The film is gripping enough for you to not realise its plot holes until the credits roll
Though it does stretch credulity too frequently, Kahaani is a decent thriller with a nicely developed Kolkata ambience. Apart from the Metro’s Kalighat Station, it is shot mostly in the inner city—set in the crumbling one-way lanes through which Ambassador taxis crawl and where singhara and phuchka stalls proliferate. The conversation is a mixture of Bengali-accented Hindi, Hindi-accented Bengali and convent English. The star of the show is a lady from London called Mrs Vidya Bagchi, evidently in her eleventh month of pregnancy, looking for a missing husband.
There are no immigration records of her husband having departed from London or arrived at Kolkata, but ‘Bidya’ (Vidya Balan) is determined to find him. As expected of an espionage drama involving the Intelligence Bureau hat aims to hold you for some two hours, the film is mounted on an engine that has wheels within wheels, and, in truth, this machinery is pretty well camouflaged most of the way. The absurdity of the plot only dawns when you get up to leave, and by then, nobody is going to give your money back.
The movie is well cast, and of the four Chatterjees acting (a record for a Hindi film?)—Dhritiman, Parambrata, Saswata and Abir—Saswata, as a contract killer called Bob Biswas, with a sweet smile and graceful nomoshkar, is the best. He and Vidya Balan are involved in the scariest scene in the film, superbly bifurcated by the ‘Interval’.
She’s gorgeous as usual, but this is not Ms Balan’s best performance. There appears to be a communication gap between script, director and actress, and she is not convincing as a traumatised pregnant wife in search of a missing husband. In the first half of the film, she is too gung ho, thoroughly enjoying herself, breaking into homes, offices and computer systems. A little more angst may have helped.
Kahaani is an interesting and watchable movie, but not a memorable one.