Ever seen an Indian movie, especially that in Bollywood, with no extra masala, over the top action scenes, and irrelevant logic, but simplicity and sweetness in just the right degree? Joking, right? Well, we won’t blame you, but when you watch Karwaan, you leave the hall with a huge smile on your face and pleasant memories from a wacky road trip essayed on screen.
The Plot Sketch:
Avinash[Dulquer Salman], an IT snob almost fed up with his ‘perfect middle class job’, gets an unexpected break to his mundane life when a call from a travel agency informs him of his father’s untimely death in the Himalyan region while on a pilgrimage. To add further to his woes, the travel agency does a goofup and swaps the bodies with an old lady, his father’s body now repatriated to Kochi.
Taking help of his quirky but street smart acquaintance Shaukat [Irrfan Khan], who also runs a local garage, Avinash sets out to Kochi to get back his father’s corpse. En route, he has to pick up the client’s granddaughter, Tanya [Mithila Palkar], as a favor in return. How the three get enlightened in this trip, is what forms the crux of the movie.
Given that the maker has a mixed profile, Akarsh Khurana impresses a lot in his official debut as a commercial film director. With sleek cinematography, followed up by a crisp screenplay and impressive content, Akarsh manages to convey deep messages in the simplest and funniest ways. Never did the philosophy of not being overawed by the death seemed so funny and easy to follow, as portrayed by Irrfan.
Another impressive fact about Karwaan is the debutant actor, Dulquer Salmaan. For once, we found it hard to believe that he is a veteran in Southern cinema, and the illustrious son of the Malayali superstar, Mammootty.
The ease with which he slips into the character of Avinash Rajpurohit is something very few actors can do on debut. Even Mithila Palkar, a web series regular and an accomplished Marathi actress, impresses in her screen debut as the uber cool, modern Tanya, who undergoes a significant transformation as the trip progresses.
The best part about Karwaan is without any doubt, Irrfan Khan. With a sharp, caustic wit, and a ‘devil may care attitude’, Irrfan stands out as the most outstanding performer with his quirky character of Shaukat. Without indulging in any stereotype Bollywood is way too notorious for, Irrfan anchors this ship very well, almost entirely on his own shoulders. He not only rejuvenates Avinash, but also inspires him to explore the unknown.
Another awesome fact about Karwaan is the soundtrack of this movie. Most of the songs are offbeat, chirpy, even wacky to an extent, and that is a refreshing relief in itself, after the audience had to endure nonsense like the remakes of ‘Zingaat’, ‘Ek Do Teen’ etc. Be it the evergreen ‘Chhota Sa Fasana’, or the hilarious ‘Dhai Kilo Bakwaas’, each song has its own unique charm.
Apart from the music, the cinematography is the cherry on top, as one is compelled to be enchanted by the picturesque scenes of Southern India, especially the state of Kerala. If only the social ecosystem of this state was that beautiful.
What could’ve been Better:
What refrained Karwaan from becoming a masterpiece were a few pacing issues, and the cameos of Kriti Kharbanda and Amala Akkineni. Though they didn’t seem bad, this could’ve been done without.
Overall, Karwaan is a welcome relief from the biased propaganda and the clichéd formulas served to us in the name of entertainment. It may not be the best of Bollywood, but certainly it is not the run of a mill Bollywood masala. Do give it a try. I’d go with 4 out of 5 stars.