Kalank is a dull and drowsy drama from Dharma Productions

Directed by Abhishek Varman, Kalank is a romantic period drama starring Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt and Kunal Kemmu.

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Cast: Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sonakshi Sinha, Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Dutt and Kunal Kemmu. 

Rating: 2/5

Sometime around last year, Bollywood's ace producer, Karan Johar, revealed the star cast of his big-budget period drama, Kalank. For the ones who are unaware, the story was conceptualised by Yash Johar in 1975, and Karan announced the same calling it, his father's dream project. Set in the 1940s, the film revolves around relationships tangled between love and social situations, and how matters get convoluted due to certain decisions. Having said this, I wish the film was also made back then, for it would have been apt for the time the film focuses on, sparing the tragedy audience will have to watch in this 168-minute feature. 

Pay attention to the trailer, and you will understand the fundamental characters of the film, around whom the story revolves.

The year is 1946 (Independence era) and the place is Husnabad - a town populated by largely by Muslims. The Chaudhrys - Balraj (Sanjay Dutt) along with his Dev (Aditya Roy Kapur) run a newspaper, and are the talk of the town, for being affluent. Dev is married to Satya (Sonakshi Sinha), but due to certain concerns, his life takes a turn, due to which he marries Roop (Alia Bhatt). Roop visits Bahaar Begum (Madhuri Dixit Nene) to learn music and eventually meets Zafar (Varun Dhawan). The two fall in love with each other, making the relationship complex. Amid the love story and relationship troubles, brews a communal hatred, initiated by Akbar (Kunal Kemmu). On one side, where a romantic saga unfolds, the fate of our country takes a new form; and this is what Kalank is all about.

The makers have ensured that the film looks aesthetically beautiful. The costumes, set design and the production value of the film are impeccable. The shots, scenes and the angles are well thought. It helps the film a lot. But the problem with Kalank is with the basics - screenplay and the dialogues. While the film strives hard to spark interest with the audience, it fails. The narrative is weak, and the film struggles throughout the 168-minute run time. The first half is watchable for it takes you through the journey of the characters and their concerns, but the second half shifts to snail-paced, convoluted storytelling.

The biggest highlight of the film is the ensemble, and every cast delivers to their best. They have interesting characters with different shades and emotions, but the film somehow lacks the soul. The commitment problems between Dev and Roop comes across well, and so does the love between him and his wife Satya. The chemistry Roop and Zaffar develop, is also well showcased. While Varun and Alia shine with their roles, others are just mediocre. They do not offer anything new on-screen. For the first time, I did not enjoy Madhuri Dixit's performance in Tabah ho gaye, again for the same reason, that it did not connect. Despite the extravagance, the film is yawn-worthy and drab. Soon after the first few minutes, you will be bored, eventually becoming uncomfortable closer to the climax.

I believe the story is apt for the time frame or era it is written for (the 70s), and not for the audience today. 'Kalank' lacks conviction and for the current time, it is quite unrealistic. Even with cinematographer Binod Pradhan's visuals, Pritam's music and Manish Malhotra's costumes, this film is a boring affair. 

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