Starring: Pankaj Tripathi, Parvathy Thiruvothu, Sanjana Sanghi, Jaya Ahsan, Dilip Shankar, Jogi Mallang, Varun Buddhadev
Director: Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Amnesia is perhaps not an entirely new theme in the Indian cinema. However, Chowdhury’s directorial venture, ‘Kadak Singh’, deals out a refreshing handling of the debilitating condition.
After a failed suicide attempt, AK Shrivastav (Tripathi) - who is also called Kadak Singh (very strict) by his children, Sakshi (Sanghi) and Aditya (Buddhadev) - finds himself stuck in a hospital room trying to make sense of his life. Left with nothing more than a few blurry and arbitrary memories, Shrivastav has no recollection of the past few years of his life, let alone of the events leading up to his suicide.
Shrivastav’s circumstances are brought to the viewers through a seamlessly woven non-linear tale which shifts between the past and present throughout the film. Just as Shrivastav himself must rely on the testimonies of those around him to sort fact from fiction, so too, must the viewers. Through three distinct accounts from the people closest to him, the key tenets of Shrivastav’s life prior to the suicide are explored: his relationship with his children, his relationship with Naina (Ahsan), his lover, and his relationship with his colleagues at work.
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Tripathi – who was most recently seen in films like ‘Fukrey 3’ and ‘OMG 2’ – has once again shown his acting prowess through his layered and nuanced portrayal of the titular role. Tripathi’s understated performance does not only allow the audience to feel for the character’s peculiar situation, but his curiosity also fuels elements of mystery and suspense in this thriller.
Although ‘Kadak Singh’ – which recently had its digital premiere on ZEE5 – is touted as a thriller, a genre which it no doubt lives up to, at its core it is equally a story of the complex human relationships that surround each one of us. There are no easy ways out or quick solutions in the real world, and the film’s screenplay carries this message forward very well.
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Characters and character arcs are very well explored and developed in this 128-minute film. Whether it is the father-daughter relationship, Shrivastav’s friendship with his nurse (Thiruvothu) or the strained-turned-supportive relationship between Sakshi and Naina – each relationship gets it due in this film and that, perhaps, is the most impactful aspect of this must-watch film.