By Hindustan Times
Sujoy Ghosh's Vidya Balan starrer Kahaani is a captivating thriller from commencement to conclusion, Vidya Balan proves her worth yet again by single handedly carrying the film forward on her firm shoulders. Stupendous, take a bow, Sujoy Ghosh, feel critics.
"Come to think of it, the Hindi film industry is branded for creating movies from a male perspective. The women's stories are not really exemplified conscientiously. But, out of the blue, the souk of women-centric flicks is fast turning out to be a bankable genre. Kahaani is a commanding story, has an authoritative central character, has several dominant and thought-provoking moments, which makes it an all-persuasive film," writes Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama.
"Kahaani is a captivating recount from its commencement to conclusion. Sujoy has fashioned enough scenes around the plot that keep the viewer on the edge. Besides, fragments of tongue in cheek humor pop up when you least anticipate to liven up the solemn plot. Yet, the storyteller never deviates from the fundamental somber premise. His attempt in infusing drama and pace in the narrative makes the movie accessible to the mainstream spectators. Just one itsy bitsy snag: Had the culmination been lucidly elucidated in a more simplistic fashion for the common man to decipher, the film would have created an even stronger impact," says Adarsh.
"Kahaani is not an ordinary thrill-a-minute film about a search for a missing person. It's a lot more. Bringing a virgin vitality to the suspense drama, the film strikes a captivating balance between realism in art and the art of courting realism, without losing the entertainment quotient," writes Subhash K Jha, IANS.
"From the moment Vidya lands in Kolkata, the colour, vibrancy, bustle and jostle that are peculiar to Kolkata assail your senses. It's a claustrophobic yet liberating world of intrigue and deception. A pungent flavour of anxiety and stress qualify the narration from frame one," continues Jha.
"Unlike many films that rely on a city's clichés to force feed its significance, there's none of the contrived Bong paraphernalia: O-emphasizing accent, dramatic play of conch shells, rasgulla/mishit doi excesses. Even the iconic Howrah Bridge shows up sparingly only to convey an unforeseen connection, a whiff of an infatuation," writes Sukanya Verma, Rediff.
"Goddess Durga’s analogy is central to the film’s theme and the protagonist, played flawlessly by Balan, as she sheds her vulnerabilities to draw in on her inner strength or shakti to bring the perpetrators to justice," writes Bindu Suresh Rai, Emirates 24/7.
"The actress proves her worth by single handedly carrying the film forward on her firm shoulders, with an experience that transports you back to an era when Madhuri Dixit achieved the same with élan, breaking every rule in an industry that still favours a male lead," adds Rai.
"Kahaani is a thriller which you just cannot miss. Sujoy Ghosh goes about unraveling the mystery of Vidya Bagchi's (Vidya Balan) missing husband with such neat detailing that the trump card he reveals in the end is like a swift blow to the Solar Plexus. It catches you unawares and leaves you short of breath. Stupendous. Take a bow, Sujoy Ghosh," says Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com.
"This is indeed a favorable moment for a Hindi movie heroine, unlike in times of yore. She is being looked up to as an actor with strengths, limitations, failures and accomplishments. She is geared up to conduct experiments, equipped to explore uncharted territories. This also goes for one of the most proficient actresses of our times, Vidya Balan. The famed actress has persistently ambled the untrodden path vis-a-vis her choice of movies, Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture and now Kahaani...," says Adarsh.
"If, after The Dirty Picture you still needed convincing that you will miss a leading 'hero' in this one, get ready for another punch in the jaw. Once again, a 'pregnant' Vidya, ironically displays more 'male ornaments' (excuse the watering down) than most heroes. She takes on her role with power and pride. Living out of a suitcase, amongst strangers, she takes on the soul of the city. Her performance leaves you in awe of an actress, who walks through her role as easily as a stroll down Chowranghee Lane. And even that is perfected as a pregnant waddle, add to it her disheveled look and eyes dark with anguish," says Madhureeta Mukherjee, TOI.
"Balan is as usual in crackling form, but it is the array of other characters who make the film come alive. Parambrata Chatterjee is perfect as young Rana, who is half in love with Mrs Bagchi, and is her willing accomplice in breaking into offices and interrogating/charming informers. Nawazuddin plays an IB officer with gusto, abusing, smoking, throwing attitude around. Dhritiman Chatterjee, all stiff upper lip, is the IB chief (or commander in chief, we are told). My favourite though is Bob Biswas (actor Saswata Chatterjee), the moonfaced hit man masquerading as an LIC agent. All the cliches are there - the seedy motel owner, the cheerfully bumbling police officer, the smiling urchins. but used to good effect," writes Kaveree Bamzai, India Today.
"Vidya Balan’s performance will be applauded as she manages the highly intense breakdown scenes as well as the chirpy playful ones with the same ease and excellence. Her companion, assistant and committed to being obedient cop played by Parambrata Chattopadhyay is a strong contender for Best Supporting trophies and might attract curious character roles in Bollywood. Regrettably, Nawazuddin Siddique’s arrogant agent role doesn’t lend him an intimidating or even an abominable image to break into being a regular baddie in Hindi films. That said, it was refreshing that his character was consistently harsh and brash and didn’t have a hidden golden heart unlike most similar characters in other films. A special callout needs to be made for the deliciously devilish contract killer Bob Biswas played by Saswata Chatterjee (the one wearing spectacles in the top picture) who is easily the most terrifying of all in this film," writes Kunal Guha, Yahoo.
"The cinematography is strictly average and it doesn’t really contribute or take away from any scene. The background score however blends well and that is why you can hardly distinguish it in many crucial scenes. But the Ekla Cholo Re by Amitabh Bachchan isn’t any more than a publicity stunt and doesn’t fill up your senses or anything. Hope he doesn’t use it to lull his granddaughter to sleep," adds Guha.
"Sujoy, with the skills of a master storyteller, amalgamates a human story in a thriller format. There is a certain uninhibited genuineness in Sujoy's direction. Besides, the writing is outstanding [story: Sujoy Ghosh, Advaita Kala; additional screenplay: Suresh Nair, Nikhil Vyas]; one seldom witnesses such aptitude and deliberation to specifications. Without doubt, Sujoy gives it his best shot with gleaming sincerity. Positioned alongside an intimidating environment of Kolkata's tapered side streets and constricted alleyways, the setting is ahead of credence in its realism," feels Adarsh about Ghosh's direction.
"Sujoy Ghosh, whose earlier films gave us no clue of the ingenuity that he displays here with such ostensible casualness, cuts the footage with razor sharp economy, leaving no sign of the surgery involved in leaving behind scenes and putting together a tale that pays homage to Hitchcock even while it tilts its topi to the detective films of Satyajit Ray," says Jha.
"On the whole, Kahaani works big time because Vidya Balan makes it come alive. It is several notches above the stuff we've been subjected to in the past. The movie triumphs in evoking emotions. You experience compassion, resentment, defenselessness and triumph at a variety of stages. A wonderful movie-going experience, you come out feeling a se