Kaagaz movie review: Pankaj Tripathi plays a victim of bureaucratic corruption.
Kaagaz movie review: Pankaj Tripathi plays a victim of bureaucratic corruption.

Kaagaz movie review: Pankaj Tripathi tries his best to infuse life into a film killed by cliches

Kaagaz movie review: Pankaj Tripathi is brilliant as ever but still could not save this Satish Kaushik film that is riddled with cliches and still years behind in a genre that has seen far better examples.
By Soumya Srivastava | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2021 02:14 PM IST

Returning to filmmaking after almost five years, Satish Kaushik has made a film quite unlike the ones he has made before. Kaagaz can easily be called his best work till date but he is still playing catch-up in a genre that has long left behind the days of melodramatic background score.

Kaagaz is the real life story of man extraordinaire, Lal Bihari Mritak, played here as Bharat Lal Mritak by the ever flawless Pankaj Tripathi. Bharat Lal is a kind hearted, loveable band player from a small village in Uttar Pradesh, who believed in slow living before millennials made it fashionable. Content with his tiny shop, a sweet home with a loving wife and a small son, he has zero aspirations of changing it for anything. The opening scene where Bharat captures a mouse in his shop and has a chat with it before setting it free, does a good job of establishing him as a man of pure intent. Pankaj, within just a couple of minutes, melts his way into your heart. Sadly, this is also where the film’s heartwarming storytelling peaks.

Watch Kaagaz trailer:

 

When Bharat’s wife, who is slightly more hopeful of a better life, asks him to expand his business with a bank loan, he realises he has a peculiar problem. He is dead, on paper. Unknown to him, his conniving aunt and her sons got him declared dead, usurping the property that was legally his. Thus began Bharat’s decade-long, gruelling fight against a corrupt system, bureaucracy, his own family and their greed. However, these larger foes crop up much later in the film, initially his biggest enemies are the village kids and idle men who tease him and call him a ‘ghost’.

The film has many foes, albeit of its own making. Satish’s direction and more than a few cliched choices push the film to its premature death. All the goodwill that was raked in the first few minutes is wasted with an item song that has sleazy men and zoom ins on Sadeepa Dhar’s waist. The evil chachi gets her own Komolika-esque sound effects, and a needless commentary by Satish runs through every scene, explaining a fairly simple plot so much that it seems insulting to the audiences’ intellect. Morose music plays at cue during emotional scenes and a buffalo grunts during a marginally amusing moment.

And despite all this, the film is still watchable solely due to the performance of Pankaj Tripathi. It is still a surprise to watch him slip into any milieu, any character with buttery ease. From a sassy gun-slinging gang leader in Ludo to the sweetest father in Gunjan Saxena, Pankaj has proven time and again that there is really nothing that he cannot do. As the small town man with a heart of gold, Bharat Lal was never a big challenge for an actor of his capabilities. Pankaj plays him with kindness, mania, rage and hurt, all in equal measure.

While Pankaj Tripathi may be a marvel among actors, it is those around him that disappoint. From the wife to the chachi to the cousins, politicians, journalists or friends, no one is given a role worth biting into. It also comes as a relief because none of the supporting actors may have been able to carry the weight either. Their jokes do not land, the more emotional scenes do not impress and the wife’s UP accent keeps playing hide and seek.

Kaagaz is clearly behind the times in a genre that has seen far better examples as many as 10 years ago. The closest relative I could think for it must be Salman Khan’s socially awakened films such as Bajrangi Bhaijaan or Sultan. Their heart may be in the right place but the juvenile and cliched direction choices mar their chances of greatness.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Ajay Devgn joined the cast of Gangubai Kathiawadi.
Ajay Devgn joined the cast of Gangubai Kathiawadi.

Ajay Devgn joins Alia in Gangubai Kathiawadi, to begin shooting from tomorrow

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:53 PM IST
Ajay Devgn has joined the cast of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Alia Bhatt in the titular role. He will begin shooting from Saturday.
Close
Janhvi Kapoor will be seen next in Roohi.
Janhvi Kapoor will be seen next in Roohi.

Janhvi says audience is not 'obligated' to love her, she needs to win them over

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:09 PM IST
  • Janhvi Kapoor, who will be seen next in Roohi, said that viewers are not 'obligated' to love her and the onus is on her to give them a reason to. She added that she is working hard to win everyone over.
Close
Priyanka Chopra soaking up the sun with her pet pooch Diana.
Priyanka Chopra soaking up the sun with her pet pooch Diana.

Priyanka Chopra enjoys sunkissed morning with pet dog Diana in London, see photo

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 07:27 PM IST
  • Priyanka Chopra and her pet dog Diana are soaking up the sun in London, where the actor is shooting for the Amazon series Citadel, in which she plays a spy.
Close
Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt snapped at an ad shoot.
Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt snapped at an ad shoot.

Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt are lost in love and laughter at ad shoot. See photos

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:24 PM IST
  • Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt were clicked at an ad shoot with director Gauri Shinde. Check out some behind-the-scenes photos from the shoot here.
Close
Other than movies, the actor has also been making music and has a busy year ahead. (Photo by Sarang Gupta/Hindustan Times)
Other than movies, the actor has also been making music and has a busy year ahead. (Photo by Sarang Gupta/Hindustan Times)

Shruti Haasan: OTT gives films a second lease of life

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:59 PM IST
The actor-singer says the debate about theatres VS OTT is a larger one. While some films are made for theatre, she is a big fan of streaming platforms as it gives her access to all kinds of content from across the world
Close
Salman Khan is also a gifted painter, along with being an actor.
Salman Khan is also a gifted painter, along with being an actor.

Salman feels 'embarrassed' to display painting alongside 'legends' at art show

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 05:50 PM IST
  • Salman Khan said he feels 'awkward' and 'embarrassed' but at the same time, 'delighted' and 'honoured', to have his painting displayed alongside legends at an art show.
Close
Dr Shriram Nene feeding Madhuri Dixit a slice of homemade pizza.
Dr Shriram Nene feeding Madhuri Dixit a slice of homemade pizza.

Madhuri Dixit’s husband Shriram Nene whips up pizza for her, see photo

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:46 PM IST
  • Dr. Shriram Nene prepared a homemade pizza for Madhuri Dixit. As he shared a picture of it on Instagram, many of their fans showered compliments.
Close
Tiger 3 will also be an action spy thriller.
Tiger 3 will also be an action spy thriller.

Tiger 3: Salman Khan, Katrina, Emraan attend puja, shoot to begin on March 8

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:44 PM IST
Bollywood stars Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Emraan Hashmi, who are all set to start shooting for their upcoming outing Tiger 3, attended a puja before the film is scheduled to go on floors.
Close
Sara Ali Khan and Amrita Singh visit Ajmer Shareef Dargah.
Sara Ali Khan and Amrita Singh visit Ajmer Shareef Dargah.

Sara Ali Khan visits Ajmer Sharif Dargah; Vicky, Katrina's sister all heart

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:33 PM IST
  • Sara Ali Khan took to Instagram and revealed that she and her mother Amrita Singh visited Ajmer Sharif Dargah on Friday.
Close
Parineeti Chopra in The Girl On The Train.
Parineeti Chopra in The Girl On The Train.

The Girl On The Train: Parineeti turns a singer, shares new song Matlabi Yariyan

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 03:57 PM IST
  • Parineeti Chopra shared a new song - Matlabi Yariyan - from her upcoming film, The Girl On The Train. The actor has sung the soulful ballad. Watch here.
Close
Sara Ali Khan and Amrita Singh at the airport.(Varinder Chawla)
Sara Ali Khan and Amrita Singh at the airport.(Varinder Chawla)

Sara Ali Khan, mom Amrita ace airport look, twin in green ethnic wear

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 03:48 PM IST
  • Sara Ali Khan and her mother Amrita Singh were seen twinning in green at Mumbai airport on Thursday. See their pictures here.
Close
Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkummar Rao in Kai Po Che!
Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh and Rajkummar Rao in Kai Po Che!

Sushant, Rajkummar, Amit are 'brothers for life' in unseen video from Kai Po Che

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 03:17 PM IST
On the eight-year anniversary of Kai Po Che!, director Abhishek Kapoor shared a behind-the-scenes video showing the camaraderie between Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkummar Rao and Amit Sadh.
Close
Kareena Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore are very close to each other.
Kareena Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore are very close to each other.

When Sharmila said Kareena was ‘just like my children’ when Mansoor was unwell

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 02:54 PM IST
  • Sharmila Tagore had once talked about how Kareena Kapoor had her birthday when Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi was hospitalised but chose not to draw attention towards herself.
Close
John Abraham as Amartya Rao in Mumbai Saga.
John Abraham as Amartya Rao in Mumbai Saga.

Mumbai Saga trailer: Watch John, Emraan battle it out on Mumbai streets

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 02:28 PM IST
  • Mumbai Saga trailer has John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi locking horns with Mumbai streets as the arena. Watch the trailer here.
Close
Aaliyah Kashyap was subjected to hateful comments on her recent post.
Aaliyah Kashyap was subjected to hateful comments on her recent post.

Aaliyah says she got rape threats for lingerie shoot: Never felt more frightened

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:18 PM IST
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap's daughter Aaliyah Kashyap has revealed how she was subjected to the 'most vile, degrading and disgusting comments' on social media after her lingerie photoshoot.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP