Cast: Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapur, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt, Kunal Kemmu
Director: Abhishek Varman
Rating: 2 Stars (out of 5)
Set in the pre-independence era, Kalank opens door to opulent sets burdened by grandeur, immaculately-dressed women and overwhelming visuals. It will remind you of the Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies that you have seen in past but sadly it is a byproduct of Karan Johar taking a stab at helming a larger-than-life film.
The subject of the film is not something unheard of, in fact, countless films have been made on the inter-religion love and the Hindu-Muslim conflict. Love had triumphed in all the other films and Kalank is no different minus the grandeur. The high morals of the society have been questioned countless times and Kalank supports its subject with the same question all over again.
The story is set in Husnabad, near Lahore in Pakistan, a few years before the India and Pakistan partition. The town is dominated by Muslims, who are mostly engaged in low-wage jobs while there is only one Hindu family that the film introduces us to and they are Balraj Choudhary(Sanjay Dutt) Dev Choudhary (Aditya Roy Kapur) and his wife Satya Choudhary(Sonakshi Sinha). The family runs a liberal newspaper called Daily Times, trying to survive the wrath of the crowd who don't share the same ideology as that of its owners.
Just fifteen minutes into the film and you will be bamboozled with three songs and stunning performances. After much fanfare, a poised Sonakshi Sinha as Satya pushes the accelerator towards the only thing that the audience has been waiting for, the story. Satya, a woman madly in love with her husband, is caught in an inescapable battle and wants to settle scores with life before she reaches the point of no return.
Satya is one of the well-crafted characters and Sonakshi does complete justice to it. Her poise, elegance and charm is commendable. Although her stint ended sooner than we had expected, we wish her class act had stayed for a longer period. Similarly, Aditya as Dev is an epitome of grace. Despite being in a situation where everything falls apart, he tries to hold every aspect together. After his boyish act in Ok Jaanu, it was refreshing to see Aditya playing a matured character on-screen.
Alia Bhatt as Roop and Varun Dhawan as Zafar give birth to another set of characters that we are going to remember for a long time. Roop, a victim of a marriage of convenience, falls in love with Zafar, a victim of circumstances. Nothing unpredictable happens between them in the film but the finesse with which every emotion has been portrayed by them is indeed commendable.
The film has surprise elements like Kunal Kemmu, who has a huge part to play in the way the story unfolds. Hiten Tejwani and Achint Kaur add refreshing twists to the film.
While all eyes were waiting for the two most-talked-about couple of the nineties Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt, they hardly share screen space but delivered power-packed performances otherwise. Their dialogue delivery seemed too real to be considered fiction and the fans got their moment of two of their most favourite on-screen actors.
The film is indubitably one of the most visually-appeasing creations of Dharma Productions but it completely lacks soul.
There was nothing new on the makers part other than presenting the magnanimous sets and immaculate costumes. So much more was expected from the film with an amazing star cast but it, unfortunately, didn't live up to the expectations. There are too many unrealistic moments in the film that would make you question your sanity. Despite living in the 1940s, the characters were dressed in body-hugging sherwanis and stylish bandhgalas.
The women donned bell-sleeves blouse and embellished lehenga cholis irrespective of their economic conditions. The VFX at some places is sour to the eyes. Even blacksmiths of that era could pronounce English words like 'Journalists' and 'articles' fluently.
However, one should totally watch it for the performances of the star cast.