The last Sanjay Gupta movie, 'Jazbaa', failed to impress. The last Hrithik Roshan movie, 'Mohenjo Daro', became a new bench mark for poor box office performances for the year. So when these two team up, the excitement level may not be the highest. However, the first official trailer tries its damndest to get us into it.
Check out the trailer for 'Kaabil' and read on for how it will disappoint you.
So, 'Kaabil' looks like the story of a blind man named Rohan, (Hrithik Roshan) having to avenge the murder of his wife Sue (Yami Gautam) who is also blind. Talk about Spoilers.
The first half of the Trailer seems to focus on their love story, and it feels like the movie will also spend a bit of time developing their relationship as well, given the amount of scenes shown. So it feels like a waste to give away how that relationship ends, in the synopsis alone. Takes away any emotional connection the audience may have developed for an on-screen relationship, when you already know it will end tragically.
The rest of the Trailer vaguely shows Rohan vowing revenge while cordially speaking to someone (presumably Ronit Roy's character) about law and order. The respectful speech to someone who may be the main villain, may come off as unusual or ominious, but it doesn't have the impact that I feel the makers thought it was going to. Now, here is the problem with most Bollywood revenge stories: they're underdeveloped.
The main reason with which the hero embarks on a glorified crusade of moral vengeance, almost never has any bearing in reality. And the decision for revenge is almost always either too quick, (hero vows revenge over dead body of loved one) or a ridiculous long term plan hinging on obscure coincidences. (hero spends entire childhood and adolescence searching for revenge by becoming a criminal, then falls in love with a girl who happens to be the daughter of the man who murdered his *insert loved one here* who takes the hero's side in killing her father when she finds out, all so he can have his revenge after 30 years of murderous rage, but still live happily ever after with a girl just as crazy as him.)
Add to this that the emotional motivation of seeking revenge is always skin deep, without any depiction of the complex emotions a character must go through in those situations. Purely an eye-for-an-eye logic at work with a by the numbers execution.
'Kaabil' comes across as the same sort of harebrained revenge scheme. The title literally translates to 'capable', clearly pointing to Rohan's disability as a blind man in the movie. So the premise of the film is about his somehow finding the people responsible for his lover's death, overcoming his disability by sheer will (because eye-muscles) and being able to punish the ones responsible. Again, somehow.
It feels like a poorly developed story from a director known for poorly making movies. Director Sanjay Gupta is no stranger to revenge stories. He's adapted Park Chan-wook's South Korean thriller 'Oldboy' into his own 'Zinda' with mixed results. While his films look good, and are shot well, Gupta always puts the stylistic elements of the movie, over the story and performances. His films over-indulge themselves and every aspect of his filmmaking process is done to excess without consideration of a larger picture. 'Kaabil' seems like no exception.
For a trailer to give us an idea of the story, there is no indication of how Rohan will achieve or even plans to go forward with his revenge plot. We're not even sure who or what killed Sue, except for the menacing state-into-the-camera shot of Ronit Roy adorned with contact lenses. Who may be the entire reason to even watch this movie in the first place.
While he's always played grey characters or all out antagonist, Ronit Roy teams with his real life brother Rohit Roy for 'Kaabil', and that really is the only family element behind the scenes of this movie that I am interested in.
Hrithik Roshan was one heralded as the second coming when it came to Bollywood actors. Nowadays though it seems his performances have become very two dimensional. Roshan seems to have two modes: deep voiced conventional muscle bound hero or high pitched child like expressions attempting a character that is meant to be relatable to audiences and everyday people. And that's what we get here.
'Kaabil' could end up being a complete surprise and pull off excellent performances from both Roshan and Gupta as a director. However the trailer removes any hope of a movie that may be a gritty and grounded revenge flick. While elements of the scenes do show the best of Roshan's charm, and even show a glimmer of this role being different than what we're used to, it's hard to overcome the pattern established by Gupta.
I will watch 'Kaabil' very cautiously, and hopefully it'll make me eat my words. But until then... I'm still cringing over that forced monologue in the end of the trailer.
'Kaabil' releases January 26th, 2017.
Are you as jaded as me when it comes to Hrithik Roshan and 'Kaabil'?