Movie Review: KAHAANI (2012)

Published by Shah Shahid on

I’m such a fan of Vidya Balan. I’m getting that out of the way so you know this is a pure gushy review. After destroying everyone’s perceptions of her in the Industry with THE DIRTY PICTURE, Balan’s follow up is a heart warming story about the trials and tribulations of a pregnant woman in KAHAANI.


5 out 5 Stars

KAHAANI is the 4th Directorial vehicle for an awesome Director, who I’m biased about as well. His first film blew me away due to its never before seen genre, and for handling such adult contents, sub plots, jokes, not to mention tributes to musical genius… which prior to, didn’t exist in Indian Cinema, as far as I knew anyways. JHANKAR BEATS was the first of its kind of urban youth cinema in India. His follow-ups to the iconic …BEATS, weren’t as successful, despite being innovative avenues of film. However Sujoy Ghosh completely changes gears in KAHAANI and gives us one of those genre bending dramas which are just amazing examples of great story telling.

vidya balan with director sujoy ghosh. why does he look bored…? 😐

KAHAANI tells the story of a pregnant woman living in London, who treks all the way to India in search of her missing husband who had returned to his hometown for business. However, as everyone she meets denies ever having met or known anything about him, and without any sign or clue of his existence, she soon realizes that to track him down she must go through layers of other mysteries. Thus is the story of KAHAANI, this woman’s commitment to unravel a complex tapestry of jaw dropping twists and turns in order to meet her end goal.

I’ve said this once, but I’ll say it again: Vidya Balan will forever be cemented into the annals of Indian Cinema as legendary, and KAHAANI is another example of why. Balan plays the role of this strong and independent pregnant woman perfectly. Someone who has lost so much, and is fighting to hold on to what she’s got… it’s amazing to experience. It’s a credit to her performance that you can’t tell she’s an actress playing a pregnant woman. From the waddling walk to the efforts spent sitting in a chair and trying to get out of it… everything about this performance is superb.

KAHAANI is obviously a thriller of sorts, about a woman’s journey to get answers. There isn’t much of a ‘known’ supporting cast, to me anyways. However, Parambrata Chatterjee is ever so subtle in his performance of the Police Officer who helps Balan’s Vidya Bagchi, due to his own innate sense of responsibility for a helpless pregnant woman.

Chatterjee is quiet, simple and effective in his performance. However, the brilliance of KAHAANI is in its writing and execution, coming back to Sujoy Ghosh. Ghosh revels in the setting of Kolkata as the backdrop of KAHAANI, as well as an integral character of the film as well.

The Director is able to, so brilliantly and sporadically, tile the scenes of the film with helping dollops of Kolkata as a city, that the film takes on that much more of, what I call, “In-story presence”. A feeling that as an audience, you are there, in the story; you are walking the streets between scenes from one location to another as the story progresses from sequence to sequence. The culture, traditions, street sides and locales, make up for a huge part of the film and Kolkata gives a brilliant performance in and of itself.

such a beautiful performance…

KAHAANI is a film that is intensely brilliant and at times very shocking. It’s an unassuming thriller which will leave one in awe of Vidya Balan first… then eventually of Sujoy Ghosh. A genius story, acted by a soon-to-be legendary actress in a historical city… all executed by a found again revolutionary filmmaker… is what makes up KAHAANI.

Get The DVD

How do you feel about thrillers with women in the lead role? 

Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @theshahshahid


Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


meeradarjiyr1 · January 23, 2013 at 7:14 PM

This is an absolutely great film, so gripping right until the very last scene. Vidya is a brilliant actor! So believable! The story is so compelling and a huge suspence! Great review.

    Shah Shahid · January 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    I completely agree with you. One of my best. I loved the storytelling used here, it was a complete shock and awe talent which I rarely expect from Bollywood.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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