wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?)

quick review:

If you take the awesome performances for granted, the film feels a tad dull.

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Director: Akarsh Khurana
Running time: 120 minutes
More Movie Info

Karwaan - Preview

There couldn’t be a film with a thicker dark humour streak than one which has the protagonists on a road trip with a dead body that has to be exchanged with another one. And to have the king of dry humour and deadpan comic timing, Irrfan Khan play one of the leads is all one needs to lure you to the theater.

The trailer also has that indie-film feel that keeps things simple and basic in the most out-of-the-ordinary situations. Yes, yes much like the worlds created by Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee. Yep, I am looking forward to this one, that much!

Karwaan releases on 3 August, 2018.

Music Reviews:
Bollyspice - "3/5"
Bollywood Hungama - "2/5"
Milliblog - "confidently pulls all of them together and produces an enjoyable soundtrack." in a 200-worder
Music Aloud – "3.5/5"
Planet Bollywood – "5/10"
scroll.in - "an even sensibility and doesn’t conform to commercial sounds"
Times Now – "3.5/5"

- meeta, a part of the audience

Karwaan philosophises much, and is about acceptance. Not only about accepting oneself but also about accepting the people around – as they are, with their quirks, liberalism, conservatism, all. Unless, it is about tolerating basic human rights. This is not said out loud. For this subtlety, Karwaan can be watched, if you have the patience.

A gradual loss of life in situations and dialogue eventually makes the film dull.

The film is not able to tackle that one thing that can go wrong with a story that is about “nothing really” - becoming dull. Technically, you could say that Karwaan is about a mixed up delivery of a dad’s body, whose son is now out on a roadtrip with his quirky friend to get the correct body. But, the movie is hardly ever about the mixed up bodies. They are hardly a matter of concern through the film, not even as a cause of inconvenience to the protagonists.

If at all it is about anything, Karwaan is about its characters. Three lead characters, from different age groups, with different attitudes towards life and society, unknowingly learning from each other or even to just coexist.

Such films then have to rely heavily on the performances. And if for nothing else, Karwan can be watched for its performances. This kind of dry, dark humour is made for actors like Irrfan Khan. Mithila Par is disarmingly fresh as her character is required to be. Likewise, Dulquer Salmaan brings just the right amount of boredom to a character who is bored with his life but doesn’t bore you.

But, you knew most of this, if not all, when you saw the trailer. What you might expect after the trailer though is more of the quirky humor, which is not non-existent, but not as amusing as you would expect it to be.

A gradual loss of life in situations and dialogue eventually makes the film dull. And given that the over-arching story isn’t what the film is about, it relies heavily on the events and the lines. So, if you can watch a film for its semi-interesting characters that are played out well, go for it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

28 reviewers(?) - 9 yays 19 so-so 0 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 : ...Karwaan has much that is wrong with it. But it also has plenty that pleases, a warmth and an empathy for the misfits that makes it a very endearing road trip, albeit with irrelevant deviations. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ankita Chaurasia , Bollywood Life : ...The film has a very strong first half, where you won’t be able to stop laughing, but the second half takes a long pause, ponders, reflects and becomes almost pensive. Karwaan is certainly worth a watch for it’s funny first half. And if it’s not the story that you are in for, catch it for the brilliance that is Irrfan Khan. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...Watch the film for the fine acting by the entire ensemble cast. This comedy will surely tickle your funny bone and would make you reflect on life as well... ... full review

Thumbs up, by Madhuri, Filmi Beat : ...Karwaan is a refreshing sip for the parched soul with its relatable characters and their journey of self-discovery. This trip is not to be missed! To quote Michelle Sandlin - 'There's no greater journey than the one you must take to discover all the mysteries that lies within you.... full review

Thumbs up, Gulf News : ...Karwaan has much that is wrong with it. But it also has plenty that pleases — a warmth and an empathy for the misfits that makes it a very endearing road trip, albeit with irrelevant deviations. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rohan Naahar, Hindustan Times : ...The film has a Malayali playing a Kannadiga, a Marathi playing a Malayali, and then there is Irrfan doing whatever the hell he’s doing. And yet, they all speak in Hindi. I haven’t yet decided if this is a testament to India’s multiculturalism or a vague head bob in the face of it. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Karwaan isn’t perfect, but I enjoyed the film’s laidback, unhurried vibe, and it’s terrific music. Some of it – like a pit-stop at a called-off wedding, and run-ins between the protagonists and a bunch of goondas – feels silly and gratuitous. But for the most part, these are characters you’ll be happy to stay with. I recommend that you give it a chance. I’m going with three out of five. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Karwaan might not be the roller coaster ride you expected it to be, but it leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling in the heart that says all’s well that ends well. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Rummana, yahoo! India : ...Director Akarsh Khurana manages to get some interesting characters other than the main leads who keep you invested in this tale. The music has the right breezy feel to it which adds just the right amount of zing to this slice of life tale. ... full review

So-So, by Anna MM Vertticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...At one point, a character in this film explains that he is not sure whether Person X was a good guy but it is clear that he was not bad, which in itself is quite something in this day and age. There can be no more appropriate a description of Karwaan: it is not earth shattering, but it is not bad at all. Which is another way of saying it is an intelligent, funny, thoughtful film and a pleasant experience. ... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Anyway, KARWAAN still can be seen for its performers, especially Irrfan Khan bringing the house down at regular intervals. But in an attempt to entertain its viewers, the film forgets the balance to be maintained between both happiness and sorrow missing a truly great opportunity. ... full review

So-So, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, KARWAAN is a good opportunity gone waste. Irrfan Khan is the biggest draw of this film but the audiences might be dejected to not see him in his full glory. At the box office, the film is going to struggle to stay afloat. ... full review

So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...Dulquer Salmaan gives an effectively unobtrusive performance as opposed to Irrfan’s show-offy wisecracking. However, the good and bad thing about having Irrfan in the film is that he gets all the laughs, but when he is not on screen, the movie seems to deflate. ... full review

So-So, by SUPARNA SHARMA, Deccan Chronicle : ...This time around the plot, premise of director Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan is very dark, very funny.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...If the story had more depth, these three could have worked magic. But Karwaan stays on the surface. Which, it must be said, is beautiful – this film will make you want to book a trip to Kerala. But it could have been much more. ... full review

So-So, by Rahul Desai, Film Companion : ...The film, to its credit, recognizes here that a road trip is little more than a memorable car ride. Perhaps even the director recognizes that the adventure, in fact, lies within – as opposed to the actual physicality of a journey. This is when Karwaan stops clowning around, stops escaping, stops evading and, much like Shaukat, stops trying to fill the silence with reminders of its free spirit. Most importantly, it just stops trying. ... full review

So-So, by UDITA JHUNJHUNWALA, Filmfare : ...Tanya is the least developed character; Palkar is passable in the role, considering she has little to sink her teeth into. There’s also a brief appearance by Amala Akkinen as Tanya’s mother, Tahira. The star of a number of Malayalam and Tamil films, Salmaan is making his Hindi film debut. His Avinash is disarming; it helps that he philosophises about photography, art and imagery with the flair of a passionate artist. Irrfan precisely spits out the acerbic dialogue written by Hussain Dalal. He’s a delight, whether in the foreground or background – wooing a veiled woman in a hospital ward or cajoling an ageing musician. Thanks to these two talents, Karwaan manages to navigate the pot-holed script. ... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...Avinash who doesn’t seem to have any issues regarding money could well have hired a hearse to transport the body, but he seeks out his friend’s van without even ensuring the preservation of the body he has agreed to transport. Avinash’s backstory of having a despotic Dad (Akash Khurana) who corrals him into working in a secure job as a computer engineer, rather than following his own passion as a photographer, seems outdated in representative terms. ... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...The film started to grow on me only about two thirds of the way in, and there’s a moment when the trio is standing about, shooting the breeze, when it starts feeling lived in, when it all comes together. But that’s not enough. Not nearly. ... full review

So-So, by Anita Iyer, Khaleej Times : ...All the three characters seem under-cooked and unidimensional. Nothing they do will surprise you on the big screen. Bejoy Nambiar's story tries to find humour in grave situations and hit the spot only half of the times. ... full review

So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, Karwaan will be remembered only for Irrfan Khan & his unbelievable dialogue delivery. Go with low expectations & be prepared to get entertained in parts. ... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, MiD DAY : ...For every sequence Irrfan is not on screen, you notice, the film suffers. Think you can say that for films in general — for all the time, for health reasons, he's been compelled to stay away. This will make you want him back even more. ... full review

So-So, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...As for the story, ‘Karwaan’ is not a bad watch at all… in places. The dialogues are entertaining, the banter between the characters is fun and the cinematography is mind-blowing (Avinash Arun, the cinematographer surely deserves a pat on his back for highlighting the beauty of South India in his film). But having said that, Karwaan this weekend would not be a bad idea.... full review

So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...This one can be summarised with a dialogue from the film which rings true for the overall mood it manages to evoke — “Aaj ke zamaane mein ‘not bad’ bhi badi baat hain.”... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...After all that running around, the life lessons it ultimately imparts only show the makers's inability by resorting to the same old soppy idea of closure it so desperately seeks to break away from. ... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...Avinash Arun’s cinematography is prettiness itself. Every house looks like a very expensive homestay, and the locals stay firmly out of sight. The narrative travels from one point within a deracinated and disconnected bubble to the next, with even Shaukat’s attempts to evoke an Urdu-spouting romantic coming across as a confection rather than an approximation of reality. ... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...While their characters might be poles apart, the three actors are finely tuned with each other. Palkar is sweet but not cloyingly so. Irrfan is the crowd-pleaser who makes comedy seem easy and effortless with his characteristic deadpan look and the impeccable, straight-faced comic timing with which he delivers Hussain Dalal’s hilarious lines. His method fits well with the film’s overarching loopy sense of humour. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 1 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Vinod Kathayat : A journey of self discovery, that's what I feel after watching Karwaan.

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Fan

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: A few abusive words muted out.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None. Though there is a brief conversation or two about virginity, control over hormones, premarital pregnancy, and such.
  • Concept: People getting to know each other on a long drive.
  • General Look and Feel: Real

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Karwaan - Cast, crew, links

Costume Designer:
Running time:
120 minutes

Comments (2)

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A journey of self discovery, that's what I feel after watching Karwaan. DQ aka Dulquer and Irrfan showed their outstanding performances especially DQ who make his debut with this movie.


Yet another road trip, yet again Irfan Khan.

I watched the film with very low expectations - and I enjoyed it. But I suppose that as a standalone film it is nothing great. We all know the now too familiar formula for road trip films that end up in discovering a side of oneself that one didn't know existed.

What stuck out like a sore thumb in the story is the ease with which in the Indian heat one can move around with dead body without once having the need to close one's nose. In that sense, the pretext of the road trip seemed jocular.

As often Meeta advices, watch it if you have nothing better to do.

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