KEDARNATH: a tepid cinematic pilgrim

Kedarnath is a typical star-crossed love story set amidst the 2013 Kedarnath Floods scripted by Kanika Dhillon. While Kanika’s previous venture Manmarziyaan (2018) was a revamp of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), here she damps the template of Titanic (1997). From religious, class and generational divide everything is at stake in not-so-stale venture, Abhishek Kapoor directs with utter conviction. “I don’t just drink raindrops; I drink the whole sky”, exclaims a character where water plays an important motif with every soul washed and drenched in religious ramification. Nevertheless, the self-aware film has a downpour of defining a disaster; and the Indian setting blemishes upon the curse of “man-made disaster” on love (for nature, is it?). Much aware of the present religious and political situation, it’s written in a convenient secular dynamic in-sync with Kedarnath’s context.

Kedarnath is a devotee of 70s-80s Indian Cinema where a selfless Muslim Pithoo, Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) and rebellious daughter of Pandit, Mukku aka Mandakini (Sara Ali Khan) fall in love nearing the floods. Screenplay by Kanika Dhillon follows the evergreen old school narrative tried-and-tested numerously alike the footfall of pilgrims at Kedarnath. Let’s call it as a boon of James Cameron’s Titanic, at least, the filmmakers built the conscientious nature without bothering about the template. Hence, there’s a religious and cultural conscience which act as a solid substance but end up being a mere rock. The clichéd Hindu-Muslim star-crossed love story takes time to settle-in and doesn’t spark any intensity to invest (the real investment lies in the performances) the heart.
A boon in terms of the atmospheric setting and duration (120 minutes), while Abhishek Kapoor is one director to look forward in terms of consistency of characterisation. Though he surmounts the barriers of clichés, the distinctive tonality is blessed in a damp like the characters. Tushar Kanti Ray’s spectacular Cinematography evokes the atmospheric neutrality. Set against the soothing natural green and the silveriness of the temple, the colour palette adds fierce element as well as the coldness of the outbreak. However, it’s cursed by tacky VFX degrading the breath-taking shots of Tushar Kanti Ray. Amit Trivedi’s soundtrack definitely stands alone but doesn’t characterise the soul of Kedarnath like Abhishek Kapoor’s collaboration Fitoor (2016). Instead, Background Score by Hitesh Sonik evokes emotional edge, binding during the floods.

Upheld by performances, Sushant Singh Rajput lends a sobriety but doesn’t add anything new. Sara Ali Khan reminds of her Mother Amrita Singh from Chameli Ki Shaadi (1986) and debuts with a fierce performance. Since, Kedarnath lacks the clarity and integrity of Abhishek Kapoor’s Rock On (2008) and Kai Po Che (2013) in terms of performances, none of the performances add gravitas here.

Kedarnath is a wet yet watchable film. A damp Titanic-template ends better than expected but cursed with an aftermath of a tepid watch. “Love is a cinematic pilgrimage where Prakop (Outbreak) and Pralay (Flood) are at stake.”

Language: Hindi
Release: 07 December, 2018
Rating: 2.5/5

Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.


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