Ka Kha Ga Gha movie review: Starts as breezy comedy, but ends as forgettable, average film
Ka Kha Ga Gha director Krishnendu Chatterjee may do well to remember that what works on television does not work in cinema, and that it is very difficult to make a simple film.
Simplicity is a rare and forgotten virtue in cinema. It is also one of the most difficult feats to pull off, creatively speaking. Director Krishnendu Chatterjee’s debut film Ka Kha Ga Gha starts off with a promise of being a simple, light-hearted, breezy comedy — much like the good old Hrishikesh Mukherjee films that we used to enjoy in the days of yore. In the very first scene of the film, we see an actor in his seventies giving the perfect shot for a film. We soon learn that it is the gentleman’s debut film, and before you know it, the actor is telling a young and curious journalist how he came about making such a late entry into the world of cinema. The rest of the film plays out in flashback.
Madhav Dutta is a failed actor who now runs a tea stall in Kolkata’s famed Tollywood neighbourhood, where he witnesses the dreams of several young and aspiring actors, writers and directors being shattered every day. Since he understands the plight of these people from first hand experience, he brings these strugglers home and gives them food and shelter. His home has now turned into a hostel of sorts. When a young screenwriter arrives in the scene with what seems like a perfect story, four inhabitants of the hostel – an aspiring filmmaker named Kalyan, the rebellious writer Kharaj, a struggling actor named Ganesh, and a born-to-play-the-bad-guy Ghanta – all get together to make the movie themselves. In order to get the money for making the film, the gang of four turn towards Bhabatosh Adhikary, who is a passionate biscuit manufacturer by day and financier by night. On listening to the script though, Adhikary throws them out of his office, stating that the very idea of a gang of thugs kidnapping a woman while her husband sleeps right next to her is ludicrous and impossible. Deeply hurt, the gang of four vow to prove to the financier that the notion is possible. How? Well, by planning to kidnap his wife while he sleeps next to him! They name this rather silly, potentially dangerous and yet charmingly funny plan Mission ‘Ka Kha Ga Gha’, named thus after the first syllables of the members of the gang.
While the idea of the story sounds illogical, surprisingly, and to the film’s credit, I found myself willing to suspend disbelief in order to have a perfectly good time, laughing at some of the one-liners, enhanced more by the comic timing of the veteran actors than for their merit. But even with such a priceless license at its disposal, the film fails, simply because of its pace and due to the continuous hamming by some of its actors. While Paran Bandopadhyay and Kaushik Ganguly are perfect in the roles of the good old Samaritan and the zany producer respectively, the rest of the cast lacks spark. Among these latter group, the worst is perhaps Sayan Ghosh, whose irritating and over-the-top performance throughout the movie leaves us with the impression that he probably needs to learn a thing or two about film acting. In a rather harmless stereotyping cameo, Mir Afsar Ali shines to some extent, and the reigning siren of Bengali cinema — Rii — is pulled in to perform what can best be described as an item number. Aparajita Adhya is once again honest to the character she has been asked to play and does her job well. Saayoni Ghosh has a neat screen presence and her appearance often helps in bringing back much needed sanity in a scene otherwise slated to doom thanks to unrestrained hamming.
The writing carries promise, but ultimately suffers from dwelling on the jokes for far too long, or having too many of them, most of which do not land. The transitions are extremely jarring, and the film could have been easily made more enjoyable with better editing. The songs, however, are not ill-timed, and the music is refreshingly good. But in the end, it all nets out to make a very average and forgettable film viewing experience. Director Krishnendu Chatterjee may do well to remember that what works on television does not work in cinema, and that it is very difficult to make a simple film.
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