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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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Director: Subhash Ghai
Running time: 150 minutes
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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 article is by guest author 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.

31 reviewers(?) - 1 yays 7 so-so 23 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Subhash K. Jha, Apun Ka Choice : ...It's time to take on corruption head-long. "Kaanchi" does just that. With feeling and drama... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ... On the whole, KAANCHI could've been a riveting fare, but doesn't rise beyond the ordinary in the final tally. ... full review

So-So, by Arjun Singh, Desi Martini : ...Looking at the trailer I knew..The hero has less screen presence than the heroine. But the actress needs to improve her voice which is extremely irritating.Those who have watched Kartik in Pyar Ka Punchnama will agree that what a talent was wasted in this movie.... full review

So-So, by Parmita Uniyal, Hindustan Times : ...Overall Kaanchi has a soul that is lacking in a lot of films today. It has a message also, which one can take back home. What it lacks is the grip, the magic and the experience of a Bollywood film.... full review

So-So, koimoi : ...The film is a love revenge saga that may entice you only into phases. While the music is complete downer, there is less to look forward to in this film. If you are a person high on optimism, this film may impress you with its positivity and underlined message. Kaanchi could have been Ghai’s Rang De Basanti had the script been strong enough... full review

So-So, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...Kartik Tiwari exudes strong screen presence and shows flashes of qualities needed to be a mainstream Bollywood lover boy. Kaanchi is strictly for old time’s sake. ... full review

So-So, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The film ends with (believe it or not) synchronized dancing. Yes, it’s that kind of a movie. But the film is not a total let-down. It has an interesting protagonist, an arresting story (sadly told in a simplistic fashion), and some effective moments. The gripe is this could have been a far, far better film. Too bad, really. ... full review

So-So, by Meena Iyer, Times of India : ...Mishti looks a cross between Rani Mukherjee and Mandakini. Hoardings proclaim she is Kaanchi the unbreakable, but her voice is so shrill, it can cut glass... full review

Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ... It’s always sad to watch the decline of a once successful artiste. Sadder still to write this review. There is just one word to describe Kaanchi: boring.... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Therefore just skip meeting this KAANCHI in the theaters and pray that the master filmmaker soon gets back in form, finding a new talented creative team in the coming years. Speaking from the heart, we have already lost a RGV and don’t wish to lose a Ghai too…..in the waves of the changing times.... full review

Thumbs down, by Prathna Tiwari, Bolly Spice : ...The star rating below is purely an acknowledgement of the efforts of the supporting cast who helplessly tried to save the film. Great effort guys but you’ll be disappointed to know that this needed far more than just a convincing supporting cast. Ghai’s Kaanchi is the film you must go out of your way to avoid. If you’re brave enough to venture into a cinema hall to watch this one then kindly accept our condolences.... full review

Thumbs down, by Srishti Dixit , Bollywood Hungama : ...If you are a fan of the Subhash Ghai kind of films, don’t go for this one; Ghai invalidates himself in this one. Although you can catch this one for some good performances by the supporting cast. Lastly if you just like to leer at pretty leading ladies go ahead and watch this but be prepared to LOL and ask the question “Why Ghai, why?” in disbelief more than once while the film is running.... full review

Thumbs down, Daily Bhaskar : ...We suggest to you to rather buy Subhash Ghai’s old classic and watch them again on TV. You can give Kaanchi a miss... full review

Thumbs down, by Mmmarwah, Desi Martini : ...For the diehard fans of Subhash Ghai, who want to see what went wrong in this film. Others can skip it ... full review

Thumbs down, by Aneela Zeb Babar, Desi Martini : ...Road Kill. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Ameet Bhuvan, Desi Martini : ...Ghai needs to go home, take some retirement rest ... full review

Thumbs down, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...Standing out like a sore thumb in todays crowd of smartly written scripts and performance driven films, Kaanchi struggles to make her own identity. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Rachit Gupta, Filmfare : ...At two hours and twenty minutes, Kaanchi feels like a gruelling cinematic ride. You’re teased with A-list shot taking and composition and but served an amateur narrative and story. It just doesn’t have the magic of a Subhash Ghai film. Legends don’t make average fare.... full review

Thumbs down, by Suprateek Chatterjee, FirstPost : ...It may be time for Ghai to hang up his boots before he destroys what remains of his legacy any further, and let his students take over. Surely they can’t do a worse job than this?... full review

Thumbs down, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Turning an ordinary dehati into a superhero of sorts who gains a countrywide fan following and makes Ministers quiver in their seats, is not much of a great idea in the scheme of things today. A reforms agenda and anti-corruption zeal may hit the nail on the head for contemporariness but otherwise everything is a little too passé to keep you glued to your seats.... full review

Thumbs down, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Rishab Sinha is first rate and the only one to leave his imprint with his fantastic performance. For the rest, it was like a reunion party. contrary to Ghai's tag line which reads 'The Unbreakable', KAANCHI is brittle! ... full review

Thumbs down, by Suhani Singh, india today : ...Mishti is a pretty face who never pulls off the physical strength needed to essay the part of a one-woman army on a mission. Her high-pitched delivery doesn't help in making her endearing or captivating. Ghai thrives on nostalgia, trying to relive and recreate the good old days he was the most sought after director.... full review

Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...this is Ghai mining his usual patriotic “this is my India” self, leavened by the recent political developments in the country. The second half moves from the hills to Mumbai, into a youth organisation which takes out morchas: in a corner I saw a board stating, “India Against Corruption”. And a line which says, “in the past 10 years, all politicians have made money”, or words to that effect... full review

Thumbs down, by Shakti Shetty, MiD DAY : ...Performance-wise, the casting is spot on. New girl, Mishti, appears uptight and loud but ends up showing promise in her debut film. As her lover, Kartik Aryan (of Pyaar Ka Punchnama fame) is his usual affable self. Chandan Roy Sanyal is certainly the surprise package of the film; his role as a wayward cop deserves a mention. Rishi Kapoor is convincingly sleazy while Mithun Chakraborty is terrific as a corrupt politician. - See more at: http://www.mid-day.com/articles/movie-review-kaanchi/15253091#sthash.FuG2DWrY.dpuf... full review

Thumbs down, by Joginder Tuteja, Movie Talkies : ...Eventually, there are attempts being made to project Kaanchi as a film that comes as a message. How one wishes though that Subhash Ghai makes an out and out commercial entertainer with larger than life appeal with the likes of Dr. Dang, Chuniya, Mandhari and Roshan Mahanta. Now that would be one movie watching experience for sure! - See more at: http://www.movietalkies.com/movies/reviews/20845/kaanchi#sthash.apWVmTQs.dpuf... full review

Thumbs down, by Divya Solgama, MoviezADDA : ...Well the movie has an interesting plot line attached to it, but ends up being an another disappointment from Mr. Ghai due to his outdated style of direction and overdose of everything attached to the film. We should love and cherish this director for his wonderful films from the 70's, 80's and 90's era and should request him to seek a much required retirement. Nevertheless, if 'Kaanchi' is compared to Subhash Ghai's last few films, it turns out to be among his better work post 'Taal'.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rahul Desai, Mumbai Mirror : ...Kaanchi is an ancient tragedy of behemoth proportions. Let's just hope that Mr Ghai regroups and doesn't end up like the other veteran director that hires his own students to make and break his movies. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...the once upon a time Showman of the film industry Subhash Ghai falters completely in putting together a great show in Kaanchi. Watch it only if you have absolutely nothing else to do.... full review

Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma., Rediff : ...I walk out hastily from the screening, having witnessed a particularly ridiculous final combat, hoping to erase Kaanchi’s absurd imagery and phoney politics with the thumping nostalgia of dhina dhin dha. Now that loyalty, that's unbreakable, Mr Ghai.... full review

Thumbs down, by Somdatta Sen, Star Blockbuster : ... If you have been a fan of Ghai’s films, feel free to miss it and rather watch Taal again. ... full review

Thumbs down, by Aparna Mudi, Zee News : ...All in all, `Kaanchi` does not work on any front. Watch the movie at your own risk. But spare a thought for Ghai - it breaks your heart to see a showman fail to produce a good show.... full review

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

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):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Kaanchi - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Art Direction:
Running time:
150 minutes

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