Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan) leads a mundane lifestyle as a software engineer in Bangalore. He gets a call from a travel agency through which his father had booked a trip to Gangotri, informing him about the latter’s demise in an accident. He is asked to collect his father’s body from the cargo company the next day which he does with his close friend Shauqat (Irrfan Khan), only to find out that his package has been misplaced with that of another lady named Tahira (Amala Akkineni), who lives in Cochin.
This leads to both the men taking a road trip along with Tahira’s daughter Tanya (Mithila Palkar) to acquire the coffin of Avinash’s father which will end up becoming more than just a trip.
Positive Points: –
- The performances of Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan and Mithila Palkar are first-rate and the chemistries they share with each other throughout the trip is perfectly endearing.
- The first half is a laugh riot and all thanks to Khan for the same.
- After a funny and jocund pre-interval premise, the film takes a serious turn exploring various philosophies of different characters in the film. This adds depth to the story and adds meaning to its own existence.
- Hussain Dalal’s dialogues especially those penned for Khan’s character are incredibly funny at one time and insightfully philosophical at another.
Negative Points: –
- Akarsh Khurana’s direction and screenplay are questionable at times. The latter has too many flaws and loopholes to ignore.
- The characters are not fleshed out to their potential. Karwaan could have been a terrific character-driven movie if its protagonists had been developed properly.
- No doubt the movie is funny and delightful but it shouldn’t have been as long as 2 hours.
Direction, Screenplay & Other Technicalities: –
As a debutant, one has to appreciate Akarsh Khurana’s contribution to the direction. He has used his actors quite well in accordance to the storyline and maintained their interaction efficaciously. But his direction falls prey to the overt fallacies of the screenplay (which he has himself co-written with Adhir Bhat) owing to its half-baked characters and over-stretched premise. To be honest, a lot of things don’t make sense in it and that includes the very idea to take a trip to Cochin in order to get a coffin (doesn’t that remind someone of Jab Harry Met Sejal *facepalm*). The runtime is unnecessarily extended to 120 minutes only because a quite many scenes come up as fillers and are stretched beyond their supposed screen time viz the trio’s visit to a marriage party which was completely redundant.
And this is where Hussain Dalal’s dialogues come to rescue! His choice of words and crafting of sentences has been perfect and they make even the fillers amusing (special thanks to Khan for the same). It’s not just in the jests and funny remarks that the character’s exchange but also the philosophical and metaphysical realisations that they imbibe through the journey that makes the film delightful. This is only ameliorated by the music which easily fits in with the tone and mood of the plot. Avinash Arun’s cinematography is excellent and flaunts the beauty of Kerala vividly. Ajay Sharma’s editing is good but I guess he could have contributed a bit more in reducing the time length of the film.
Dulquer Salmaan makes a breezy debut. He is, no doubt, a versatile actor and has shown his acting chops time and again in many flicks. So, performing a character like Avinash was a child’s play for him and he has (of course) done it quite well and naturally. However, I wish he had chosen a meatier role for his Bollywood debut, but anyway, even this will work (at least we hope it does).
Mithila Palkar captures the childishness and rebellious nature of her character superbly. Though it can’t be ignored that she just had to play along with the lines of two other acting giants, but even that isn’t easy if you don’t have talent. So kudos to her for making her mark anyway.
Amala Akkineni and Kriti Kharbanda, both, make endearing cameos. Akash Khurana (veteran actor who is also the father of Akarsh) does a splendid job as Avinash’s father.
Keeping the best for the last, Irrfan Khan is the soul of Karwaan (though not of its story). He is the centre of all the funny gimmicks and he even contributes heavily to the serious angles of the movie. He shines above everyone and it’s just impossible to look away from him despite the charms emanated by his co-stars. Without Khan, Karwaan wouldn’t have been half as good as it is.
Final Verdict: –
Karwaan is a fun-filled cinematic experience added with some beautiful philosophical perspectives which are heart-warming and universally relatable. It may not be a smart piece of work but it definitely has a heart and it has it in the right place. Last, but not the least, is Irrfan Khan’s delectably humorous act which not only makes the film wonderful but rewatchable as well. Don’t miss it!