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Kaamyaab review: Perfect tribute to character artistes of mainstream Hindi cinema

Release Date: 06 Mar 2020 / Rated: U/A / 01hr 49min

Read in: Hindi

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Keyur Seta

Kaamyaab, directed by Hardik Mehta, sees a moving act by the veteran Sanjay Mishra.

We have seen plenty of stories about actors eager to get that one big break in cinema. Those who are well-versed with the Versova and Lokhandwala areas in Mumbai might have come across many such strugglers. The protagonist of director Hardik Mehta’s Kaamyaab is also seen struggling for an important break for a large part of the movie.

But here’s the twist: he is no newcomer. In fact, he is all of 499 films old! 

The film is about Sudheer (Sanjay Mishra), who has been one of those actors who are never seen as the main lead. But the casting for commercial Hindi movies is incomplete without people like him, who play characters like the villain’s side-kick, the police inspector who arrives at the end when the action is over, the heroine’s rich father, the police commissioner, and so on.

Sudheer retires from acting owing to certain circumstances. But some years later when he learns that he has acted in exactly 499 movies, he becomes eager to act in just one more film so that he can reach the figure of 500 movies and gain recognition and people’s respect. Hence, Sudheer’s search for a role resumes, just the way when he was a newcomer.

The film starts with Sudheer giving an interview to a news channel without any interest or will. But as soon as he gets to know that he has acted in 499 films so far, his mood turns around completely. The gloomy and meek Sudheer makes way for a charged-up, jovial man who has been known as a famous character artiste in Hindi cinema over the decades.

The major shift in mood is just the start of Mishra’s incredible performance during every second of his screen time. The actor goes through various transformations and scores full marks in all of them. He ensures that you just can’t stop rooting for the character. This is one of the finest acts in Hindi cinema in recent years. The creative humour peppered throughout the script plays an important part in his act.

Through the film and Mishra’s performance, the makers have paid a fitting tribute not only to the many character artistes but to mainstream Hindi cinema itself. Those having an interest in films made in this part of the world will instantly connect with Kaamyaab and its protagonist.

But the film is also bound to touch the layman simply because it’s a human story about an individual who is yearning for recognition for his hard work over the decades. His conflict with his daughter, who isn’t proud of her father, can be the story of any old man in India. These points, coupled with Mishra’s performance, are enough to make it relatable to people from any walk of life.

However, Kaamyaab isn’t all about Mishra. Deepak Dobriyal plays the important role of a famous casting director who vows to help Sudheer. This is a rare occasion for Dobriyal to play a rich, urbane character. It is amazing how he can get into the skin of any damn person on screen. It is difficult to believe that this is the same Dobriyal who played a rustic deaf-mute character only recently in the Marathi movie Baba (2019)

It was sporting of veteran actor Avtar Gill to appear as himself and play a character with grey shades. Similarly, character artistes like Birbal, Viju Khote, Guddi Maruti, Lilliput, Manmauji, Anil Nagrath and Ramesh Goyal play themselves, adding to the film’s authenticity.

Whether Sudheer succeeds in getting his 500th movie won’t be revealed here. But the climax is a delightful mixture of emotions and creativity and the perfect end to the story of this passionate actor.

Kaamyaab was screened at the 21st MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on 21 October and again on 24 October 2019.


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MAMI Mumbai Film Festival

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