A look at Kaushik Ganguly’s filmography and you know that this is a man who tries to bring something new to the plate everytime. With Khaad, he does exactly that. This is one film which dwells just on the threshold of horror but turns out to be more of a human drama then horror. Because of a train strike, a group of tourists, mostly unrelated to each other, get stuck in New Mal Junction. These people are honeymooners (Saheb and Mimi), family vacationers (Pallavi Chatterjee, Koushik Banerjee, and Tridha Chowdhury), an ailing mother and her son (Lily Chakraborty, Kaushik Ganguly), a priest (Ardhendu Banerjee), a heroine and her abnormal brother (Gargi Roy Chowdhury, Rajdeep Ghosh), one trekker (Kamaleshwar Mukherjee), a bus conductor (Rudranil Ghosh), a retired teacher (Maasud Akthar) and a doctor(Bharat Kaul) and his sister Tanushree Chakraborty
One of the tourists, the priest manages to arrange a bus from the church that he works in for them to reach North Bengal. The other tourists also join him in the bus trip, but unfortunately the bus meets with a terrible accident and falls off a cliff into an abyss. The tourists survive with minor injuries. Injured and traumatized, they realize that they have become completely detached from any form of human contact. They decide that it would be wise to spend the night in the abyss and find a way out the next day. While spending that night, they decide to play a game.
The priest suggests a game which is to reveal everyone’s secret or anything that the person wants to confess to the world but never gathered courage. This secret is to be left behind in the abyss and from the next day, they could begin afresh. Everyone agrees. Gradually, the situation starts to change while as the game progresses. Everyone’s darkest secrets are revealed one by one. And with every revelation the layers of humanity and its many flaws are peeled off resulting in the exchange of display of both savory and some truly unsavory feelings.
The film really does well to suck you into its miniscule narrative and keep you hooked in its drama as the story unfolds. The men and women as they are introduced initially are ripped off their façade and their true realities are revealed. A loving son who is shown carrying his mother in his arms to get her treated confesses that he has had enough of the running around and also believes that his mother’s sickness destroyed his life. A girl confesses to be with the doctor, who she introduced as her brother so that she could get him to endorse her brand in exchange for physical pleasure. A trekker confesses to be a spy and a teacher confesses to have wronged a minor student.
The film rides on some superb performances and cleverly envisioned sequences which might not have worked the way it did in the hands of a lesser director. But Ganguly makes it a point to juice every bit of the performance that his actors can provide him creating an organic tale which will leave you dazzled. Gargi Roy Chowdhury is top notch as an actress who says that her troubled brother is her everything but is on the way to dumping him. Her revelation and its stark contrast to her hearsay is interesting to watch. So is Kaushik Ganguly whose character is very close to the heart. His revelation also comes in as a jolt and leaves you with a lump in your throat. I totally loved Tanushree Chakraborty’s act. She is not only natural but has sensational charisma which makes you stand up and take notice.
Overall, Khaad is a wonderful film which is bound to make you think. It brings some stark realities of the human nature to the fore but in the most novel way possible. Khaad is reminiscent of the changing face of Bengali cinema which over the years has produced more quality cinema then our Bollywood. Watch it and be bowled over by it.