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Kedarnath Movie Review: Sushant, Sara’s Breezy Love in the Times of Tragedy

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Kedarnath
Cast: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sara Ali Khan
Director: Abhishek Kapoor

A pilgrimage to Kedarnath in June, 2013, turned out to be the last trip for thousands of people. One of the most devastating disasters of this decade left the world stunned and buried in immeasurable grief. Director Abhishek Kapoor (Rock On, Kai Po Che) chooses this historic catastrophe as the background of his latest film Kedarnath, and immediately faces the most obvious challenge—how to believably recreate the natural calamity in its entirety?

So he decides to tackle it late in the movie, and in the process, becomes heavily dependent on performances, making the build-up and the climax predictable.
In Kedarnath, Mansoor Khan (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a porter (piththoo in Hindi). Well aware of the local geography and religious customs, he doesn’t refrain from shouting Lord Shiva’s name on top of his lungs. Though he believes his work is a way to serve the almighty, he doesn’t hide religious identity while at it.

Watch: Video Review of Kedarnath

Kullu (Nishant Dahiya) is the representative of the local priests. Hot-headed and young, he understands the social dynamics that is tilted in favour of the Hindus and wants to exploit it for more lucrative business opportunities. He gets heartbroken and vengeful after finding out about his fiancée Mukku’s (Sara Ali Khan) affair with Mansoor, knowing little about the nature’s plan for them all.

Tushar Kanti Ray’s breath-taking shots welcome the audience into Mansoor and Mukku’s world that’s all about sparkling rivers and shining mountain tops. While the contrast of green and silver soothes your eyes, Sara’s rebellious attitude catches your fancy. She is fierce, sharp tongued and in control of her surroundings. For a debutante, she appears confident.

On the other hand, Sushant eases us into noticing the societal layers and how he represents the generation that doesn’t put religious beliefs over everything else in life. He is natural, charming and nuanced. He isn’t your typical ‘hero’ who would flex muscles at the slightest provocation. He sometimes downplays emotions and that surprisingly serves the film.

Pooja Gor, who plays Sara’s elder sister, confronts Mansoor for courting her sister but fails to get any reply. He is well aware of his social conditions. Later, he breaks into tears while cleaning his horse. It’s a remarkable shift for small town leads whose primary trait so far has been nonchalant masculinity.

Read: 2.0 Movie Review
Read: Thugs of Hindostan Movie Review

More than anyone or anything else, it is Sushant who brings out Abhishek Kapoor’s vision in Kedarnath as a lower-middle class Muslim boy in love with a Hindu priest’s daughter in one of the most revered pilgrimage points. His understated and layered performance adds gravitas to this predictable tale of brat girl-humble boy love story.

Though Sushant and Sara do their job, Abhishek Kapoor fails to add enough intensity to this love story. Kedarnath suffers from lack of distinct tonality and flat writing. Though the film is only 120-minutes long, it feels much longer. Even Amit Trivedi’s music fails to lift the film. The characteristic soulfulness in Kapoor and Trivedi’s last outing together—Fitoor—is missing here.

Kedarnath totally banks on its leads and they deliver. Sushant brings calm and Sara a breezy freshness to it. They give the film what its average VFX fails to—a purpose.

Kedarnath is watchable and strikes a chord when needed.

Rating: 3/5

Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha





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