`Kaanchi` review: Subhash Ghai lacks showmanship

By Aparna Mudi | Last Updated: Friday, April 25, 2014 - 15:02

by Aparna Mudi

For a filmmaker who has churned out a bevy Box Office hits from `Karz` to `Taal`, the last decade and a half hasn’t turned out to be good for Subhash Ghai. With `Kaanchi`, Ghai remains true to form, and puts out yet another uninteresting production.

The year 2014 has so far been good for youngsters. Alia Bhatt, Sidharth Malhotra, Varun Dhawan, Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor have all wooed critics and audiences alike, but unfortunately it might not prove to be the same for Mishti.

Mishti plays the role of Kaanchi, a rebellious young lass from the hilly village of Koshampa in Uttarakhand. The character of Kaanchi seems to be heavily influenced by Ghai`s own Maansi from `Taal` (played by Aishwarya Rai). Her looks, her no-make up avatar, her light hazel eyes and her headstrong attitude are all reminiscent of Ash. However, as beautiful and innocent Mishti is as Kaanchi, she lacks the grace and poise of Aishwarya.

Kaanchi then has to move to big bad Mumbai to seek revenge when her young love is crushed under the wheels a la `Karz`. Kartik Tiwari is somewhat cute as her beau, but does not have a very established role. No wonder he has been absent from the promotional campaigns.

The girl takes on the over-the-top characters of the Kakras, played by Mithun Chakraborty and Rishi Kapoor.
The first half of the movie winds its way tortuously to form the basic premise of the revenge saga. With a dramatic twist just before the interval, things start looking up. But soon that little glimmer of hope dies when you see that Mishti, in a bid to show the grieving lover, starts shrieking. One can’t help but wonder whether she wants revenge or psychiatric help. Her performance over the course of the movie becomes monotonous and, even though she is not wooden, she does not do enough to make a clear mark in Bollywood.

The second half of the movie tries to emulate Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra`s `Rang De Basanti`. While `RDB` shone in the portrayal of young angst, `Kaanchi` just isn’t able to justify its plot. There is no desh ki seva in the heroine`s mind as she plots her sloppy revenge, but Ghai tries to bring in social activists and corruption in a bid to prove a point. The plot is so naïve that most of the audience was laughing at Kaanchi`s antics rather than supporting her in her movement.

Ghai tries to bank on the anti-corruption election fever, but even in that he fails as the negative characters are a completely waste of time.

Rishi and Mithun`s talent as actors needs no proof. But in this movie, they are nothing more than caricatures. Rishi tries to play the suave, loud-mouthed casanova and makes no impact. He lacks the charm, wit, humour or even pure evil.
Mithun, who has won three National Awards, is in a lost cause as well. He sleepwalks through the role of a heinous baddie that could have been small and yet powerful. He is sent off in the script just as dismissively.

Ghai’s movies have been known for their good music; even in some of his worst productions, this is one aspect that has been the saving grace. `Yaadein` and `Yuvraj` immediately spring to mind in this regard. But apart from `Kaanchi re Kaanchi` and `Kaisa Hai Dard Mera`, Ismail Durbar’s music sounds as if intended for a `B` grade movie. `Kambal Ke Neeche` is downright cheap, even though it tries to play on a popular college joke of adding a nasty line to movie or song titles.

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.

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First Published: Saturday, April 26, 2014 - 19:28

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