Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Sobhita Dhulipala, Kunaal Roy Kapur
Direction: Akshat Verma
‘Kaalakaandi’ boasts of dark humour and some robust performances. If being risqué was the only criterion for success, it would have been a raging hit. Alas, the plot is just too whimsical to make sense beyond a point.
Three storylines run in parallel on a rainy Mumbai night and the protagonists, by and large, keep you invested. Saif Ali Khan, Deepak Dobriyal and Sobhita Dhulipala are the focal points of these stories that all try an experimental approach.
Saif, playing the role of a teetotaler and non-smoker, discovers he has stomach cancer and just a few months to live. Shocked and devastated, he wants to check off his bucket list before time runs out. Dobriyal and Vijay Raaz are a local gangster’s henchmen, but they no longer want to run errands. They think it’s about time they made it big on their own. Sobhita is on her way to earn a PhD in Boston, but finds herself mired in a drug bust and hit-and-run case.
These are interesting tales on their own, but while one is amused over the eccentricities of the characters, the plot doesn’t quite follow a logical trajectory. I remember watching the zombie comedy ‘Go Goa Gone’ (2013) in which Saif played the lead and even though there was a need for a suspension of disbelief, the film made for a fun watch.
The same cannot be said for ‘Kaalakaandi’: the film is peppered with moments of genuine humour, but that doesn’t absolve it for the lack for a coherent script.
Saif as a terminally ill patient high on a psychotropic drug is a treat to watch. It’s pity that his bold experiments with different roles – such as this one and the one he essayed in ‘Chef’ (2017) – are being let down by shoddy writing.
‘Kaalakaandi’ tries a fresh approach – it’s for a niche audience with some edgy scenes and bawdy dialogues – but I am not sure if this is everyone’s cup of tea. Watch it if you must. Saif – in top form here – will keep you entertained, even if the film fails to.