Let me begin with a statement that perhaps will become the backbone of this article – Kanika Dhillon is a wordsmith par excellence, an author who’s in love with her craft. The way she understands, portrays and enunciates human psyche, that’s really rare in today’s time. Love is an eternal feeling. Perhaps with changing times, we have stopped looking at love as a feeling and often weigh it down with our humongous set of expectations. If you have read other ‘views’ which predominantly state few of these about ‘Kedarnath’ – Melodramatic, Barjatya style of filmmaking, running stereotypes, dated concept – well, bollocks to all ! Love still remains that feeling, which makes one go weak in the knee, be it the sharing of tea from one glass or whispering sweet nothings amidst the hullabaloo of this world. Love is listening to heartbeats over phone. Love is stealing those glances, in the middle of the crowd. It’s that feeling, that inspires people to do the unimaginable, achieve the unthinkable. Kanika and Abhishek Kapoor, co-credited as the writers, choose to tell an important point in the garb of a film, that is often told but always misinterpreted. Religion doesn’t create barriers, people do. 

‘Kedarnath’ is one of those films. 

Motifs run like water in this film. Tussle between two sisters, like the two untamed tributaries of the same river forms a major focal point of the story. The elder sister, blames her sibling to have stolen her fiancé, whereas it’s the fiancé who has broken the engagement, as he has eyes for the younger sister. Kanika raises a daft fact – in this man’s world, despite of a man’s fault, a woman blames another for her loss. Religion and trade, they both make their presence felt here. Environmental issues are merely touched upon, for the bigger issue here are greed and malice. Turn the pages from history and one will see, great empires have crumbled, for the unquenchable human greed and malicious intents. The film hints about the self gratifying trade that has flourished in the name of religion, at the very beginning as we see a nomadic sadhu blabbering these fab lines,

Aa, phir se zehar ke ghunt peete hain…Chal, Shankar-Shankar khelte hain…

The film works primarily because of the writing. There’s so much of love in it. The first time Mukku sees Mansoor, the first time Mansoor perceives his helplessness about the relationship, Mukku’s unflinching determination to prove her love for Mansoor and Mansoor’s unselfish act to save everyone – it all stems from the fact that people, when in love, often end up doing the unthinkable. Sara Ali Khan, in a fantastic debut, plays Mukku aka Mandakini, the feisty form of the Ganges. Sushant Singh Rajput is Mansoor, one of the many carriage bearers of the Kedarnath valley. When the wild stream of the river meets the tranquil and serene rock, it affects both. The river becomes calm while the edgy rock smoothens up. Mukku and Mansoor’s love somewhat mirrors this relationship. Sushant, a wonderful actor that he is, imbibes Mansoor in totality, flesh and blood. Sara shows spunk in abundance. Together, this pair spells magic. Their relationship, which grows through the song ‘Qaafirana’ is one the major highlights of the film. 

The ensemble cast supports the leads effectively. Nitish Bharadwaj, famously known as the Krishna of B.R Chopra’s ‘Mahabharat’ comes back to the silver screen, after a long hiatus. Alka Amin as Mansoor’s mother, is effective, especially in the sequence where she chides him for being more like his late father. Nishant Dahiya, as the chief antagonist does well, for his role seems an author backed one. Pooja Gor, as the elder sister Brinda gets a meaty role and enacts it pretty well. The film boasts of some amazing cinematography, thanks to Tushar Kanti Roy. The music is courtesy the pied piper of our times – Amit Trivedi and it goes without saying, is melodious with all four songs being current chartbusters. The film runs at a great pace of 116 minutes, the editing credits for which goes to Chandan Arora. 

Eventually it’s the director’s vision that makes ‘Kedarnath’ a visual spectacle, which it eventually turns into. The Uttarakhand floods of 2013 forms the background of the star crossed lovers and their doomed love story. But more than the flood or the or its causes, it’s the humane story of ‘Kedarnath’ that appeals the most. The catastrophic flood, an allegory of the God’s wrath on people in retaliation of what the couple goes through, is shown in a spectacular way. ‘Kedarnath’ proves that Abhishek Kapoor is in top form here. Fabulous work!

Watch the film for the performances and the epic finale, that’s worth of getting goosebumps. But it’s the doomed lovers who are going to remain with you, long after the film is over. 

Woh Kehte Hain Na, Unki Mohhabat Bade Kamaal Ki Hoti Hai, Jin ka Milna Muqaddar Main Nahin Hota…

The Cinemawala Rating: 3.5/5

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