Dhan Te Nan! It has finally arrived. Amidst much hype, extreme expectations and mass publicity, on the eve of India’s 62nd Independence Day, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey has finally released. So I walk into the cinema equipped with a tub of masala popcorn and excitement galore waiting to watch Bhardjwaj’s latest offering. As I waited for the film to begin, I thought back and replayed every single Vishal Bhardwaj film I could remember; Makdee, Maqbool, The Blue Umbrella and Omkara. If I had to pick my favorite, it would be a tossup between Maqbool and Omkara but his list clearly defines the extent of his talent. The director, music director and singer has many inspirations; Shakespeare and Quentin Tarantino being the two who the director openly draws insight from. However, Bhardwaj has an incredibly unique style of his which cannot be imitated or copied. If actors hope and wait for the director to call on them to be a part of his upcoming film then audiences wait eagerly to watch his film for a multitude of reasons—the music, the execution and the performances. Kaminey promises to entertain beyond entertaining with Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra both playing central roles while adding some kaminapan to the film. So, are you ready? Here we go…Dhan Te Nan…
Welcome to the dual twin world of Charlie and Guddu (both played by Shahid Kapoor). While the first lisps, the latter chooses to stammer while he speaks and that’s not the only difference. Guddu is the demure sweet NGO worker who believes in future planning and keeping tabs on his life. And add to his nearly-perfect life girlfriend Sweety (Priyanka Chopra) who refrains from letting the love of her life that she is, in fact the sister of notorious gangster Bhope Bhau (Amol Gupte), and basically understand that something chaotic is about to happen. One day Sweety lets her lover Guddu know that she is pregnant putting his life into a complete frenzy. On the other hand, the evil twin Charlie hits the jackpot when he comes across a guitar-full of cocaine which gives him the ultimate high figuratively. And as the brothers both individually deal with their situations, they are forced to meet and confront one another in what then becomes a game of power and escape.
As I walked out of the cinema in a complete trance, all I could say was, WOW! There are only a handful of directors who can direct a film which is not only dark but entertaining; and only Vishal could pull this one off. The film lives up to its exclusive reputation and works as the ultimate entertainer because it falls into various film genres. You may have seen many gangster films but Kaminey is pretty much India’s answer to Pulp Fiction—dark, violent and yet engaging. The script and dialogues are witty, smart and humorous which has been handled by the cast correctly but clearly under the acute direction of Bhardwaj. Executed fantastically and edited superbly, the only flaw with the film is the first half which drags. If you manage to stay engrossed, the film continues to gain momentum and erupt into a superb second half. The climax had me a bit ruffled and lost—I think it was supposed to be funny but ironically left me looking for more. And those are my only criticisms. The extreme gore and violence didn’t seem to bother me, and in fact became an integral part to the film. Oh and and and, the best part about the film, the enticing ‘Dhan Te Nan’ which makes my skin crawl with excitement.
Shahid Kapoor has found himself in the role of a lifetime. You’ve seen him as the lost Aditya Kashyap in Jab We Met and then the shy Prem in Vivah and while he has been incredible in both roles, his portrayal of Charlie and Guddu is his best till date. While he’s mean as Charlie, he’s totally cute as Guddu. And the amount of work it must have taken to swap between stuttering and stammering is only imaginable and is visible on screen. The distinction between both brothers is clear and Shahid comes out a complete winner. Priyanka Chopra is cute in her Marathi avatar and depicts Sweety with much non-nuance which is required for her role. Although, I didn’t particularly think she mastered the Marathi accent too well. Amole Gupte is literally awesome as the Maharashtra loving Manoos who really has you in splits. The rest of the supporting cast is apt and effective.
Okay so what did I like? Shahid, the music — ‘Dhan Ta Nan’ is the song of the year – and the thrill the film gives you. There might be a bit too much coke in this film for the likes of anyone, but it does take you to another level. This may actually be one of those rare films which you can compare to a Hollywood flick. Would I take the kids? Probably not. But that shouldn’t stop you from grabbing a bag of masala chips and heading down to the nearest cinema to catch this one. All said and done, the film belongs to Vishal Bhardwaj. The ace director is back with a bang and how! The director has taken Hindi films to a complete different level or high in this case, raising the bar for any film that is to follow.
An intoxicating, stoned watch — do it and do it now!