much hyped and much awaited Kalank, the latest bollywood potboiler with a stellar star cast and marketed as a period drama. It was dramatic indeed, miles away from the realism that the current crop of Indian cinema signifies. However, it is not really many years or centuries ago and is set around partition times of 1947. So just like many other tales told before, this one is also one of the love stories interwoven within the large canvas of the biggest turmoil the country has ever faced.
Alia Bhatt, one of the most promising recent actress, holds centerstage and the narrative and I would say, she holds her own in a magnificent way with a measured and mature performance. Called Roop, Alia embodies the ethereal beauty, grace and subdued emotions even when pitted against the veteran Madhuri. The hardcore Madhuri fans would be eagerly awaiting this release but with a heavy heart, I found the Madhuri magic somewhat lacking. As Bahaar Begum of Lahore, she rules an infamous area and Alia just drifts there due to her love of music. What brews in a resplendent set are few of the most melodious classical song and dance sequences. Who would not want to see Madhuri displaying her kathak skills replete with her unique expressions. Again, Alia is a treat to watch whether dancing to Shreya Ghoshal’s ‘Ghar More Pardesiya’ or like a whiff of fresh air in Arijit’s ‘Hawaoin mein bahange’. Pritam’s classical inspired music and Arijit Singh’s flawless rendition of songs add volumes to this drama. What I can’t omit mention here are breathtakingly beautiful costumes by Manish Mehrotra, which may or may not be authentic, but does add grace and charm to the overall appeal of the movie.
Varun as Zafar, in one of most intense roles, is seeped in hatred. Although he delivers few memorable power packed dialogues, certainly his energy and verve is being missed. Aditya Roy Kapoor stands out as the suave and serious ‘Newspaper editor’ who advocates change and growth in those times and finally pays a price for it. However, Kunal Khemu is a surprise package here in a villainous role with perfect histrionics to match. Ironically, the storyline is predictable and from the word go, can be foretold. This is a typical Bollywood movie, as I have said earlier, so few of the sequences do lack a logic or reasoning! Having said that, the ubiquitous, partition train scene where people are squishing and squeezing inside and uploading themselves on top of the train still gives goosebumps.
For me the movie may have worked in parts but the excitement of first day first show still lives on with some perfect chilling out time midweek. A buttered pop corn tub and some nice escape time (yes movies are that) does wonders on a pleasing day. Arijit’s soulful voice in a very hummable number and Alia’s stellar performance lingers on, rest is already forgotten. Baaki sab First class hai!!
Pic Coutersy: Scroll.in