Kaanchi - Review

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)
quick review:

Subhash Ghai's latest, Kaanchi, is a film that will test your patience. With gratingly bad performances and a poorly written script that doesn't quite know what to do with its noble intentions, the film's greatest redeeming quality is that it ends.



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Wogma Review

Subhash Ghai must first fire his casting director. Then he must think long and hard about whether he has anything truly worthwhile to say through his cinema. And then he must think about whether he has what it takes to say it.

Kaanchi, his self-proclaimed magnum opus, is an abomination of a film, despite having its heart in the right place. Sure, it's a good sign when a big commercial director makes a big commercial film with the whole thrust on the leading lady, a debutante at that. It is great to see that the point of the leading lady of the film isn't to ultimately end up with some man. And of course, it is always good to see an actor like Chandan Roy Sanyal let himself loose and have a good time.

But neither does Ghai's latest discovery, a young girl named Mishti, have the acting chops to pull off the role she plays, nor does anyone apart from Chandan Roy Sanyal do anything that comes across as much better than the sound of screeching nails on a blackboard - and that includes fine actors like Rishi Kapoor and Mithun Chakraborty - who're made to look like clowns and caricatures.

The film attempts to show the power of a woman with will; it attempts to show how our country has always been held back by the corrupt men in power; it is pretty much a David versus Goliath tale, where David is a woman. As I said, the film is certainly well-intentioned.

Set in a small hamlet in the hills in the first half and in the big bad urban world in the second, the film follows innocent young Kaanchi as she suffers and then fights against those who were responsible for her misery. But shoddy writing - always a problem with Ghai's films - quite simply makes the film an ordeal to sit through; its monstrous runtime adding to the viewer's woes.

Subhash Ghai comes across as an old-timer trying his best to tell a contemporary tale. His language is clearly of the days gone by, even if his story attempts to be contemporary. You see this instantly, when you have the leader of a young political party that wishes to take on the system, stand on stage and sing a part-rock, part-masala song with lyrics that sound like 'Jai Ho' (or Jaya He, perhaps).

And with Kaanchi reacting in unlikely ways to unlikely scenarios, you can't help ask yourself just what Ghai was thinking. You never quite feel for her, because everything comes across as too made up, too easy. Kaanchi's struggle should make you weep for her. Instead, you wonder how a little village belle manages to outsmart so many rich and powerful people with ease; essentially it is a screenplay with far too many leaps of faith for you to take it seriously.

As the film drags on and on until you've had enough, you almost feel thankful to see the end credits. You also wonder why this thought hasn't yet crossed Subhash Ghai's mind: "Even Sachin Tendulkar has retired. What am I still doing?"

This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Fight scenes, blood-shed and general violence.
  • Language: Fairly clean, with some suggested abuses.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A few kisses; an item number with skimpily clad women.
  • Concept: A young girl takes on the system.
  • General Look and Feel: Bright look, shot well at times.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1.5
  • Story: 1.5
  • Lead Actors: 1
  • Character Artists: 1
  • Dialogues: 1.5
  • Screenplay: 1.5
  • Music Director: 1.5
  • Lyrics: 1

Kaanchi - Movie Details

Kaanchi - Trailer

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