Kaabil was in news for being an official remake of the Tamil Action Thriller Thandavam. Then it was rumored to be an un-official remake of the Korean smash hit Broken. However, after watching this film I can safely say that it has more in common with Amitabh Bachchan’s “Aakhri Raasta” than it has with either of the films mentioned above. The biggest question, however, was whether it was a good thing or a bad and it’s safe to say that it was indeed a good thing. The film has enough going for it to make it an absorbing watch. Hrithik Roshan has always been a very bankable star and the character here suits him perfectly and thus the film with its done to death narrative gains a lot from his presence and charisma without which it would end up being mundane and repetitive.
Kaabil, as you might already know, is the story of Rohan and Supriya both of whom are blind and end up falling in love with each other. Their dark lives are filled with bliss and they soon end up getting married. However, their marital bliss is soon destroyed when Supriya gets raped by Amit (Rohit Roy) and Wasim (Md. Sahidur Rahaman) both of whome are under the aegis of the local politician Madhavrao Shellar (Ronit Roy) who also happens to be Amit’s elder brother. Rohan tries to get justice from the law but the law under the influence of Shellar turns a blind eye and deaf ear to his pleas. Soon enough Supriya commits suicide unable to fathom her plight. Rohan now sets out to extract revenge on the men who wronged him and took the love of his life away from him. The only problem is his lack of vision. What’s left to be seen his how he uses his handicap to his advantage and extracts his revenge.
I was engrossed in Rohan’s tale for at least 90% of the film. I have some major issues with the film and I will come to those later. Let’s start off by speaking about what works in the film. The story, no matter how well known, still works. It has to be accepted that the story is real and it will find an audience among the viewers. It’s a tragedy beyond all tragedies and it hits you right at your heart. The fact that the girl being abused is handicapped only makes the matter that much more touchy. The fact that both Hrithik and Yami exude confidence and share a great chemistry only makes them that much more endearing. Hence when the tragedy befalls them, we are immediately engrossed in the events. Similar to Korean films (which Sanjay Gupta is immensely inspired by), a lot of sentimentalities for d protagonist and feeling of cringe for the antagonists is induced in the narrative. Thankfully most of the graphic violence on Supriya is left off-screen but a mere thought of it is enough to induce an awkward feeling.
Once the setup is done and Rohan is en-route to his revenge, the screenplay becomes that much more thrilling and absorbing. Now for once, we are able to get some retribution. The manner in which he lures each one of his perpetrators into a trap to finally dispose of them works really well. I literally clapped and cheered when Rohan destroyed the face of one of the antagonists simply by punching him incessantly. The next assassinations reminded me of one of the Korean Classics (“I Saw The Devil”) wherein the villain was killed by his own kins. Here too a similar thing happens but in a different manner. The climactic battle between Shellar and Rohan though left a lot of gaping holes.
Kaabil is a Hrithik Roshan film if you didn’t know already. He is present in almost every scene of the film and he makes each and every one of them count. His blind act is superlative. You instantaneously fall in love with his character and when he is wronged, you actually feel his haplessness and his pain. That proves to be a propelling factor for the film as the narrative gets meaning and purpose because of our connection to Rohan. Without this connection, it would become just another “heard before”, “been there story”. His act in the action sequences is wonderful. The physicality and the randomness that he brings to the action make his character believable and the action that much more engrossing and enjoyable. His chemistry with Yami is right on point. Rohan’s child like innocence is brought out beautifully in the romantic sequences and then when he metamorphs into a vengeful vigilante, it’s believable as well as affecting.
Yami Gautam is not only a pretty face but a very good actress too. Here she is a picture of confidence and even though she has a smallish role, she brings a lot of credibility to her performance. She not only looks believable in her act, she makes you feel her pain and helplessness. That truly defines her character. Rohit Roy is creepy and hateable as Amit. He complements Hrithik scene for scene with his evil act. Ronit Roy is a fabulous actor and he is no different here. I have always enjoyed his acts and he does a credible job here that is perfectly hateable and despise-able. Narendra Jha’s character is probably the weakest and worst written. This brings me to the negatives of the film.
- The scene where Shellar comes to meet Rohan for the first time was a ham. It was a sore thumb sticking out in an otherwise believable buildup. What he had to say was unnecessary. It would have been better to let Rohan find out the things that Shellar gives him on his own. That would have served the believability factor better and also added fuel to his anger even more.
- The final action sequence between Rohan and Shellar felt a tad bit too much to fathom. Rohan had absolutely no time to plan the assault in a manner that is shown and hence it was dragged way too far to be believable.
- The voice dubbing act of Rohan, on which a crucial endeavor of his act of revenge is hinged, was another farfetched ploy. It does spoil the seriousness of the film at many junctures. It was an example of lazy writing when the writers could have easily sat down and thought of a better way around the problem. That’s the least you can expect from writers and the director who are making a film worth millions.
- Kaabil is the second Sanjay Gupta film in a row after Jazbaa that is not as well shot and sleek as his many previous outings. I found some serious issues in the editing department as well. The ending specially was an editing nightmare. Why did they have to show the end of Shellar in a flashback? That just didn’t make any sense. The CGI work was terrible and spoilt the fun of the film on multiple occasions. The cinematography bordered between being good and ordinary throughout the film
- The character of Chaubey played by Narendra Jha was a huge letdown. He was neither the good guy nor the bad guy. He was somewhere in between and was so indecisively written that the audience will be confused about how to look at him. His final turn to the dark side was laughable. His efforts to catch Rohan were even more amateurish and funny. In short, his act spoilt the movie to a great extent towards the end.
- The final climax felt hurried. The speed with which the events are tied up conveyed a feeling that the director wanted to finish up the film in a hurry. That’s never a good thing for a film.
- There are many sequences where you will have to suspend your disbeliefs and they may be too much for many to fathom.
Having said all that, I still loved this film for its earnestness, its story, its performances and the sheer wish fulfillment that it provides towards the end. Rohan becomes the voice of all those wronged by the system and his success in sending the antagonists to hell brings a smile or two on our face as well. Watch Kaabil for sure.
Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)