When you choose to tell a story a blind man’s vengeance you tread rough terrain. Chances of falling are high. Keeping it real is a task. That’s where a director like Sanjay Gupta makes a difference. More so, with a liberal dose of influence from producer Rakesh Roshan, a very capable director himself!
Roshan senior has made multiple revenge dramas earlier and so has Sanjay Gupta. And it is no rocket science to figure that both have very distinct approaches. While Roshan has always relied heavy on emotions and is deft at making massy entertainers, Gupta has a tendency to explore then dark zones. With Kaabil, they find a mid path. And with a talent like Hrithik Roshan the find the perfect tool.
The trailer gives out exactly what the film is going to be. The story is set in Mumbai. No time is wasted in acquainting us with Rohan Bhatnagar, the protagonist and the love of his life Supriya. Both visually impaired create a dream which is destroyed ruthlessly by the brother of a local politician. The police are mute spectators. Rohan decides to stop being a pawn and play the game by his rules. At intermission, the stage is set for what is about to come.
The first half builds the plot. This is when the emotional connect is established. You feel for the Rohan and Supriya – their happiness and their despair. As Rohan goes about executing his plan, you might find yourself rooting and cheering for him. The movie takes you through a gamut of emotions. Most importantly, it makes you hold your breath when the director wants you to feel the thrill. And throughout all of this, Gupta keeps it as real as possible. This he does with dialogues that are everyday life, rather than ones that induce claps.
Kaabil would have been not half as good if the actors did not work. Hrithik comes up with a performance he should be proud of. As the visually impaired protagonist he never slips. He makes things believable. It is not easy, to keep the eyes so static when you are just acting to be blind. He is complemented by Yami Gautam. The Roy brothers – Rohit and Ronit – manage to provide the dark shades required for a revenge thriller like this. Ronit Roy, as usual, steals scenes whenever he is on screen. This time he does the Marathi accent with élan.
Kaabil relies on music to build the romance, like Rakesh Roshan has always preferred. Gupta follows the exercise. The songs work for the film. The background music works better as they manage to spur the emotions.
30 years back, in Qatl, Sanjeev Kumar had played a blind man who executes his revenge plan even as the policeman, played by Shatrughan Sinha, finds it impossible to find evidence. You may want to draw parallels with the film and many other films but you would not find anything concrete.
Kaabil is not the perfect film. There are a few hiccups here and there. But none of it adds up to anything that hinders the film’s prospects. This one is a winner. Or should we say Sanjay Gupta reinstates his Kaabiliat with this one.