Kaanchi*
Starring Mishti, Kartik Tiwari,
Rishi Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty
Directed by Subhash Ghai
Genre: Romance wannabe thriller
Kaanchi: The Unbreakable was supposed to be a breath of fresh air since it featured a new heroine (chosen by THE Subhash Ghai) as well as veteran actors Rishi Kapoor and Mithun Chakraborty. Sadly, the formula that made Subhash Ghai one of the leading directors of the last generation isn’t applicable anymore. Ghai has run out of the steam that made Hero (1983), Khalnayak (1993), Pardes (1997) and Taal (1999) such iconic films in the nineties. He was once monumental in introducing new faces and sparkling soundtracks to Indian cinema, but unfortunately no more.

Kaanchi is a simple story. A village girl named Kaanchi falls in love and an unspeakable tragedy takes her to the city to seek revenge. If it sounds like a rehash of every other movie from the 80s, then that is exactly what it is. Be it a suicidal jump into the river, the constant job-switching and prevalent state of unemployment of the heroine and the cameo appearance from the director, Kaanchi was all too last century to be enjoyable. In fact if we were to rename it we would call it Kaanchi: The Unbearable.

The flick seems to have been written, edited, directed and produced by a fan of Subhash Ghai since it doesn’t look like a movie the maestro would call his own. Either Subhash Ghai’s mind is stuck in the 80s or he has run out of ideas because scenes from his old movies were visible in Kaanchi. There was a recreation of Ravi Verma’s death from Karz, a cheaply executed version of the climax fight from Vidhaata (where Dilip Kumar’s character sees his son Suresh Oberoi in his grandson Sanjay Dutt), a vulgar number Kambal Kay Neeche (a ‘tribute’ surely to Choli Kay Peeche from Khalnayak), a muscular villain who would appear out of nowhere only to be killed (remember Manik Irani aka Billa from Kallicharan, Hero?) and a moment where one character searches for the heroine during a song (Dard-e-Dil, Dard-e-Jigar from Karz). Maybe Subhash Ghai pays himself a tribute through Kaanchi, but it would have been better had he tried something new.

Let’s talk about the cast. Mishti, who plays the lead role, disappoints big time since she doesn’t look like a village girl rather a fashion model and has the voice of a kid. I became a fan of Kartik Tiwari when I saw Pyaar Ka Panchnaama but he has nothing to do in this film, except for throwing a few flying kicks, acting tough and getting the girl. The role played by Adil Hussain (CBI Investigator) could have been played by anyone whereas Chandan Roy Sanyal – who was so impressive in Vishal Bharadwaj’s Kaminey clearly misses the bus here.

Unfortunately, even the veterans, Mithun Chakraborty and Rishi Kapoor, disappoint big time. One didn’t expect much from Mithun da as an old politician, but Rishi Kapoor could have said no to the movie. If you loved to hate him in Agneepath then think twice before you watch Kaanchi.

The music by Ismail Darbaar and Salim-Suleman is as forgettable as the film itself. When Subhash Ghai came to Karachi in 2005, I asked him why he had stopped working with his regular music composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal, with whom he had delivered nine successful films in 14 years. The director replied that the aging duo was like an old woman who couldn’t deliver anymore. I think that could be Ghai’s problem as well!

Omair Alavi works for Geo TV and can be contacted at [email protected]

Kaanchi*