When it comes to a film’s technical craft, Kalank is top-notch. The film rolls off some of the year’s most stunning shots. However, the intellectual Alia Bhatt’s character, Roop, is difficult to connect with in the film’s sexual politics, and the latter jars with her own modern screen persona. Despite its lavish sets and costumes, Kalank’s most impressive moments are its cliff-top bullfights and multigenerational superstar cast.
The film is set during the pre-partition era in a fictional town near Lahore, Pakistan. It tells the story of a Hindu minority in that city. The film’s protagonist, Roop, is an educated woman who is forced into a marriage of convenience by her wealthy, illegitimate son. In order to find a path to freedom, Roop treads into the forbidden ghetto of Heera Mandi, where she falls in love with Zafar (Varun Dhawan).
While the film is brimming with likeable cast members and attractive packaging, it also fails to offer much in the way of nuance in depicting the Hindu-Muslim equation. It also fails to show the character of a ferocious Muslim as a sympathetic character. In this regard, Kalank lacks the depth that makes it so engrossing. Its message of tolerance is heartening, but its misunderstandings of religion and culture are unsettling.
The performances are solid, but there is no clear standout in the movie. Madhuri Dixit and Kunal Khemu have standout roles. Aditya Roy Kapur does something promising but nothing really elevates the film. The plot lacks passion and it’s a bit drab at times. But for hopeless romantics, it’s worth a watch. It’s well worth seeing if you’re a Hindi film fan.
The presentation of Kalank is acceptable, but the film is largely lacking in soul. Though the cinematography and production design are reminiscent of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s work, there is a distinct lack of authenticity. Even though the film is visually spectacular, its storyline is bland and uninteresting. It is not the kind of movie that will make you feel passionate for the lead characters. Just try and avoid the glitz and glamor.
I think Kalank is worth seeing, but I’m not sold on the script or the performances. It’s a multi-starrer, co-produced by Karan Johar, and stars Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Madhuri Dixit, Aditya Roy Kapur, and Sonakshi Sinha. The film is a high-budget production, but the trailer gives a glimpse of the grandeur of the film. There are many fans eagerly awaiting the film’s reviews.