Movie Review: 'Kedarnath’
Opened: 7 December 2018
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan, Nitish Bharadwaj, Alka Amin, Sonali Sachdev, Pooja Gor, Nishant Dahiya
Director: Abhishek Kapoor
Producers: Ronnie Screwvala, Pragya Kapoor, Abhishek Kapoor, Abhishek Nayyar
Seldom does one get excited for a star son or star daughter debut especially in this era of template six-pack abs and manufactured slim line waists, but this time round, admittedly, things were a little different.
Sara Ali Khan, who seems to have won audiences over with her winsome, articulate and generally open demeanour and endearing candour in literally all her pre-release press tête-à-têtes, even before anyone has actually witnessed her even remotely act, makes her foray into the movies with Kedarnath, a sweeping romance set against the backdrop of a devastatingly real natural disaster, when in 2013, floods and landslides ravaged through the North Indian state Uttarakhand, resulting in hundreds and thousands of casualties.
It’s not often that our films venture into the disaster zone (literally speaking), but Abhishek Kapoor takes the plunge here, and despite the all too familiar tale of a Muslim boy (Sushant Singh Rajput) and a Brahmin girl (Khan) and their predictably doomed and forbidden love story, the end result is an engaging watch mainly because of its eye-watering cinematography, earnest performances and entirely believable and palpable chemistry between its unlikely leads.
In fact it’s to Rajput and especially Khan’s credit, that Kedarnath literally sails through because they invest themselves fully into the story often rising above the sketchy script and cardboard supporting cast.
Rajput, despite probably fully being aware that the whole film is a launchpad for his arresting female co-star, is in fine form here displaying a rare restraint and letting his expressions do most of the talking, but also firing up his intensity as and when the film demands it especially in its penultimate reels.
But inevitably and somewhat expectedly, Kedarnath is Khan’s film. She’s disarmingly spectacular and an inevitable superstar, displaying an astonishing command of the craft and despite being a little raw, will leave you agape at her range – whether it’s the standard Hindi film coquettishness or the firebrand that rebels against her archaic family, Khan nails each and every emotion like a seasoned pro, making you question whether this actually is her debut film.
Besides them, the film benefits hugely from a couple of lilting melodies from Amit Trivedi, remarkably impressive CGI, tight editing and a delightfully welcome and crisp running time of just under two hours – Kapoor knows his product and refrains from repeatedly hammering a point home, and even in its sombre epilogue, avoids milking a calamity, even though his script perhaps gave him the liberty to do just that.
For its old world charm, sweeping landscapes, an earnest Rajput and a supremely confident and fresh Khan, I’m going with three and a half stars. For once, the hype surrounding the by-product of nepotism was actually warranted!