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Movie with Shane: Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh 

Let me confess, after the very talented Sridevi, an actor that has ever impressed me, has been Vidya Balan- versatile, talented and caring a crap about the zero waistline figures. Balan went on to shove into silence every critic that said she would never make it in tinsel town and literally carried entire projects on her ‘bare shoulders’ a la, The Dirty Picture.

The Kahaani saga lived to tell another tale and not one had anything to point out in her flawless acting and sweeping end-of-thriller-film-scene.

And now there is Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh, aka Vidya Sinha. I must apologize to those real-diehard fans, not because this review may show Vidya in poor light but because one must realize the choices one makes when it comes to serious cinema-or else just stick to dancing around the trees!

Director Sujoy Ghosh in his excitement forgets one basic and vital piece, that serious cinema goers are not to be taken for granted, they must be ‘shocked into the climax’ so that when critics like us walk out, we have that constant gnawing, obliging us to say, ‘now that’s what one calls intelligent cinema’.

I will not deny that I loved the story idea, absolutely to bits, child abuse and the dreadful silence that shrouds an individual like a death pall. Mini (Naisha Singh) bears the worst of it shared by Durga (Balan), her friend, companion and soon to be adopted mother (by choice or otherwise).

In Durga’s anticipation, in her hesitation, in her tensed sexual intimate moments, she closes as much as she opens; so when the perpetrator of an uncle (Mini’s chachu) Jugal Hansraj, plays with Durga’s fears, he actually invites us into her dark world she has thrust deep down. This has been unintelligibly ignored by Sujoy. Perhaps it would have added flavor to the essence of the story.

A wounded tigress will only attack when her cub is in danger, yet here the tigress Durga is reduced to a mere cat when a typical hit-and-run vehicle just knocks her and zooms off.

While Durga lies in an in the first half of the film, the plot unfolds through her diary entries through the being of Sub-Inspector Inderjit Singh (Arjun Rampal), a recently failed Lalbazaar aspirant now transferred to small town Chandan Nagar due to an unsuccessful ‘gut feeling’; Sujoy’s smartly packed move to bring the film, characters, plot and movements into perspective is commendable.

As the film moves from Kalipmong, where Durga works in school as a secretary through Chandan Nagar, where she dons a new identity as Vidya Sinha a government office employee, and Kolkata, the plot begins to gain momentum. Who is Durga and what caused her transformation to Vidya?

The circumstances are self-explanatory, but this is where Sujoy has actually fallen way short of expectations. Why did he have to mention that Durga and Indrajit’s child marriage? What failed it? Why could Sujoy not explore this angle and build in the tension.

What about Durga’s boyfriend from Kalimpong that just went off to London? He could have been the perfect pivot on which the climax could have hinged. The lady-cop from the hills, being popped off by Hansraj is such a waste- Durga would have done a better job!

Well, there is Kahaani 2 and then there is Kahaani. Sujoy should have known that that the critics and review fraternity were bound to compare them both, he should have been alert, prepared and not so predictable.

Balan carries the film, in perfect sync with Rampal, Hansraj and our loveable inspector Haldar (Kharaj Mukherjee). I love the way each character has been fleshed out and all I could say, “Bidya, aye Bidya, suno toh. Hamara ghar mein ek aat saal ka meye hai.”

Thanks for the much needed eye-opener on several other surviving and bruised yet inconsolable Minis.

Rating: 3.5/5

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