Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput), a Muslim pithoo guy and Mandakini aka Mukku (Sara Ali Khan), a wealthy Pandit girl in Kedarnath explore their love for each other amidst social tensions and an imminent disaster.
Positive Points: –
- Sushant Singh Rajput is no doubt a very good actor and he does perform well here, but the real star of the film is debutant Sara Ali Khan.
- Tushar Kanti Ray’s cinematography and most of the visual effects.
- Despite its simplicity, Kedarnath keeps you glued to your seats for its entire run.
Negative Points: –
- Kedarnath could have easily been one of the best films of the year if its focus were more on the disaster than the romance. However, the way it has been made, it’s just too mainstream.
- The film’s consistently inconsistent tones both in terms of its characterisation and narrative can be nettling or unamusing or both.
- While still intriguing, the movie’s easy predictableness only becomes heavier for the viewer, especially in its second half.
The General Aspects: –
Visually beautiful films have their own charms and so does Kedarnath. It’s depiction of the lush mountainous vegetation, the grimness of the rains in the hilly areas, and the ever-appealing streams on higher elevations, give it an aesthetical edge which at times overpower its narrative weakness. Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray has marvellously captured its varying emotional essence through its visuals. During the disaster phase, the VFX have been done excellently, though a few anomalies could easily be noted such as the fake donkey in the flood (and a fake helicopter before the flood). Nonetheless, Ray along with VFX team impart the right sentiments at the right moments in the film, ameliorating a lot of the erraticism otherwise present in its narrative. That’s also a reason why I largely appreciate the directional perception of Abhishek Kapoor in this feature notwithstanding some few glitches.
However, Kapoor along with Kanika Dhillon fail to impress us with their screenplay. It’s not just how simple and trite the plot is but also how it progresses is what creates a concern. The narrative switches uneasily between romance, drama and environmental concerns and while it’s openly a romantic film, the more important issue regarding the environment is lost somewhere in its latter half. The film’s characters are as flat as its narrative. It’s not just the plot but even the characters that are mainstream and I don’t restrict the characters only to the leads, but to everyone present on the screen. Be it the parents of the guy and the girl and their siblings or friends or even fiancées, every single person has only a linear form of buildup which rarely or even negligibly varies as the film progresses. While the actors justify their characters, the characters don’t justify their (the actors’) talents wholeheartedly and that does backfire for the film. In my opinion, Kedarnath needn’t had to focus on characters if it spent more runtime on showcasing its disaster-adventure aspects than on the inter-religious romance. It could have been a revival of disaster-based movies in Bollywood four decades after movies like The Burning Train failed to captivate the audience (though it’s considered a classic now). This could have been the beginning of something new in Bollywood but it’s not, and that’s a loss to lament for.
Most star-kid debuts are either tepid or disappointing no matter how good they perform later in their career, but Sara Ali Khan starts her cinematic career with a blast! She is enchanting as well as commanding as the film’s female lead and very soon becomes its soul. Though one can say that her acting chops still require brushing, and of course they do, that doesn’t water-down how she single-handedly steers the movie despite this being her very first. Sushant Singh Rajput is also pretty endearing as Mansoor and delivers quite justifiably but then, it wasn’t a very challenging role for him though it should have been. Both Rajput and Khan share a pretty good chemistry which again, help their performances as well as the narrative of the film.
On the other hand, Nitish Bharadwaj, Alka Amin, Sonali Sachdev and Pooja Gor just do fine because their potential strengths are not fleshed in the film’s writing. The only actor who gets to show some of his acting abilities is Nishant Dahiya but he too falls victim to a unidimensional characterisation much to our disgusts.
Final Verdict: –
How one perceives Kedarnath will completely depend upon the respective individual who watches it. The movie has equal amounts of positive factors as it has on the negative sides, so how each side affects you will matter in your overall view of it. For me however, the film is more charming than I expected it to be and that’s largely because of its visuals and the performances of the protagonists especially Sara Ali Khan, who makes a debut worth remembering. Nonetheless, I won’t press my views and would prefer to leave it to the interpretation of the reader and those who have watched it or will watch it sooner or later. The choice is all yours!