Abhishek Kapoor touches your heart with a compelling film that you wish just didn’t end
Did you ever think that debutante Sara can actually overpower an already matured Sushant? Well that’s what is in store for you, at least in some sequences. Kedarnath is rare, actually. Rarely does it happen that you have so many things in a film to admire that while you are lost in one, the other takes over. Its this beautiful amalgamation of cinematic elements woven finely that you would literally forget to even munch on your popcorn. Your eyes are glued to the screen for the complete run time first shot to the last frame. And yes, with that one evergreen tune in the last sequence, Kapoor makes sure you go home with a smile.
Flamboyant Mandakini aka Mukku (Sara Ali Khan), daughter of a local priest in Kedarnath falls in love with Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput), a pure hearted pitthoo (porter) who out of goodwill doesn’t hesitate a bit to let go a part of his own money from the yatris. In the valley that is witnessing the arrival of hotels and lodges, their extreme love story meets a deadly calamity.
Based on the real incident of devastating floods that happened in the state of Uttarakhand in June 2013, Abhishek Kapoor and Kanika Dhillon’s gripping story sets it’s characters amid the turbulent times. Although the story at heart talks of love between a Hindu and a Muslim character, the catastrophic premise adds to the much needed emotional and entertainment quotients.
Kedarnath takes you to the temple, not only to its surroundings but also it’s base and give it to the makers- you feel you have done the darshan. Whether or not was it intentional, but the manner in which it is shot, makes you want to bow down to the makers, first for attempting to showcase the place and then presenting it in its complete beauty. Rather, even more than what you would feel in real. You also get a glimpse into the lives of people residing in the area and how livelihood plays a role here in the plot- the local feel is authentic. Mind you, its really interesting, as if you are shaking hands with people belonging to different cultures.
In this visually stunning canvas, seeming like bold and flamboyant brush strokes of a painting on celluloid- valleys, mountain ranges, river streaming down, the villages- you are lost in the locations and highly rich color palettes. Also never do the makers drift apart from the story. In fact, the locations, the floods, extremities, and the love story are so well connected that you just can’t separate them.
Minor but evident attempts to show communal harmony and the class difference adding to the conflict serve as interesting elements to ensure your hearts keep beating. While for most of the part you are in for a decent watch, its the last 30 mins of the film that shake you giving you goosebumps. Salutes to everyone working on the VFX and CGI. Its sends a chill down your spine even giving you a feel that you are at the edge of the mountain range and that you’ll be swept off your feet by the waters. Its very scary yet captivating.
Sushant Singh Rajput once again proves he shouldn’t be underestimated or underrated. In top notch form, he becomes the character and you just can’t imagine any other actor essaying this role. His transformation and demeanor as pitthoo, his subtle expressions, those shy smiles, that guilt in body language, a particular restriction with a girl in his life have been portrayed as if he’s living all that for real.
Sara Ali Khan on the other hand gives a confident debut. Never faltering with her role- not even in one frame, she doesn’t seem she’s facing the camera for the first time. Hers is a strong role and she shoulders the responsibility with grace. She not only looks good but makes her performance speak for itself. Its majorly because of her that you are actually up for relatable emotions. Indeed, she outclasses even the senior actors in the frame.
Alka Amin, Nitish Bharadwaj, Nishant Dahiya, Pooja Gor, and Sonali Sachdev- all in their brief but compelling appearances have contributed well.
Amit Trivedi’s sound score is to be felt, not just listened. The songs which have already been soothing the souls through radio, charm you when they appear in the film, especially Namo Namo and Jaan Nisaar. Hitesh Sonik’s background score too is evidently in sync with the mood. Full marks to him for hypnotizing you during the climax.
Tushar Kanti Ray’s cinematography is to die for. Its such a brilliant use of camera that you feel a relief watching the film in theaters. Vibrant colors, grand compositions, picturesque locations shot to their optimum capacity, and at the same time aiding the story gives you a feel you don’t want to come out of. Also the CGI aided extremities along with the actors doing their bit give you the chills.
What Chandan Arora has done on editing table is also exemplary, in a way that the narrative structure is finely detailed to say the least. Its a linear form of story telling and the reason that’s it simple connects with you the most.
Production design by Mayur Sharma deserves special mention for the clap worthy work. The sets, locations, vibrant colors, and elements within the frame are enriching. Its the aura of the place that’s intact.
VFX, make-up, costumes- too good. The overall feel is what the film is about, made possible because of superlative effort in technical departments.
While Kedarnath is high on entertainment making it a film for masses, it also offers a lot to the classes in terms of technicalities, message, projection and the scale it is mounted on. The film not only shocks you through the disturbing portrayal of the floods but also leaves you with a smile. Its this endearing combination that the film should be watched for.