Film: Kaminey

I haven’t felt like this after watching a film in a long time. Actually, there are a few films in the last two years that have really made me happy – Manorma – Six Feet Under, Gulaal, Dev D, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and now – Kaminey.

There are some films that you know – even as you’re watching them for the first time, that you want to get the DVD, and listen to the Director’s cut, and pause the film and have a closer look at some of the scenes. This is definitely one of those films for me.

This is a dark film. However, the pace of the film is so breathless that the darkness doesn’t pull you down or engulf you. It’s a brilliant balance between the sparseness of a story, and a million characters. Don’t even dream of drinking water while watching the film, if you dare to go to the loo for a wee during the film, even if for two minutes, you’ll miss the plot.

What’s amazing is that the story takes on a more ancient formula, and has an element of the retro. Once in a while the screen is invaded by violence with music from the 70s, moving in perfect tandem. Within the formula of twin brothers (Shahid Kapoor), Sweety (Priyanka Chopra) shines. I’ve hardly seen her act before, so to see her with an expression on her face, and taking on a definitely “different” but “within the formula” role is fantastic. Not to mention the number of villains played by relatively unknown actors. It adds an incredible freshness and unpredictability to the course of evil and cruelty.

Bengali mafia dons, spunky Maharashtrian girl, twins, a near perfect soundtrack, various dons, politicians, drugs, guns, money. And yet no sense of farce. Nothing that tries to laugh at itself. No separate comedy track. There is humour but it’s all wired into the film so intricately that there’s nothing like a funny moment. Just a random laugh at the irony and out of nervousness.

I always thought Shahid Kapoor could act, but the best bit about this film was the voiceovers that he does. You see a glimpse of Pankaj Kapoor somewhere. As for the music, I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said before. While I love Dhan Te Naan like nuts and can’t stop humming it, I am equally struck by Fatak and the title track of Kaminey. In fact, the song Kaminey is so melancholic that it sort of punches me in the gut once in a while.

Which takes me to the point where I think Vishal Bharadwaj is an absolute genius. I loved Maqbool, Omkara and even his children’s film – Blue Umbrella – all of which had dark shades and irony thrown in for good measure. Plus, the man sings brilliantly. And composes like a dream. What more could you want?

14 Comments

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14 Responses to Film: Kaminey

  1. Neha K

    Here Here!
    I am so glad that you finally got to watch the movie! I completely echo your feelings about the movie! Vishal Bharadwaj is indeed a genius! One character that stood out for me was Mikhail! So very theater and so very brilliant!

    I cant stop listening to Dhan te nan and the title song!
    ” Ek dil se dosti thi.. yeh huzoor bhi kaminey!”
    Aaaahh Gulzaar and Vishal Bharadwaj.. what a kickass combination!

  2. Kickass movie indeed! Though I think the pace kind of slacked a bit before and after the title song. But a memorable movie surely!

  3. I loved Kaminey. And all those movies you mentioned. But if I have to name one movie from last two years, it would be Johnny Gaddar.

  4. Echoed my feelings about Kaminey.

    And I like how he makes Suresh Wadkar sound good, given that I have a distinct dislike for his voice. Also about something sinister happening during weddings (remember the snake falling in Omkara?).

  5. Good observation regarding Shahid Kapur’s voiceover and Priyanka Chopra’s acting. Even before I finished watching the movie, I was thinking of second viewing. You did not mention Vishal Bharadwaj’s Makdee, which is also a very good movie. Vishal Bharadwaj is not only a good director but also a very good script writer and the dialogues he wrote for Kaminey was one of the plus points of the movie.

  6. suparna

    and to turn the tables round and think of poor life ‘isko hum jo mile’.. is delicious stuff! tripping completely

  7. Good stuff! VB rocks:)

  8. Guy

    yes, vishal is a genius. great film

  9. So aptly put. Couldnt agree more. Loved every bit of the movie. When movies like these do well amidst a heap of otherwise crap stuff,I feel elated for bollywood.
    I have watched it twice. Gulzar rocks, VB rocks, hope we could clone them.
    A dialogue by priyanka chopra is still buzzing in my head. When shahid kapoor confronts him about her fake stammering act and feels shattered because of her lie, she replies “Mere har ek jooth ki niyat sachi thi’

    And can lyrics get better than pehli baar mohbaat ki hain …

  10. Aravind

    I havent seen the movie as yet. But i agree with ur list of movies that were good in the last 2 years except for Dev D which i felt was overhyped for a total crap.

  11. agree with Sudeep- the other movie I would add to your list is Johnny Gaddar- waiting for Shriram Raghavan’s next – liked both of his..
    Gulzar and VB-oof!!!! thank god- imagine- ‘ek di lse dosti thi..yeh huzoor bhi kaminey’- how do you do it Gulzar Sa’ab?

  12. Totally bad-ass movie! Definitely a cult movie :)

  13. mahesh

    Hi,

    I havent yet watched this film, but Omkara was a copy of english film O( odin),,,i happen to see this film in DVD by chance which i took from library in New Jersey,both me and my husband were like we have seen this scene,this scene somewhere, then we knew Omkara was taken from this, in the english movie, the plot happens in a college ( Devgan, vivek oberai and saif ) all 3 chars r part of a basket ball team,and the heroine is in the same college,her father is the college principal.He has adapted the screen play changing to a village/indian scene,( removed the college base,but kept the same characterisation),also lot of scenes r lifted from that movie.so im doubtful whether he lifted kamini also from some not so popular english movie.

  14. hi,

    i found kaminey to be a film with brilliant music, snazzy sequences, awesome performances, great dialogues and also technically superlative. however, i did get a sense that something was missing. in my view, it was the most disappointing film vishal bhardwaj has made (and i’m a huge fan of his – makdee, maqbool, omkara are all masterpieces). for one the structure of the film, the shots and it’s hit song as well, were reminiscent of quentin tarantino’s work. some degree of guy ritchie also thrown in for good measure. i think vishal bhardwaj’s greatest strength is his ability to tell a story well – in that he gets into nuances, plays, adapts, makes it real for the viewer. it’s like being transported into another time and space. somehow that didn’t happen with kaminey.

    i’m sure my disappointment also had something to do with the raving reviews i’d read and heard – huge expectations to start with. yet there seemed to me, that the pic could have had a stronger soul.