Kalank Review (No Spoilers): The Plot is Not What You Think It Is

Well, that was fun!!!! If it had released 20 years ago, it would be a solid hit and forgotten in a month, and then it would pop-up on TV occasionally and people would say “oh yeah, that movie!” I don’t know how it will do in today’s world at the box office, but at least critically I want to treat it as the nice unambitious pleasant fairy tale it aspires to be, not as the Great Noble Brilliant Movie that it wasn’t even trying to be. I suspect other reviewers might ding it for not being the Great Noble Brilliant Movie they thing it should be without realizing it never wanted to be that.

This really was a multi-starrer!!!! Madhuri and Sanjay were full fledged roles, not just “apperances”, plus Aditya and Sonakshi got really juicy parts, as big as Alia’s and Varun’s. And on top of that there were Kunal Khemu and Kiara Advani with decent parts as well. It’s fun, seeing all these people emoting in big costumes and sharing screenspace and all that.

It’s still not the perfect cast. Karan has been talking about how he wrote this for Rani and Kajol and Shahrukh. And at least with Kajol and Shahrukh, I really miss them. Varun’s role needs that charming but with a depth of anger and danger to him that Varun just doesn’t have, but Shahrukh perfected in his early years of acting.

Varun is a closer fit than Alia though. Alia needs to be that sparkling instantly charming natural actress that Kajol was. Or Madhuri, or Sridevi, or Rekha, or a whole range of actresses. Alia can’t play this role, and I don’t think Rani could either, but Sara Ali Khan could. I saw this with my friend and she put her finger on it, the character has to come across as more emotional than intelligent in order for the film to work, for her decisions to be sympathetic. And Alia can’t play stupid. That kind of “thinking with the heart not the head” doesn’t work for her.

On the other hand, Sonakshi and Aditya are really really good! I think they benefited from their characters not being the initial focus of the concept. There was more space for them to create their own performances and their own interpretations. Their story is lovely, and turns in a way that was completely unexpected.

Image result for sonakshi aditya roy kapoor
They were so good in this, it made me want them to be dating in real life.

Sanjay and Madhuri were also a bit disappointing. Both of them seemed fine, nothing really wrong with them. And then they have their one scene together and it is like they suddenly woke up from sleepwalking. All the emotions, all the chemistry, all the electricity, it is like it is 1994 again and they are both at the top of their game.

The songs were far less disappointing within the film than in the trailers. The Ram-Leela song is just spectacular to watch, Madhuri’s dance comes off better, and Alia has an introduction song which is fine. The visuals in general were far better than I expected. A lot of green screen, yes, but also a lot of imagination. Madhuri’s area in particular is spectacular. And completely impractical, she not only has a ceiling to floor chandelier, and a fountain that is constantly running, and no furniture, she also has a dozen dancers that just show up to dance, all the time, in matching costumes.

If you are someone who looks for realism and logic in your films, or perfect special effects, this is not for you. But if you are someone who is nostalgic for the rough and tumble days of the 90s when it was more about the emotions and the drama than being “realistic”, this is a movie you should watch.

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8 thoughts on “Kalank Review (No Spoilers): The Plot is Not What You Think It Is

  1. I didn’t plan to watch this film, but when I saw the bull scene yesterday (btw is CGI really that bad?) I thought it can be pretty entertaining. Now I’m undecided, if I should watch it or read your spoiler review. What do you think? Is it my kind of film?

    Sonakshi and Aditya’s photo you posted here is so beautiful. I want a movie with her as a pretty daughter of some important guy from the village, who falls in love with this tenderhearted guy from the city. Something like Lootera but happy.

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    • Well, you have a high tolerance for bad movies, so maybe you should watch it? It’s over the top and silly and romantic, the CGI is truly terrible but then so were the special effects in 90s movies and we didn’t mind back then. I don’t think you will like Varun’s character, but you might really like Aditya’s. He’s kind of skinny for your taste, but he does a lot of being still and watching stuff. That photo you like captures very much the feel of the Aditya-Sonakshi love story in the film.

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  2. The general consensus seems to be that Alia was miscast.Her dancing skillls are certainly lacking that grace and polish.Come to think about it, it seems we don’t have any heroines who are trained classical dancers any more.Sonakshi has that kind of face suitable for period dramas as well as contemporary cinema.So she can make the switch easily.I think what you’re missing in Varun (and most of the current crop) is that aura of “presence” which old time heroes conveyed so easily.Varun will have to work a little bit extra hard at it.Like with Yash Chopra’s Veerzara and Jab tak hai jan, and now with Kalank you can’t help feeling that the whole plot seems a bit anachronistic.By staying too true to the vision of the senior Chopra or Johar the film suffered.

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    • For me at least, I don’t mind the anachronistic plot as much here as I did with JTHJ or Veer-Zaara. With those it felt like a waste of resources, like the same cast and soundtrack and pretty locations and the great directing could have been used in a much better plot. This film, the cast and soundtrack and all the rest of it was as okay-but-not-great as the plot.

      They set Alia up as a singer more than a dancer, so that kind of explained her weakness as a dancer. But it’s also the presence thing with her. She just doesn’t come off onscreen as a noble strong old-fashioned type of woman. I think she could, I think if she really dug deep into this character and put in the time and so on she could have pulled it off. But then I’d be a little frustrated that she worked so hard on a role for a movie that is just so-so in the end. I think maybe Kiara Advani could have done the role better? She was good in the part she had, and she can dance a little, and she has an old-fashioned look to her.

      Varun’s character really needed a rewrite, I think, once he was cast. It’s just not right for him, but it was close to being right. If it had been a little more “sad lonely little boy” and less “sex God with a dark streak”, that would work. Oh! Or Shahid! Shahid would have been great in his role. And I just realized I cast Arjun Reddy with dangerous obsessed Shahid and innocent Kiara 🙂

      On Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 7:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I feel sad that you don’t love Rani (I’ve always liked her more than Kajol, but I’ve come to appreciate the latter more after seeing her in MNIK). I think Rani has a wide range from KKHH to Talaash to Mardaani. I also really like Alia, but I can picture what you mean about her typically playing more intelligent characters and being unable to portray herself as emotionally driven. I’ve never really liked Varun and I haven’t seen enough of Aditya to judge him, but neither of them have the same onscreen aura as 90s Bollywood actors.

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    • Oh, I do love Rani! And Alia! I just thing somehow this particular role requires an actress with a more innocent emotional feel to her, less intelligent. I had the same problem with Rani in the beginning of Laage Chunari Main Daag, she had to play a village girl who was almost painfully naive and it was just not a good fit for her.

      and you have to watch Daawat E Ishq for Aditya! I had people telling me that for 5 years and I finally gave in, and they were right. It’s a great movie and Aditya is wonderful in it. Or maybe you’ve already seen it and still don’t like Aditya?

      On Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 8:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • No I have not seen it ! So lemme give Aditya is her fair shot (Also is Aashiqui 2 worth watching?- I love the soundtrack, but I’ve never been fond of Shraddha’s acting)

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        • Aashiqui 2, for me, was a super fun “so bad it’s good” kind of watch. But that is the only way I could enjoy it, laughing hysterically at the terrible acting and ridiculous plot.

          On Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 10:12 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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