Dear Mr. Vishal Bharadwaj,
What have you done with Kaminey? You have created a big problem for rest of the Hindi film industry and the organizers of different movie award nights. How will they not nominate your film for Best Picture (Filmfare and IIFA did not nominate Omkara in the category while Krrish and Dhoom II found mention) and if they do, how will they nominate a 150-crore grossing, mindless-sexist-racist comedy in the same category? This is not fair.
Coming back to Kaminey, it is pure cinematic brilliance. Take a bow Vishal Bharadwaj; you have made a classic that will be talked about in the decades to come. From start to finish it is a roller coaster ride and one does not get time to catch a breath. There is not one thing that does not work for this film… story, dialogues, acting, music, lyrics, cinematography, editing, everything is first rate and it all comes together in an absolutely Kameeni film.
Kaminey is about identical twins, Charlie and Guddu (played by Shahid Kapur); the former lisps (says ‘f’ in place of ‘s’) and the latter stutters. Both of them have chosen different paths in life; Charlie is involved in a gang and can do anything to achieve his dream of becoming a bookie at the race course, Guddu on the other hand works with an NGO and loves spending time with his fiery Marathi girlfriend, Sweety (Priyanka Chopra). For Guddu, Charlie is as good as dead and Charlie prefers a Kaali Billi (black cat) to his manhoof(s) (inauspicious) brother. One fateful night their lives get intertwined and they have to save their dreams along with their lives.
In his career best performance, Shahid has done a fantabulous job of bringing alive, two distinct and difficult characters – Charlie and Guddu. He lives up to the super high expectations and is the new superstar (one who can act) on Bollywood’s horizon. Priyanka Chopra is simply delightful as Sweety; she is feisty, romantic, strong and vulnerable, all in one. Once again the best I have seen of her till date. There are many more characters including corrupt police officers, a trio of Bengali gangster brothers, a flamboyant drug-lord and African smugglers, amongst others. But there are two supporting characters that stand out… Amol Gupte as Bhope Bhau, a Maharashtra loving gangster cum aspiring politician who dislikes immigrants in his city especially those from Uttar Pradesh; and Chandan Roy Sanyal as Mikhail, Charlie’s coke-addict, whimsical best friend.
Vishal has done a great job in the writing department. The script based on an idea by Cajetan Boy, a writer from Nairobi, is taut and keeps the viewers hooked with plenty of twists and turns. One cannot afford to go out for popcorn or even answer a text message as the screenplay is arranged like a jigsaw puzzle and you are supposed to fit in all the pieces, no spoon feeding by the director here. There are so many characters and no time to develop them, Vishal does not bother with that and lets you discover them through their actions. There is tremendous attention to detail that builds these characters. For example, Bhope Bhau is shown checking his blood sugar level while barking orders to his gang members, establishing the fact that he is diabetic.
Dialogues in the film are simply mind-blowing, sample these… Charlie says, “Yeh life badi kutti cheez hai” (life is a bitch) and “Paifa kamaane ke do raafte hain, ek fhort cut aur doofra chhota fhort cut” (there are two ways to earn money, short cut and a shorter short cut). Sweety says, “Kya maine rape kiya tha tumhara” (did I rape you?). There are many more moments in the film that will make you laugh out loud and at the same time shock you.
Vishal once again strikes gold in the music and the background score department. Starting with ‘Dhan te nan’ (Sukhwinder Singh and Vishal Dadlani create magic here), the signature tune in the film to the slow numbers (the title track, ‘Mere raaste kaminey’ and the ballad, ‘Pehli baar mohabbat ki hai’), the music is outstanding. What I really loved is the usage of two male and two female voices for the same song, ‘Raat Ke Dhai Baje’ (Rekha Bharadwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kunal Ganjawala and Suresh Wadkar) and ‘Fatak’ (Sukhwinder Singh and Kailash Kher). Gulzar as usual has penned some out-of-the-box and brilliant lyrics. All these songs are weaved beautifully in the narrative and with the crisp editing you are almost left asking for more. The background score uses the ‘Dhan te nan’ theme extremely well and some catchy numbers from the 70s like ‘Duniya mein logo ko dhoka koi ho jaata hai’.
Tassaduq Hussain’s cinematography is amazing and you are not treated to perfect still frames which add to the entire experience. He has mostly used a hand-held camera to capture the rain-drenched city of Mumbai. Meghna Manchanda Sen and A. Sreekar Prasad deliver on the editing, which can make or break a caper like this. Dolly Ahluwalia’s styling and Sham Kaushal’s action are also brilliant.
What elfe fhall I fay about thif film… it if the beft film I have feen fince Aamir Khan’s ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Kaminey if a film with an attitude… I ftrongly recommend thif awefome flick, don’t miff it and watch it in a theatre.
My Rating: * * * * ½ Four and a half stars (on five)
– Shrey Khetarpal