wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

If you can watch a film just for performances, this one is it. Otherwise, it is two ordinary stories that go well enough with a madcap one. The quirky situations and lines bring a few smiles.

Read more
Director: Akshat Verma
Running time: 115 minutes
Genres: Noir
More Movie Info

Kaalakaandi (English, Hindi) - Preview

You watch the trailer and all you can say is “o-kkkay, then!” You are taken aback by the entire combination – the overt sex talk, the abuses, the concepts/ideas. The bad news is that though you appreciate the uninhibited language, it seems more for effect than germane to the characters.

The good news is that some of the concepts/ideas might prove me wrong – non-slapsticky attitude towards gender identification, an openness to a woman’s sexuality and so on. Yes, it all seems sex-related making it borderline what is known as “guy humour”, I guess. The quirkiness is appealing though, much the Delhi Belly way even if it all seems a little too loud.

As always, here’s hoping there’s more good news than bad news.

Kaalakaandi releases on 12 January, 2018.

Music Reviews:
Bollywood Hungama - "2/5"
Bombay Times - "film is touted to be quirky and once you listen to all five tracks, you know that the soundtrack definitely goes with it."
Milliblog - "Director Akshat Verma’s madcap vibe’s intact in at least 3 songs."
Music Aloud – "3.5/5"
the reel, scroll.in - "Spark and spunk, but only one potential earworm"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Is it three stories or is it none? There’s so much happening and yet so little. That is the kind of screenplay Kaalakaandi has. When taken individually, only one story is different enough to get you interested. Fortunately, it is also enough for you to watch all three stories without getting bored. The performances though are excellent through and through.

Films with multiple threads aren’t new and yet they tend to create an energetic vibe about them.

Down to the character artist with the smallest role, each actor seems just so comfortable in their skin. As if they were given a character sketch, the approximate lines and the liberty to do what they wanted within the context of the scene. It is sheer joy to watch each character in control.

Saif Ali Khan comes off with some classy comic timing. It has been ages since he has seemed so much at ease, almost like he is telling us, I don’t care if this flops, I know I am doing my best. Nary Singh show what who plays Sheela brings a smile, the kind of smile the depiction of transpersons or prostitutes never brings.

Kaalakaandi – approximately means messing up – has three stories, each one having characters who land themselves in messed up situations. In some sense, each of these stories is about how the characters manage their consciences after the mess-up.

And yet the film doesn’t take itself too seriously. From use and abuse of narcotics to a respectful attitude towards transgender prostitution to the regular double-crossing goons to repeated jaba at policemen and the law and admin system to cancer – Kaalakaandi maintains a light yet insightful vein.

A lot of the dialogue is in English and a lot of the Hindi is cuss words. The abusive language does come across as “for effect” at times. But, like real life, you just automatically ignore and focus on the other content of the film. And thankfully there is enough to enjoy too.

The VFX while cheesy is quite amusing. It’s not the creative best but each time it is unexpected, even though you know there is a pattern for the visuals. Similarly, the music while not outstanding goes well with the sequences in the film.

Down to the character artist with the smallest role, each actor seems just so comfortable in their skin.

Films with multiple threads aren’t new and yet they tend to create an energetic vibe about them. It is clear that one or two of the threads are weak and the stronger threads are bearing the burden. Yet, when done well, it can be pulled off and that’s how it goes for Kaalakaandi. You see the weaknesses, but for the two hours you see through them.

- meeta, a part of the audience

24 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 13 so-so 9 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Kaalakaandi assumes many identities and eventually abandons all of them for that one core truth that controls our destiny. Death. This film dares to laugh in face of mortality. That’s what makes it so brave and unique. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Daphne Rose, fullhyd.com : ...All in all, Kaalakaandi is a great ride. At an hour and fifty minutes long, the film tells its story effectively and without any side-tracking. Sure, there are some expectations in the second half that are not met - like the sudden excitement when you see Khan in a Birdman-like costume, only to see it lead nowhere - but that would be akin to nitpicking just for the heck of it. ... full review

So-So, by 18, Bollywood Life : ...Watch it if you possess a keen eye to find art in the places where others can’t. If you are a regular movie-goer who just wants to be entertained, sit this one out. ... full review

So-So, by ARNAB BANERJEE, Deccan Chronicle : ...The supporting cast has some interesting faces, Dobriyal and Raaz, Dhulipala and Amyra Dastur who are not props but suffer from unskilled writing. Verma could have gone the whole hog like he did in his first film. After starting with a bang, he seems unsure of how to be a finisher! ... full review

So-So, by Smita Vyas Kumar , Desi Martini : ...I guess you can watch this movie for the micro stories and their subtle moments that I enjoyed. But don’t expect to come out feeling like you were on an acid trip. It is less overwhelming than that and not as much fun as Saif has with his drug trip. But its short and evenly paced out and can give you a few roller coaster moments. Can’t take kids. ... full review

So-So, by Sweta Kaushal, Hindustan Times : ...Akshat’s sensitive representation of Saif’s encounter with a transsexual is one highlight of the film. Chalk one for the queer movement. ... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...It remains a lot like Delhi Belly instead, the (Akshat Verma) writer of which makes his directorial debut here. He's on the ball for sure. Is it as good as Delhi Belly? As a script? Possibly. As a film, I felt it lacks rhythm, with too much being force-fed to suit the timeline of one never-ending night in Bombay, even if that's the genre. The end might make you go, "Eh?" But through it all, you're more likely to go, "Hah!" So nah, I'm not complaining at all. ... full review

So-So, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...On the flip side, the climax of the film comes across as quite abrupt and far-fetched, which may not go down well with many viewers. However, all said and done, if whacky films are your drug of choice, Kaalakaandi will guarantee a ‘good trip’.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...Saif Ali Khan in a yellow fur shrug, miniature ponytails and bleeding mascara made some curious about Kaalakaandi. But we all know what that did to the cat. While 47-year-old Khan is committed to his character, has the best lines, he fails to keep this sinking ship afloat. Even Akshay Oberoi who channels more intensity than required for such a film, would've been better suited if his character was written with some more heft. ... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Saif Ali Khan brings to the table just the mix of befuddlement and cockiness that is needed to make the character work. The performances around him (notably from Dhulipala and Dobriyal) are in the right zone. ... full review

So-So, by Kriti Tulsiani, News18.com : ...The film is short and crisp but not crisp enough to justify the large number of characters and potential stories that makers have tried to deal with.... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...Kaalakaandi doesn't always provide it, but there's enough intrigue to play along. ... full review

So-So, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Even as you continue to watch the film patiently, beyond a point, it's nothing to write home about. You eventually sum up your thoughts on the film by borrowing the film's expletive-laden dialogue —, 'experimental ke naam pe chu*****'? ... full review

So-So, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...‘Kaalakaandi’ tries a fresh approach – it’s for a niche audience with some edgy scenes and bawdy dialogues – but I am not sure if this is everyone’s cup of tea. Watch it if you must. Saif – in top form here – will keep you entertained, even if the film fails to. ... full review

So-So, Zee News : ...Overall with good production quality, debutant director Akshat Verma's attempt at this noir comedy is engaging but it goes without saying that the script material tries to sell itself a little too hard. ... full review

Thumbs down, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, KAALAKAANDI has a promising first half but goes completely downhill. At the box office, it has slim chances of becoming commercially successful. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Aashish, Desi Martini : ...For an adult black-comedy, Kaalakaandi has too few laughs as well as few cuss words which doesn’t help it. Even though the film takes place in a span of few hours, it seems dragged. It seems Saif Ali Khan will have to have to wait for some time before his next hit as Kaalakaandi is completely disjointed and boring. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Bharadwaj, Desi Martini : ...The only relief is that Saif Ali is not a part of a love triangle in this one. Stay away from this pathetic apology of a movie and if you are really a Saif fan go watch Main Khiladi Tu Anari that one had more spunk and better written sub plots. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Besides, the timeline is inexplicable. The events in Kaalakaandi happen over one night, yet everything seems to take much longer than it possibly could in reality. The young couple, for instance, pack so much into the two hours before her flight that you have to wonder what clock they are operating on. This loose writing deprives the film of the compactness it should have had considering that its 111 minutes and 54 seconds is far less than the average Bollywood length. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...Kaalakaandi is just about Saif Ali Khan’s and his amazing performance as a recently turned stoner. Akshat impresses with his wild imagination but unfortunately when a film is bad not the biggest of the superstars can save it. ... full review

Thumbs down, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Live Mint : ...There are many first film issues with Kaalakaandi: it is technically inconsistent and the narrative doesn’t quite pull together. You are waiting for the loose plots to come together as the film nears its end, but that does not happen quite to satisfaction. You are left with some doubts, a lack of closure, like there’s maybe something that slipped between the writing and the final edit. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Manisha Lakhe, Now Running.com : ...The stories are so painfully predictable in their 'coolness' you expect the photographer girl to say 'I'm a lesbian', just to check that box... ... full review

Thumbs down, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...The only other character who matches Khan in his energy is Nyari Singh. Together, they convey some sense of what Mumbai can be like after dark – unpredictable, dangerous, exciting and strangely fulfilling. Anything can happen, but unfortunately little does in Kaalakaandi. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ... Dobriyal, Raaz, Oberoi and Khan himself who inject some life in the dull script. Khan is especially delightful, alternating between the slapstick and the sombre with an off the cuff ease. The “Cape of Good Hope” and “Australia” bits he gets to speak are the noteworthy chuckle-inducing bits in a largely bland, facile and slight fare.... full review

99 tweeters(?) - 68 yays 9 so-so 22 nays

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Plebeian42: Quite enjoyed Kaalakaandi. Review: https://t.co/xNOKLkxyWw

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nehabhasin4u: So go watch @KaalakaandiFilm and give films like these a chance so v cn have diversity in Indian cinema.… https://t.co/wPwQGbUJHM

mukesh8822: New Gen actors are amazing.Their eyes, smile, expressions, silence and body language also acts.Loved your character @Ishatalwar #Kalakaandi

millettrenata: #Kalakaandi is truly a work of 'kala'. Brilliant performances, gripping storyline, mind blowing direction. Got to l… https://t.co/Wn4zMq7vsp

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mediabharti: Kaalakaandi Movie Review: Saif's Outrageous, Dangerous & Ridiculous Behaviour Makes It A Must Watch! https://t.co/vx0EpcKtqe

mdarifkhan87: Watch @KaalakaandiFilm for Saif Ali Khan. He is into his elements, his presence on the screen makes it watchable.… https://t.co/pyR8tfaOPC

LuckyDrops99: An incredible movie must watch! Saif Ali Khan takes us on a trippy ride with this one. #Kaalakaandi. https://t.co/udPIe0ZmeC

krishnabk76: #Kaalakaandi very nice movie with great story line. Outstanding performance by @saifalikhan @vijay raaz And… https://t.co/aJ4XIuqmG0

kinkylilboots: #KaalakaandiReview: A good comedy film in the theatres after a long time. https://t.co/MNh81tPL4D @KaalakaandiFilm… https://t.co/q3ZqMxz5IH

kinjalupadhyay2: On my view, the real stars of #Kaalakaandi.. 1)@deepakdobriyal 2)#VijayRaaz & 3) humour.. Amazing, superb, flawless… https://t.co/Lc9qbESWPm

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ijaymodi: #Kaalakaandi superb film #Kaalakaandi Review Rating: 3 stars Read now! https://t.co/fSDLUoDYO3 Superb.....

iAmanreal: #Kaalakaandi Review Rating ***1%2 Super Entertaining Film

herstoryYS: Nearly five years after #BombayTalkies, Ashi’s second film hits the screens today. Here is the inspiring journey of… https://t.co/4X2APzfnRb

h1shaikh: Watch this Outstanding Movie #Kaalakaandi. https://t.co/paNHn2jZLG

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gharwaali: #Kaalakaandi Pleasing wonderful movie @KaalakaandiFilm. must watch, this movie is one of the most anticipated one https://t.co/oTn5qV4h0Y

GhantaCeleb: I so like this movie suprrb one #Kaalakaandi https://t.co/89vGA6D9r7 @KaalakaandiFilm Saif Ali Khan amazing

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Fun20sh: Kaalakaandi movie review: It's trippy, enjoyable and a feast for the senses - Kaalakaandi movie review: It's trippy… https://t.co/NFyie0HC58

Friend_Ali_: #Kaalakaandi is funniest and entertaining movie. #awesome

Eddict316: #Kaalakaandi was trippy AF!! If Dark Comedy Dramas are your thing, you will love it! It's like a amalgamation of Di… https://t.co/lr1fIpkQwP

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crazymeenu_: A movie you can't skip to witness  #Kaalakaandi. https://t.co/e6lwfImKI7

coool_kashish: Indeed a must watch film! Full of laughter #Kaalakaandi.  https://t.co/uXPkIqxAlT

cmd999: Definitely a movie you can't skip to witness  #Kaalakaandi. https://t.co/3gBo0f51LN

ChinmayNakhwa: #MyHonestReview of #Kaalakaandi i enjoyed it but it could have been much better..it had the scope to be a path brea… https://t.co/TbJ2JZewcV

chetnak92: Kaalakaandi Movie Review: Vijay Raaz, Deepak Dobriyal outshine a bright Saif Ali Khan in this dark comedy film… https://t.co/hWbTVE7NlG

chavipatankarr: #kaalakaandi Grt perfrmance by saif a must watch film @KaalakaandiFilm https://t.co/nt1lRmweub

bluephantom7: #Kaalakaandi has to be one of the best movies of recent times. Some scenes r just too funny

biswajit_k1991: Amazing performance of Saif al Khan will definitely impress you. Watch #Kaalakaandi @KaalakaandiFilm https://t.co/Ca0GmSefPc

biswadeeprath: #Kaalakaandi Dark, yet funny. Weird, yet relatable. Awesome performances by Saif Ali Khan & Deepak Dobriyal. More p… https://t.co/AnUxC9srzr

BijouThaangjam: Man every character in the film are just awesome. #Kaalakaandi @Akshay0beroi Bhai too good.. @deepakdobriyal at... https://t.co/PonOkWlEaz

bhushanagarwal1: What a fantastic movie #Kaalakaandi @deepakdobriyal @KunaalRoyKapur @sobhitaD are the back bine of the film. They a… https://t.co/ZZmPVAjwUc

aviralbansal: #Kaalakaandi Watch the movie for its style 3 stories in parallel #Tarantino style Very nice pace Practical pr… https://t.co/Hd0CtQ8ZzB

ankit_choudhryy: Excellent performance by Saif ali Khan will truely make ur day awesome.. Everyone should must Watch #Kaalakaandi… https://t.co/OdRFX0xZuC

adahiya10: #Kalakaandi a must fucking watch. Haven't seen a movie this good in ages. Ten on ten.

3NovicesChennai: #3Novices : Kaalakaandi movie review: It's trippy, enjoyable and a feast for the senses https://t.co/5tn5TmmEpB Thi… https://t.co/3cJ9yAqE41

rajesh600yadav: #Kaalakaandi ~ Average Trip. Stoner 1st half & Downer 2nd half. (2.5☆/5)

PrincePrithvi: #Kaalakaandi ~ Average Trip. Stoner 1st half & Downer 2nd half. (2.5☆/5)

Pinksterr: #Kaalakaandi - #SaifAliKhan liked what you played! Overall an average movie!! #MovieReview #Bollywood

ovaisnazeer: enjoyed #kaalakaandi ; a okayish movie, a onetimer for sure ! https://t.co/RK4Gc0fZrL

nileshbhojani: Brilliant in parts but kinda leads nowhere, especially in second half. Saif, Nyaari Singh and Deepak Dobriyal were… https://t.co/UofPG2INij

namashi_1: #Kaalakaandi. Saif Shines in a hysterical, uneven comedy.

girishjohar: #Kaalakaandi starts excellently but is bitten by the curse of 2nd half. It drops drastically. Kuddos to… https://t.co/T4U34LK1y8

AnnoyMehta: #Kaalakaandi is saif ali khan's redemption. he's amazing, completely re-invented. rest, just a mediocre film that c… https://t.co/LPLQkY6ygp

ajay_kalashikar: #Kaalakaandi is a comedy express off with a bang and suddenly you find a flat iron wheel after interval....yeah tha… https://t.co/Ym2GI9DElC

vineeth_sri: Kaalakaandi was so disappointing, such a promising premise and nothing happens in the movie. Literally nothing.

TheVivekSharma: Saw #Kaalakaandi. Its bizarre & outrageous. Saif is the only saving grace in weak script. It would’ve been better i… https://t.co/G5qTUHrYqa

samar_27: #Kaalakaandi COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE THAN WHAT IT HAS ENDED UP BEING. DISAPPOINTING @AmyraDastur93 @Ishatalwar3 @sobhitaD #SaifAliKhan

rohitjswl01: #Kaalakaandi is Undoubtedly Hilarious but When You Watch it for FREE..... Spending 200+ or may b 300 for it at any… https://t.co/ugONRIudxO

RichiMunshi: Kaalakaandi movie review: Saif Ali Khan outshines a sloppy script https://t.co/6JXLj4iv8I

rajivvijayakar: They should remove the "i" from Kaalakaandi as well. Because the film looks INCOMPLETE, as if someone said, 'Bas ho gaya, yahin chhod do!'

nk_2626: #OneWordReview Movie : #Kaalakaandi Rating : 1/5 Unimpressive & totally vahiyat movie #SaifAliKhan Suprb acting… https://t.co/IwEkKoNmOM

nimishhalkar: Kaalakaandi - 0/5

neetakolhatkar: #Kaalakaandi is NOWHERE near #IsRaatKiSubahNahiHogi ok..with Saif's spurts of humour

moviebuffmaster: Waste of time, money & efforts by film industry .... need some thorough thinking by the producers when it is becomi… https://t.co/J9QdIAtYOk

mediabharti: REVIEW - साल की पहली शानदार फिल्म है कालाकांदी..खतरनाक और फूहड़ https://t.co/4UtzFagYJ4

khaskhabar: फिल्म रिव्यू: सैफ की फिल्म कालाकांडी की कहानी में नहीं है कोई दम https://t.co/uOfYLL6Bhp #SaifAliKhan #Kaalakaandi

Joshideepak3: Not impressed with Kalakaandi....

jha_siddhus94: Saif Ali Khan delivers yet another Disaster in #Kaalakaandi . I wonder why he is still getting scripts.

ivedant: #Kaalakaandi was a perfectly disastrous film which made 0 sense and posed the all important question before me - WH… https://t.co/C8OIyCrSRw

indian24news: Kaalakaandi Movie Review: Saif Ali Khan, Vijay Raaz, Deepak Dobriyal starrer MUST WATCH | FilmiBeat… https://t.co/QyokLtb2hQ

Humourshow: 'Kaalakaandi' review: An engaging dark comedy - Economic Times https://t.co/T5z8clEeeV

GepmeeManesana: Kaalakaandi Movie Review: Saif Ali Khan Makes His Character Work In Fizzy, Freewheeling Film

divyars92: #Kaalakaandi was an average watch that started off with a high and ended with a wtf did I watch moment. #ImStillConfused

case_72: #Kaalakaandi review DO NOT SEE THE MOVIE . Wastage of Time !

biswatosh: Well #Kaalakaandi is just horrible, some characters should have been avoided and the ending is pathetic doesn't mak… https://t.co/29tujRudNj

asherkeval: Saif Ali Khan's #Kaalakaandi best of the worst, #TigerZindaHai is #SalmanKhan’s biggest blockbuster!… https://t.co/JAOrsqSfFB

2 readers - 1 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Ashish : Treat to watch, excellent direction,great acting, showcases the underlying goodness in each one us

So-So, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Gun shots
  • Language: Lots of abuses
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A making out scene, liplocks in plenty, talk about sex and sexuality
  • Concept: Three stories occur in the same city at the same time.
  • General Look and Feel: Quirky

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Kaalakaandi - Cast, crew, links

Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Running time:
115 minutes

Comments (2)

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its an enjoyable watch. one has to have a certain IQ level to understand the film. the three stories are beautifully woven and the switch over is artistically done . loved it .shud get atleast 4stars


If you are looking for an interesting adults comedy then Kaalakaandi is a good option. The movie is quite faithful to the trailers and its A certificate. When you settle down to watch the film you know what kind of stuff to expect, thereby putting you at ease on things that unfold on the screen.

The film is a light entertainer. Saif fits the role perfectly and he has done a good job.

It is a good watch, but it is not a must watch. There are good chances that if you happen to watch it then you will enjoy it. On the other hand, you don't have to regret if you have not been able to watch it, it is not a masterpiece. At the end of the film if you ask the question whether it entertained you, then the answer will be yes. And if you ask the question whether it gave you the thrill of your life, the answer will no.

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