Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

Film review: Kaabil offers nothing that hasn’t been seen before in Bollywood

Kaabil is the story of two visually-impaired lovers, Rohan Bhatnagar (Roshan) and Supriya Sharma (Yami Gautam).
Hrithik Roshan in a scene from Kaabil. Courtesy B4U
Hrithik Roshan in a scene from Kaabil. Courtesy B4U

Kaabil

Director: Sanjay Gupta

Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy

Two stars

Bollywood fans already know that Hrithik Roshan can act; and overact, unless reined in by his director.

Roshan’s stronghold on his craft is abundantly visible in Kaabil too, which makes it all the more frustrating that the film’s director Sanjay Gupta and writers Sanjay Masoom and Vijay Kumar Mishra have given him a paper-thin plot, throttling all the potential that could have been used to elevate this film from a veritable snoozefest to somewhat appealing.

Kaabil is the story of two visually-impaired lovers, Rohan Bhatnagar (Roshan) and Supriya Sharma (Yami Gautam). They meet on a blind date (yawn, for that utterly predictable pun), set up by a mutual friend and end up falling in love almost immediately.

The first half of the movie is all about their fairytale romance, with every trope in Bollywood employed to establish how blissfully happy the couple is—they randomly break into song and dance and are often seen perched precariously on the ledge of an under-construction building, the fact that they’re supposed to be sightless and therefore more unlikely to do foolhardy things than regular couples, conveniently forgotten.

It is evident, early on, that Rohan and Supriya’s blindness was pencilled into the script as a public relations peg in a desperate attempt to make the film somewhat relevant, because there’s literally nothing else that sets it apart in any way.

The second half of the film tries to be grisly, but just leaves you looking at your watch impatiently.

Rohan and Supriya’s perfect little world is shattered when she is raped, and from then on, the film slips from clichés about romance to those about exacting revenge.

Hrithik rages and rants, and vows to destroy the two brothers Madhavrao and Amit Shellar, played by real-life siblings Ronit and Rohit Roy, responsible for it all.

There are a few predictable action sequences and the film draws to an equally predictable end.

You’d be willing to write Kaabil off as a missed opportunity and forget about it if it wasn’t for the galling misogyny that everyone involved with the film seems to be shockingly unaware of. At one point, after being raped, we see the victim comforting her husband as he skulks around feeling sorry for himself.

How is that supposed to be OK? And how are you supposed to muster any empathy for a “hero” who is so completely self-absorbed?

The one redeeming thing about Kaabil is Roshan, who really does try, desperately, to steer this sinking ship towards safer shores. But as the script is replete with terrible dialogues and feeble characters, Roshan’s earnestness never had a chance.

There’s nothing in Kaabil that you haven’t already seen in Bollywood.

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: January 26, 2017 04:00 AM

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