Movie Review: 'Kaabil'
Opened: 25 January 2017
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy, Narendra Jha, Suresh Menon, Girish Kulkarni, Urvashi Rautela
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Producer: Rakesh Roshan
Oh Hrithik. As if having a mutated crocodile in potentially one of the worst films in recent years (Mohenjo Daro, in case you were wondering) wasn't enough, you go that extra mile and subject us to this humdrum of a film. Sure. It's called Kaabil but the only ability it has is to subject its poor, unsuspecting audience to a migraine with the sheer banality of it all. And with Sanjay Gupta at the helm of these rather tired affairs, it seems like it's a case of the blind leading the blind. Literally.
In a script lifted straight from the 80's films of yore, replete with a corrupt system, a hammy villain with coloured lenses to boot, suicidal damsels who hang themselves from ceiling fans, and crass item numbers with wannabe, unknown starlets with heaving bosoms (I'm guessing Katrina Kaif and Sunny Leone were way too expensive), Kaabil is a lame attempt at making Roshan appeal more to those 'seeti maar', imbecilic front benchers, who still seem to get some kind of sadistic pleasure with in your face gore and churning rape sequences, making you question Roshan's script sense and why it seems to have gone for a complete toss in recent years.
I shit you not. If you've seen its trailer there's not a single surprise in this film or the way its narrative unfolds. You know what's going to happen from the get go. Immaculately presented blind couple (Hrithik Roshan and Yami Gautam, with not a single hair strand out of place), are introduced, fall in love and for all of five seconds life is utter bliss. Enter local goon (an insufferable Rohit Roy), who takes a fancy to blind Mrs (Gautam, who seems hellbent on making a career out of wifey parts that require her to get bumped off, and with all of two and a half expressions in the entire film, presumably because she realised what a catastrophic choice she'd made signing on, and just wanted it over and done with), and well, need I go on? It's pretty obvious what happens thereafter – blind dude runs amok, wreaks vengeance on the film's antagonists and subsequently, our senses as an audience, subjecting us to visuals and noise that might make even connoisseurs of South Indian films cringe in their seats.
Again, the joke's in the film's title. For a film ironically titled Kaabil one really questions Sanjay Gupta's capabilities as director. Sure the film's frames are luminously lit and sure some of the action sequences are pretty badass, but beyond that? There's absolutely FA that's worth engaging with here.
Performance wise, Roshan is terrific and as earnest as ever and it's obvious he's done some prep for the part, but surely a man of his talents deserves better... Way better than the trite material he gets to work with here. To be fair, Gautam also has a few subtle moments which she adds some gravitas to, but because the onus is on Roshan (it's a FilmKraft production after all), she gets lost in all the chaos, and you never once take her seriously because ultimately you know where it's all headed. And the less said about Ronit Roy's caricature-ish antagonist the better. He doesn't even attempt to rise above the ludicrousness of it all, often acting like he's walked off the sets of a Balaji saas-bahu serial, or worse still, a bad Sunny Deol/Rajnijkant ham fest.
One of the many discrepancies here is that the film never really gives us a chance to get to know the couple, their back story, their motivations and as such, your hearts never really go out to them. And don't even get me started on how insulting it is to imply that a person with a disability has to choose a spouse who's similarly able, because god forbid, they'd add absolutely zero value to anyone else's life.
I wanted to give Kaabil a chance. I really did. But in the end I gave up exasperated because I thought we'd evolved as an audience and left the regressive 80's far far behind. The problem is we may have, but the Roshans clearly haven't. As such, I'm going with two stars out of five (with an extra star just for Roshan's sincerity and enthusiasm), in what can be classed as one of the most mediocre films to come out of the FilmKraft stable.