Two good looking, blind people – one a dubbing artist, the other an NGO worker – meet and fall in love. They dance their way through, catch sunsets in the dubbing artist’s soon-to-be apartment, and enjoy the sound of the sea at Nariman Point in Mumbai. While they express their apprehension towards getting married initially, the man however reassures the girl that ‘two negatives make things positive’, and continue doing things together that make their impairment more bearable.
Their saccharine sweet days are cut short when the local good-for-nothing hooligan and his right hand man lust after the pretty NGO girl. The couple haven’t a clue of what’s in store for them and don’t think much of it even after a few brush-offs with the hooligan. Until one day.
If you’ve watched Blind Fury and enough Korean dramas, you don’t have to worry about spoilers on this one
Gagged, and raped, the girl appears rattled but not unstable. Her husband, on the other hand, is devastated, appearing more shell-shocked than the victim herself. Nothing gets solved, justice is never served. The boy, echoing the words of Kishore Kumar’s famous song “Yeh Kanoon Andha Hai”, decides to go rogue and take matters into his own hands. And one by one, he settles his scores, emerging as some sort of vigilante.
Sounds familiar enough? For comic book lovers, many would say it’s almost the plot of Marvel’s Daredevil – the blind, handsome, attorney-by-day-and-vigilante-by-night, Matt Murdoch. Game of Thrones fans will notice a very angry Hrithik Roshan channeling his inner-Arya Stark for the action sequences, and recreating the duel between blind Arya and the waif.
A plot that has a hint of several foreign revenge films, Sanjay Gupta’s Kaabil leaves you with a feeling that you’ve watched this film before. Gupta, like most of his other films (such as Kaante and Zinda), resorts to spoon feeding the audience in terms of dialogues and plot. Going by the scores of cheesy exchanges between the couple and the trash talk between the hero and villain, I could almost complete their sentences before the second half.
And if it’s not the familiar plot, it’s the familiar characters. While he tries his hand at being as versatile as possible, Hrithik isn’t new to portraying disabilities on screen. As the talented dubbing artist Rohan Bhatnagar, Hrithik borrows a bit of his expressions from Rohit in Koi… Mil Gaya and a tinge of melancholy from Ethan Mascarenhas in Guzaarish, and, finally, a bit of trying-too-hard from Sarman in Mohenjo Daro.
Yami Gautam’s character, Supriya Sharma, is a reprisal of roles she’s played too often – a charming girl with a perpetual smile but a tragic story to tell. There isn’t much to Supriya except that she is pretty, blind, and married to Rohan. Then she is raped and kills herself. And you’re left wondering, whatever was her background story? Where did she work and what made her smile ever so often? However, unlike the hero, she seems at ease and manages to make the most of whatever little screen time she’s given.
Kaabil introduces two brutal rapes and a suicide to show what Hrithik as the blind man is capable of. Given this is a sensitive topic, the preposterous laws around it (such as the 24 hour deadline of a medical examination checking for rape) are sidetracked, and we’re left to watch a bumbling Hrithik make the movie more about himself and his ‘versatility’. The crux of the story is how he exacts his revenge. Revenge must be his, even if it means risking others’ lives for the plans he has concocted. No biggie.
What easily could’ve been a take on the flawed system and the continuous violence (physical and mental) meted against women who were raped, turns into a film about Hrithik throwing people off high-rise buildings, burning them alive, and walking away with his trusted walking stick by his side.
Kaabil, however, has a few saves. Cinematography-wise, the use of space in the film, particularly that of a dance floor when the couples have their first dance and the focus on little details in Rohan’s apartment is commendable enough. The scenes of the construction work in Rohan’s unfinished apartment and the view of the blue sea are a visual treat, where even the minutest of details such as the rocks on Bandstand and Nariman Point are enhanced, coupled with the sounds of waves crashing against the rocks.
Interestingly enough, while Hrithik may have been trying hard, maybe a little too hard, he manages to fare better than the plot, dialogues, and rest of the characters. Yami may have appeared at ease with whatever little screen time she had, making the most of her severely underwritten role, however her disappearance after the first half of the film means it rests on Hrithik to carry it forward. He doesn’t necessarily save the film but manages to give it a chance. After all, the film is about Hrithik being kaabil (capable) enough to do better in this sea of borrowed plots and predictable dialogues.
The Kaabil review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.