Vidya Balan tries her hardest to save a ship that sinks in the second half, but a paint by numbers story is too much for even an actor of her calibre.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.25/5
Kahaani 2 is a 2016 thriller written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh. It stars Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Jugal Hansraj and Naisha Khanna. The film centers around a woman’s struggle to save her daughter from a few unsavory elements of her child’s past.
Vidya Balan is back doing what she does best. She carries the film exceptionally well. Her mannerisms, body language, look, frailty, despair and so much more are brought on to the screen with no more than a few character ticks and movements. She invites the audience into her cold (literally and figuratively) world and immerses them in her story/struggle. Her delicate portrayal of a person who has endured some horrors through her life are expertly performed and very well-directed, one might add. Her being the anchor of the story lets her co-stars shine as well. Almost all of them play off her unique talents and bring qualities which range all the way from the menacing to the hilarious. There is no fault to be found in the actors who were cast into some very interesting roles. Maybe except for one very pale imitation of the iconic Bob Biswas.
The problem with the film however is its story. The film has one of the most gripping setups of any Bollywood film in recent memory but completely botches the resolution of it. The film deals with a very sensitive subject with a deft touch and not much in the terms of “look at me” moments. The quieter and reserved side of things add to the overall tension and the world the film is trying to build. The unforgiving, grey colored and shiver inducing setting on which the film unfolds acts the same way Kolkata did in the first installment of this franchise. Some very precise choices in score and creative visual storytelling (even though most of it is narration) earn some credit for the film-making department.
However once this section of the film passes, the trudge begins. The film starts telegraphing its punches and an audience member who is familiar with a thriller in general knows what the film’s so-called powerful moments will be. The method used to tie up the plot is weak and a five-minute stretch of some of the worst acting Vidya Balan will be seen ever doing on-screen later, the film ends on a dull note. The film wants the audience to feel certain things but sadly it hasn’t earned those feelings.
I walked into the cinema knowing this movie was not a sequel to the first Kahaani and I was a pretty happy customer with that information. The film however forgets this fact and tries its hardest to capture on some of the very things which made the first film so successful. The film however would be served well if it chose to tell its own story like it did so well in its first hour. The film however gets a tip of my fedora for one very good jump scare.
OVERALL SCORE – 2.25/5