Producer: R. Prabhu Kumar
Production Co: Sri Shirdi Sai Baba
Music Director: Arun Choudary
Cast: Rachana Narayanankutty, DJ Sekhar Menon, Rajshri Nair, Subiksha, Sreejith Ravi, Manav, Balaji
‘Kaanthaari’ has a story that is decrepit, and which has already been told in manifold forms. Falling apart right from the start and heading towards doom, here is a film where logic and sensibilities totally go for a toss.
Rani (Rachana Narayanankutty) is an orphan who has been raised by three prostitutes who are way past their prime. She finds it difficult to uphold her modesty in a society that almost expects her to have shed it already, given the upbringing that she has had.
Trying hard to make both ends meet, Rani takes to thieving, along with her buddy Oola (Sreejith Ravi). Her wayward ways catch the fancy of Aamir (Shekhar Menon), an obese man with an orthopedic ailment that will shortly have him bedridden for the rest of his life.
The first half of the film dedicates itself entirely to depict the trauma that a helpless girl of Rani’s age is exposed to, and it starts with the head master of her school lustfully eying her. She then is offered a dinner by her boss at a telephone booth, but for a price. She is pawed by an auto rickshaw driver and later by a dhaba owner, which transforms her from an innocent lass into a nut that is real tough to crack.
There is also a parallel tale that talks of how girls are exploited in the technological age, and it eventually leads to murder and nothing less. The second half is more of an explanation to the murder, though the film as it is, certainly does not qualify as a murder mystery or a thriller.
The been-there-seen-that feeling that ‘Kaanthaari’ exudes throughout, proves to be the real reason behind its undoing. There is very little that is unfamiliar in it, and even in that which is familiar, there is little that holds your interest.
It is extremely funny to see the climax trying to be a finale that is emotionally charged, when in fact it turns out to be exactly the opposite. ‘Kaanthaari’ leaves several logical questions in its wake, and the climax is riddled with them.
There are bound to be spoilers ahead, so the enthusiastic viewer who wants to watch ‘Kaanthaari’ on the screen should quit reading this right now. Rani, much to her dismay, realizes that Aamir has left for Dubai, and distraught, she heads for the park where they used to meet. Aamir, who has not reached the airport as yet is having a coffee at the park.
Rani sees him, only to see his car speed away without having noticed. In true 70’s Bollywood style she calls out his name and frantically runs after the car, in one last bid to let him know that she is still around, waiting for him. Phew!! Ever heard of cell phones and phone numbers, anyone
Rachana Narayanankutty hams it up in the title role, and in the climax takes the drama a bit too seriously, with her expressions bordering on the melodramatic. Sreejith Ravi is no less loud and does not much impress. The only sensible performance in the lot, comes from Shekhar Menon, who brings in a bit of mellowness to the otherwise theatrical proceedings.
‘Kaanthaari’ delivers none of the sizzling hotness that it had promised.It is an extremely mundane tale that is told in a slipshod manner, that has tears running down from your eyes, but for all the wrong reasons.
1.5 out of 5 (Below Average, A Few Good Parts) 1.5 out of 5 (Below Average, A Few Good Parts)