Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, Vidya and Kolkata


If you have a tendency to bite your nails, this movie will leave  irreparable damage.  This is the first Indian thriller that really got under my skin.  Well, Johnny Gaddar was until now the one movie I would recommend to my American action-loving friends in order  to convince them that Bollywood isn’t all mush and romance, the bias most often attached to its genre. Sujoy Ghosh blessed me with another option.  From now on Kahaani will top my list. There are other decent thrillers but often they fall short in one or two other categories.

Apart from Vidya’s fantastic “Bidya” rendition, the whole cast was memorable here. They couldn’t have picked better characters for this movie. Kudos to the casting department. Incidentally, this is one  area Bollywood needs to pay more attention to: supporting cast. it’s what makes the difference between good and great. Its importance is too often overlooked.

Not so in Kahaani.  The clumsily scary hitman, the chief of police, the ambiguously good cop ( Parambrata Chatterjee), the foulmouthed Intelligence officer ( Nawazuddin Siddiqui ), the seedy hotel manager, all these characters came to life, embedded and hustling around in the gloriously colorful and bubbly city of Kolkata, grandeur of old, and microcosmic “galiya” (those narrow alleys. I hope i got it right)

Kolkata… ahhhhh! this is the reason why I love Indian movies taking place in India, chases through the narrow heavily populated streets,the food vendors engulfed in steamy hot oils, you can almost smell the spices, taste the delicious street food handed over to you in paper napkins. heavily spiced chais served in glasses, three quarter full…. It brings India to your front door. You want to jump out of your seat and go buy a ticket to Kolkata. At least that’s what I wanted to do..

The story of Kahaani is just as layered as its buzzing streets. A seven month pregnant woman in search of her husband who has gone missing mysteriously. At least that’s what you THINK you are watching… You can feel Vidya Balan’s heartbeat, a slight coat of sweat, her anguish mixed with resolve. Vidya Balan is again true to herself.  Oblivious to cameras surrounding her, instructions probably yelled out to her, she can tune all of that out – at her fingertips.  You know you are watching a movie, but you forget you are watching a movie…. you are watching her, you become her.  This is Vidya Balan’s genius.



After watching The Dirty Picture we could have been worried that she will be type-cast as the new Indian vixen, the new, authentically Indian sex symbol. But she beat us to it.

This is a roller coaster ride of a movie you shouldn’t miss!!