Kaabil review: Hrithik Roshan's performance is highlight of this revenge drama

Release Date: 25 Jan 2017 / 02hr 19min

Cinestaan Rating

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Suparna Thombare

Hrithik's kaabil-e-tareef blind act lifts a formulaic story.

Kaabil is essentially a formula revenge drama — a protagonist's world is turned upside down by the bad guys and he or she goes all out to destroy them. Will Kaabil rise above the basics and have something different to offer?

Rohan (Hrithik Roshan), a dubbing artiste, and Supriya (Yami Gautam), a pianist, are both blind but independent individuals who fall in love and get married. Just as they are about to build a life of their dreams, they are plunged into darkness that is greater than their dark life.

Madhavrao Shellar (Ronit Roy), a powerful corporator, and his brother Amit (Rohit Roy) are too drunk with power to care that they have turned someone's happy life into a tragedy.

The film taps into some really dark emotions as it changes from a happy love story to a thriller. One such is when Rohan deals with his own guilt and anger while grappling to understand the grief his wife is going through. While the love story is endearing, the aftermath is heart-wrenching.

After almost sleepwalking through Mohenjo Daro (2016), Hrithik Roshan taps into some raw emotions and intensity to portray a man whose eyes stay blank throughout. His is not the most perfect performance of a blind person, but it is earnest, as he touches you with all the complex emotions he portrays.

Yami Gautam also turns in a decent performance. Ronit Roy channels his intensity and uses his dialogue delivery to great effect, but on some occasions it falls into the hamming zone.

The bland music by Rajesh Roshan is a letdown though. The 'Sara Zamaana' item song, featuring Urvashi Rautela, is boring and completely unnecessary. And so is the CGI used to add props to Mumbai's famous locations. This and the very average art direction affect the experience. Shooting in real locations would have made the film feel less synthetic.

Vijay Kumar Mishra's writing draws you in during the initial portions and connects with you emotionally. It is intense from start to end, with no comic respite.

The method of revenge may seem simplistic, and a lot of what happens in the second half may seem implausible, but if you have bought into Rohan's story, it is engaging. What is interesting to watch is Rohan channelizing his angry disposition, self-righteousness, love and day-to-day skills to plan his revenge.

Director Sanjay Gupta employs some interesting techniques that a blind person would use to kill his enemies. He keeps human emotions at the forefront throughout, and stays away from melodrama. The action is raw but not over-the-top, even in the climax. Where he falters is in setting a good pace and rendering some surprising twists to the audience in the second half. For a film of this kind, one must expect the revenge to unfold faster than it does.

Don't underestimate anyone, exploit them or consider them weak, especially due to their physical disability, because they may surprise you with their inherent strength — Kaabil runs on a formula exploited by producer Rakesh Roshan in several of his own directorial ventures like Khoon Bhari Maang (1988), Karan Arjun (1995) and Koyla (1997), but this one is much darker in its storytelling and within the realm of reality.

Kaabil is a decent thriller with a good emotional tug. Hrithik Roshan fans should be happy to see him back in form. 

Runtime: 139 minutes

Reviewed by Suparna Thombare