Movie Review: 'Kahaani' - Extraordinary Tale, Brilliantly Told

Movie Review: 'Kahaani' - Extraordinary Tale, Brilliantly Told

Anitha S
Daijiworld Media Network - Entertainment
Rating: 4/5

Mangalore, Mar 12: Once in a while comes a film that leaves you truly breathless, one that keeps you thinking and brooding over it for hours together after it has ended. Director Sujoy Ghosh's 'Kahaani', starring Vidya Balan and a host of stunning actors, is one such.

The movie arrests you right from the word go, and if at the end you find your popcorn and Pepsi hardly tasted, you have only the director and Vidya to blame. 'Phenomenal' is perhaps the right word to describe the movie in all aspects - performances, script, cinematography, music, screenplay and everything else - the movie for me scores a ten-on-ten.


The problem (if you can call it so) with reviewing 'Kahaani' is that any description of the story may turn out to be a spoiler. The script is so well and tightly knit, like a branded sweater, that you can hardly point out any visible loophole. The highly unpredictable thriller narrates the story of Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), who lands in Kolkata from London in search of her missing husband. She is heavily pregnant, which wins her compasssion wherever she goes, especially from Rana (Parambrata Chattopadhyay), a young and upright policeman who helps her in her search.

Vidya learns that another man, Milan Dambji, a former employee in the National Data Centre (NDC) who is wanted for killing hundreds of passengers in the Kolkata Metro two years ago, resembles her husband Arnab Bagchi. One clue leads to another, and after a series of threats, killings and scary heart-in-the-mouth scenes, you finally come face-to-face with the truth, which of course, I cannot reveal here.

The scary part, for me, was the role played by Saswata Chatterjee, as Bob Biswas the serial killer. An unassuming character, the insurance agent is a nightmare, in the sense that he truly scares the hell out of you with his smile and his uncanny knack of appearing out of the blue.

Perhaps the only weak point in the movie was the 'moment of epiphany' for Rana, when realization finally dawns on him. If only Ghosh could have chosen something else (sorry, cannot reveal that either) as the clue to the mystery, the film would have been almost perfect. Of course, there are a few other negligible flaws too, like a cop breaking open an old-fashioned heavy padlock with a teeny hairpin, or the climax that may leave you disappointed with the hyped image of Milan Damji, but then, you can easily excuse them, for the movie more than makes up with its thriller ride.

The Movie

Kolkata has been captured beautifully, with all its colours, its vibrant population and its break-neck urban speed. Indeed, full marks to the cinematography. The screen play ensures that there's never a dull moment, so you are engrossed all through. A couple of scenes may even make you jump in your seat.

The music gels well with the movie, and the background score 'Ekla Cholo' sung by Amitabh Bachchan is haunting. The Durga Puja sequence, so much a part of Bengali-based movies in Hindi, is awesome and builds up the suspense.

One of the things that makes the movie even better is the director's attention to little details. Everything is planned and worked out elaborately, including small things like a peacock showpiece near the guest house lift or repetition of the first name in a conversation. There is a generous dose of humour too, the best of them being the 'running water' supply (or supplier, rather) in the guest house.


Vidya Balan, of course, takes the cake. She is truly phenomenal, and doesn't for a second give away even a hint of the truth. Her powerful performance overwhelms you right through. For sure, in Vidya Balan the Indian film industry has found one of its finest actresses.

Parambrata Chattopadhyay as Rana is adorable and sweet, and makes you laugh at times. His subtle performance wins your heart, even as you feel a pity for the love-struck cop. But then you can't help but wonder, which policeman would leave his duty to help one woman, day in and day out, and where in the world does he get so much time?

Saswata Chatterjee, as already mentioned, is haunting in the role of Bob Biswas. He moves like a spirit, appearing out of the blue when you least expect him. There is kind of inexplicable terror attached to his image, and no doubt, he does full justice to it.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Khan, the no-nonsense intelligence officer does fantastic job too. He is menacing, though at times screams too much for your comfort.


There can be only one verdict for this movie - don't miss it.


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Comment on this article

  • mukesh, bangalore

    Sat, Mar 31 2012

    Loved the last line - verdict.

    my 2 cents on the movie..

    DisAgree [1] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Mar 20 2012


    DisAgree [2] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Priyanka, Delhi

    Thu, Mar 15 2012

    Superb, brilliant and extraordinary. Vidya has surpassed all the expectations created by her earlier movie the Dirty Picture. I watched both the movies at Wave Cinemas and what a wonderful experience was it. I will give it 4.5 because every other day she is making better movies. So if I give it 5 what rating will I give her next movie?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Kusuma Kumari G, Nellore/Kodyadka

    Wed, Mar 14 2012

    A beautiful movie A must watch movie Very nicely narrated I love this movie Vidya balan desereves all appllaudes for her stunning performance Great actor indeed!

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  • william, mangalore

    Wed, Mar 14 2012

    Watched a fantastic movie after a very long time.Vidya a copy of Smita Patil was superb. Hats off to all and sundry for this movie .WE WANT MORRRRRRRR

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jigmig, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 14 2012

    I see Smitha Patil in Vidya. Vidya you rock like old actors. Whom I really love to watch. You bring back the beauty of old movies.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • stephen, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 14 2012

    A very good movie after a long time...Nice performance vidya(Bidya).
    @Nkumar and @ayesha.. Please watch the movie again and enjoy it.The director has suceeded in creating a doubt about the carrier of the bomb.. it is not the boy who actually carries it... any how i wont reveal it..enjoy..

    DisAgree [7] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dr Kusuma Kumari G , Nellore

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    Bidya Balan has acted very well in this movie a thriller and good mvie till the end

    DisAgree [6] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Antony, Mangalore/Dubai

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    @ N Kumar please for God sake will you stop saying full story of Movie here , We also wanted to go n watch now whats the point in going ? for your kind information there is no movies without any flaws and its not reality its a movie pure drama

    DisAgree [5] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse


    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    Movie is really very fantastic and mind blowing story and vidya's acting is really very very marvelous. Actually she is wonderfull actress and act a single single scene in this way like it is happens in a reality. I would like to say vidya ji you are a great actress and me and my husband both are a big fan of yours you always achive every hight of in your life...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • joboy, mlore/dubai

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    After a pretty long time got to see something watchable in bollywood...go for really cooks suspicions in mind...throughout

    DisAgree [5] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • aika csr, gwalior

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    Simply superb movie must watch 180 degree variation from dirty picture to kahaani only vidhya baalan can do.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mahesh kumar, Ghaziabad

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    Film is very good i think everyone must watch this movie
    vidya is superrrrrrr

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Samba, USA

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    NKumar, Chennai:

    1. Good point. The boy might have been just curious about the bottle and was trying to hide it.

    2. The terrorist just gave it a shot. Terrorist acts are mostly a chance. Not a surefire plan.

    3. and 4. There is nothing to dispute it. Terrorists kill mercilessly. Here, Bhaskaran (IB head) didn't want to leave a trail otherwise, he may be caught.

    5. I think, Khan, after discussing in detail about Rana's help to Vidya when Rana went to NDC to enquire about Milan, decided to use her to get to Milan.

    6. Excellent point!

    7. It is silly but don't question the power of technology :-)

    How about the following:

    1. Vidya claims she asked/sent her husband, Arup, to the assignment. Is Vidya also an IB agent? Is Arup one of the three guys trained by that retired IB officer?

    2. How come Khan doesn't even know the official name of Rana when that name is on the nameplate of the officer? Khan asks Rana about the name on the envelope in the climax.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • janardhan, mangalore

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    No Superstars..Zero skin show, no item songs, but a whole lot of substance….

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Trishna, Bangalore

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    Kahaani is really an awesome thriller. Bidya aka Vidya is @ her best, she simply steals the show n covers few loopholes in the movie. One of a kind after "A wednesday"! Glad I didn't miss it, you 2 better not!

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  • Ayesha, Mangalore

    Tue, Mar 13 2012

    N is an answer to your questions, which are really thought provoking and valid:

    1 & 2. Yes, the terrorist cannot be certain that the boy's friends would try to grab his bag....but it can also happen that all the boys were acting as per his instructions...the terrorist may have told the boys to act out a scuffle, to make it look natural - a boys' fight which nobody would bother about. True, he could have just told the boy to spill it...but the mere fact that he uses a chemical weapon instead of a bomb shows the cunning mind of the killer. How he gave him the bag is not important to the story.

    3. To the NDC the name of Milan Damji is a dangerous one, and they will not take any chances with it. It may look extreme to kill an innocent lady, but the mastermind here wanted to protect himself at all costs, and one who can kill a hundred on a train will not mind killing another handful.

    4. As to the doctor - thats the point - the records may or may not have already been destroyed, but the doctor can always reveal personal or other details about the patient which may not be in the official records...naturally the killer wont take such a chance.

    5. Milan went into hiding and no one looked for him until Vidya came on naturally the bad guys got alerted and anxious...

    6. Vidya is not a professional in her work...she's only made that way by guidance...she did not expect any real threat to her life, but when she did encounter it, she was obviously scared. Any woman who just missed death, and with her potential killer in front of her, would run away, especially when not prepared to meet the situation.

    7. Thats a technical detail which can be easily forgiven..and anyway, mobile phones can also be tapped, so he would have got the info anyway. So perhaps it was just a time-saver.

    DisAgree [9] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Recommended to movie lovers. Excelleint handling. Direction and cinematography.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • sree, bangalore

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    A very nice suspense thriller movie!! Vidya's performance is very good. Also, liked Nawazuddin Siddiqui performance as Khan. A must watch...

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nkumar, Chennai

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Ok... The whole country is raving about it...already...It’s a good thriller alright, but by no means perfect…
    But one dissenting voice ..just to point out a few mistakes that stand out as plot holes really..
    1. Who is this school boy with a bag clutched to his chest in metro?…WHY does he clutch it?..Does he know what it contains? Who gave him the deadly contents…Terrorist? How?
    2. The boy is reluctant to open the bag..Only his friends try to wrest it from him and then it spills the evil beans…What if the friends had not made a hungama about the bag?..How could the terrorist be so sure? How can THIS be a Terrorist’s surefire plan?
    3. How can just accessing a computer file of HR department of a known ex-staffer in the dept ( Milan) by a HR officer lady become so fatal to her..What could she have done with the resemblance factor to Vidya’s husband?...Why would the villains kill her..the HR file surely had no present address of the missing/hiding terrorist of 2 years hiding…Kill her, just like that?
    4. Same goes for Doctor who treated the patient with a rare blood group..This was already an evidence and why would a doctor pay with his life for an existing record..Ideally it should have been destroyed much earlier by the so called careful cunning villains!
    5. It looked like every bad guy involved seems to be waking up AFTER Vidya balan comes to Kolkata and suddenly there is a frenzy of murders , even though they had no knowledge that she will uncover everything by knowing just Milan...It was as if the Directors had already leaked the ending to the villains and they were all working towards it!
    6. Why would Vidya run out like a frightened chicken after the assassin threatens to push her in the Metro stn?. If she is `really what she was ‘as shown in the end?
    7. Silly one: Vidya gets a call on cell phone and a police officer overhears that conversation using a landline telephone ( in parallel?) set kept next to her..Are Kolkata telephones so advanced?

    DisAgree [10] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Akshay Pimpalnerkar, Pune

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Watched 'Kahaani' . . .Amazing movie. . .mystery continues throughout till the end. . . .must watch. . . :-)

    DisAgree [5] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • amrit, BLR

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    outstanding performance by all... great movie... can't believe a Bollywood movie would be so well scripted..... awesome performance by vidya....

    DisAgree [5] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Gerald, modankap-bantval

    Mon, Mar 12 2012


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  • srinivas, kochi

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    outstanding movie which leaves u breathless. coming of age of hindi cinema. powerful performances coupled with edge of the seat pace make it a must watch. dont miss it for anything and choose a good theatre to watch it.vidya rocks. hope other female actors take some inspiration from her performance. class always stands out.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • priya, bangalore

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    movie is different n interesting. good to watch.i liked p.chaterjee cute guy n good acting.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lancelot N Tauro, Manglore - Doha Qatar

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Awesome, extraodinary superb movie Ami sotti bol chi. must watch. Paisa Wasool.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Waoo Vidya, Great Job....!!Only two Celebrity of Bollywood who can acts lively, One Aamir Khan n the second, I prefered telling her the lead role, Vidya Balan...., who never disappointed audience...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • melita , melita

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    the kahanni is very nice movie and it has gone hit i cinema i love it the she will break and awards for
    kahanni bye

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jude, Mangalore Dubai

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Mr. Rajneesh, I am confused here. You say that watching this movie is waste of time whereas all others are praising it. Could you let me know at least 3 of the best recent hindi movies that you have watched?. That will let me know your taste and to decide whether to go for it or not.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajneesh, Mlore/Qatar

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    The movie is total Waste of time and money. Guys dont watch.

    DisAgree [69] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse


    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Paa, Ishqiya, Dirty picture and now Kahaani, I'm now a big fan of Vidya!! This movie is awesome. Vidya is really becoming a super actress by her acting and choice of her films. Vidya rocks!!!

    DisAgree [12] Agree [53] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nithin K., Panambur, Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    A must watch movie........

    DisAgree [12] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • KRPrabhu, Kudla/Bengaluru

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    Really,the movie 'Kahani'is superb.The Kolkatta's old streets,shots are simply marvelous.Kudos to Vidya Balan for super action.Every role is well done.One must see this movie.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Pradeep Verma, hisar

    Mon, Mar 12 2012

    This movie is awsome.......I would like to say Special Thanks to Vidya Balan ji......

    DisAgree [11] Agree [48] Reply Report Abuse

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