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CAST : Saif Ali Khan, Deepak Dobriyal, Vijay Raaz, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Neil Bhoopalam, ShobhitaDhulipala, IshaTalwar, Nary Singh, Akshay Oberoi

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Credits : Inox

Synopsis : This is a story where fates intertwine, destinies bump into each other, chaotic ironies result and in the end - order is restored by a beautiful stroke of poetic justice. The story plays out in 12 hours, with six characters from different worlds, from urban, ambitious upwardly mobile Bombay and its dark, neglected under-belly.

In this dark, funny tale, the lives of complete strangers intersect for a few frantic moments and lead to consequences not improbable but extraordinary.

Review : Saif Ali Khan’s recent releases might have failed to make a mark at the box office but he is back with Kaalakaandi. A dark comedy exploring how six Mumbaikars deal with life, Kaalakaandi is directed by debutant Akshat Verma (the scriptwriter of Delhi Belly).

Saif Ali Khan’s last two outings – Rangoon and Chef – may not have found many takers at the box office, but Saif’s performance in both the projects was received well. In the film, his character undergoes a huge flip on discovering that he is suffering from stomach cancer. In some crooked way, Saif ends up taking ‘acid’ one night and the film captures everything from there.

Akshat Verma's upcoming black comedy Kaalakaandi, by virtue of its genre, seems to tread on the fine line between grimness and humour. The same goes for its music, which has been composed by a host of fresh minds, predominantly that of Sameer Uddin.

Men have been driven to wild behaviour with less-shocking news, but it takes a hallucinogenic pill for the protagonist to run amok through the streets.The best part of the man’s adventure, on which he drags along his relative Angad (Akshay Oberoi), is his time spent with Trans person Sheela (Nyari Singh). Khan’s blissful expression after an encounter with Sheela scores one for the queer movement, and is the only truly transgressed moment in Kaalakaandi.

Verma’s handling of the brush between Sheela and Khan’s character is skilful and sensitive while also being very funny. This strand has all the fun bits, the best lines, and the wild times that are absent from the other sub-plots. Angad’s story has its temperature-raising moments that are soon doused by conventional sentimentality.

Kaalakaandi also works in the cause-and-effect relation between Mumbai and its dark and neglected underbelly — the underworld. In an interview earlier, Akshat said, “It’s just a nod to the underworld. The characters in my films are the ones on its fringes. They’re like the messenger boys. They have ambition, they are on the outside, but want to be up there. Any criminal enterprise also has an administrative aspect. No one joins a criminal enterprise wanting to be a clerk. But there are those who do that job and it doesn’t stop them from wanting to be the don. That’s the kind of underworld in my film.”

The only other character who matches Khan in his energy is Nyari Singh. Together, they convey some sense of what Mumbai can be like after dark – unpredictable, dangerous, exciting and strangely fulfilling. Anything can happen, but unfortunately little does in Kaalakaandi.

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