Sanjay Gupta has a penchant for recycling the old. His movies are severely lacking in originality, as Gupta generously borrows plots from the west to fulfill his creative aspirations. With ‘Kaabil’, Gupta doesn’t necessarily look abroad, but he ventures into the forbidden archives of Bollywood’s well forgotten past.
‘Kaabil’ has an outdated premise. A happy, near-perfect couple, blind and oblivious to the ills of the world, are brutally wronged by a couple of vile hoodlums. The protagonist, Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan) then sets on his path to deliver retribution on the wrong doers. This isn’t justice as much as it is vengeance. The tricks deployed are often preposterous, but I reckon that’s the point. Entertaining at first, the primary tact tends to get tediously repetitive.
If the approach taken by Hrithik is outlandish, his ‘Superman’ demeanor is outrageously laughable. He is repeatedly thrashed out of his wits, yet seems to muster strength to defeat his physically capable enemies. The poor digitised backgrounds add to the tackiness of the screenplay, reinforcing the thought that the producers did pinch their pockets while making this movie. To make matters worse, the hideously average songs burden the narrative. Their timing leaves much to be desired.
Kaabil’s first half is slow, plagued with cringe worthy dialogues. The romance showcased is perfect to the T, which is far from plausible in reality. But, all is not bad in this far from perfect film. As things go south for the couple, the film ascends into becoming an entertaining B movie. Hrithik’s acting goes from being cartoonish to wounded beyond belief, almost in an instant. He demonstrates strength, vulnerability, fear and determination in large quantities. The tension begins to mount, as he systematically plots his moves. The scene at the police station, where he declares his intent to the cops is noteworthy.
The other power performer is Ronit Roy. Unjustly provided with a stereotypical role, Roy breathes villainy like a boss. The man enthuses a deadly calm and wild ferocity, scorching the scene with evil at every instance.
‘Kaabil’ is an average film. Maybe even a bad one. But, certain aspects of the cinematography combined with exceptional performances from the protagonist and antagonist make it watchable. This is one of Hrithik’s best performances till date, if not the best performance of his career thus far.