Kadakh Movie Review: Rajat Kapoor Serves an Engaging, Well-Performed Black Comedy With a Hitchcockian Flair

Kadakh Movie Review: A married couple, Sunil (Ranvir Shorey) and Malti (Mansi Multani), are hosting a Diwali party in their flat (Ah, the good ol’ pre-Corona days!). While the wife is out shopping, the husband receives an unexpected visitor at his home in Raghav (Chandrachoor Rai). And before he can bat an eyelid, there is a dead body in their house. Now the couple has to take care that it remains hidden, while their flat becomes more and more crowded with their invited (and a few uninvited) guests. That, in a nutshell, is the premise of Kadakh, that has premiered on SonyLIV. Raveena Tandon, Prakash Raj, Ranvir Shorey, Shekhar Kapur & Others Talk About Nepotism In Bollywood.

Kadakh marks the return of Rajat Kapoor as a director. Kapoor, who had also found himself embroiled during the #MeToo outrage of 2018, had a quiet past year, appearing in two series, ALTBalaji’s Code M, and the Bangla series Shobdo Jobdo. Kadakh itself found a delayed release thanks to to controversy, as it was complete in 2018 but now it finds its way to the small screen in 2020.

If you are familiar with Kapoor’s directorials, you know that the he loves to choose unconventional but relatable premises for his films. Most of them are comedies, not the LOL ones, and a few of them, like Mithya, Ragho Romeo and Aankhon Dekhi, have received acclaim. Kadakh is almost in that league, and a couple more watchings, maybe I could fit it right there.

Even if you disagree, you have to admit that Kadakh offers a killer opening sequence, perhaps the best in Hindi cinema this year. Ranvir and Chandrachoor, especially the latter, are fantastic in the sequence, and the buildup to something shocking is just amazing. When the wife arrives, the husband manipulates her in not informing the police and in hiding the body in their house. With the arrival of their friends, matters become complicated and we are totally hooked up by now.

Watch The Trailer of Kadakh:

It helps that these friends characters bring individual flair to the setting, but all together becomes one humongously annoying entity at the party. There is Yogesh (Cyrus Sahukar), a motivational speaker and his wife Alka (Shruti Seth), who occasionally gets hyper. We have Rahul (the director himself), who is to be a first-time author, and his supportive wife Sheetal (Tara Sharma Saluja). There are also their recently divorced friend Joshi (Sagar Deshmukh), and Paro (Nupur Asthana), a single mother. Shruti Seth Birthday Special: Photos Which Prove That the Actress’ Fashionable ‘Shararat’ Is All About Elegance and Comfort.

As the numbers in the party increase, the couple also have surprise guests, like Malti’s relatives (Manoj Pahwa and Yamini Das) and Joshi’s French friend Francoise (Kalki Koechlin), who has a strange skill-set. The one unexpected guest that troubles Sunil is Chaaya (Palomi Ghosh), who has a connection with the dead body in their home.

The dead body setting actually reminded me of the late Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 thriller, Rope, where two friends hide a corpse in their house and hold a party their to have the perfect crime. In Kadakh, the circumstances that lead to the hiding are unintentional as all Sunil and Malti wanted was a night of mutton biryani and gossip, and nothing to do with a hatching a perfect crime. And to our incredulity, the night becomes almost like what they want, with a broken Vietnamese vase bringing the most tense moment in the party.

As he allows his characters all out loose, Kapoor, who has also written the movie, wraps our attention tightly to what’s happening and who is talking to whom. The party setting feels a lot more relatable, and the conversations could bring a smile to your face. Fights happens – an innocuous comment by Joshi leads to a character having a near-breakdown. The know-it-all, pompous Yogesh is someone we definitely have in our fold. My favourite party conversation moments revolve around Rahul and his attempts to defend his book. As a (failed) author myself, I found myself laughing out at those scenes, especially the one conversation with Yogesh.

Kapoor, who is also a theatre veteran, borrows the framework of the field and lets the characters dictate the scenario. He makes the camera (cinematography by Rafey Mahmood) an invisible guest in the house, just observing the houseguests, as they flit in and out of the frame. All the actors are terrific and fit easily into their roles, and I can’t think of anyone who stands out. Also a special note to the production design (Meenal Agarwal) for making the couple’s flat, a character of its own.

The arrival of the new guests spices things up, and yet the more the crowd, things also begin to feel slacker. There are couple of terse moments, though. Like the poker game where Sunil, who is becoming more erratic, is taunted by the dead man’s hallucination. Or the brief thrilling moment when Francoise reveals herself to be a mentalist.

There are still a couple of matters that did bother me, like why was Chaaya spending her night at the party instead of attending a really urgent matter in her household. I may have missed the finer detail there, but I am also not sure how Malti stumbles upon her husband’s secret. The climax returns the film to form, though, with its black humour flourishes, unexpected revelations and predictable outbursts.

Yay!

– The Setting

– The Characters and Performances

– The Terrific Opening Sequence

Nay!

– A Little Slack in Second Half

– A Couple of Grey Areas In The Narrative

Final Thoughts

With Kadakh, Rajat Kapoor does a fabulous job of creating a compelling drama, laced with black humour and natural performances, within its minimal setting. You can watch Kadakh on SonyLIV.

(The above story first appeared on Report Door on Jun 18, 2020 10:12 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website reportdoor.com).