What you hear in Kaalakaandi is how these people speak: Director | bollywood | Hindustan Times
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What you hear in Kaalakaandi is how these people speak: Director

Kaalakaandi is a dark comedy about a man who gets to know he has very little time to live.

bollywood Updated: Dec 09, 2017 19:11 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Saif Ali Khan at the trailer launch of Kalaakaandi in Mumbai.
Saif Ali Khan at the trailer launch of Kalaakaandi in Mumbai.

The writer of Delhi Belly is at it again. The language of Akshat Verma’s directorial debut Kaalakaandi has stunned, shocked and embarrassed many. Former chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Pahlaj Nihalani had said, “The ‘gaalis’ (abusive words) that you will hear in this film are what you’ve never heard in your life.”

Verma feels “Thankfully Kaalakaandi has been rescued from being butchered by the censor board”. “The CBFC had asked for more than 70 cuts, and that was mostly the language that Pahlajji told you about. But that’s how people speak in the milieu that I have gone to. You can’t gag the characters because their style of talking doesn’t suit you.”

So was Verma trying to live up to the reputation of the colourful quirky colloquial talk that he had cultivated when he wrote Delhi Belly by putting more of the same in his directorial debut? He said, “It’s not as if I consciously got down to doing a film that would have as many ‘gaalis’ as Delhi Belly. When I wrote Delhi Belly, the characters spoke to me and thence to the audience in a certain way. Now in Kaalakaandi they speak a language that we may not accept as normal. But it is perfectly normal to the milieu and context of the film.”

Luckily, for Verma the verbal imbalance recommended by the CBFC was restored by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT). “They restored all the cuts, and by doing so they restored my faith in the democratic process. They just asked for three nominal verbal cuts which we made happily. The tribunal understood the desperate essence of the theme,” says the writer-turned director.

Kaalakaandi is a dark comedy about a man who gets to know he has very little time to live. “It’s not easy to laugh about death in our films. Would such a character be bothered with niceties pleasantries...? Desperate situations bring out the real you, I feel,” said Verma.

On choosing Saif Ali Khan, whose last few films like Chef bombed at the box office, as the leading man of Kaalakaandi, Verma said, “I am so glad we chose Saif for the film. He is extremely effective at bringing out the confusions and the inner chaos of the character. In real life also, Saif doesn’t hesitate in expressing his inner doubts. We are a humanity stricken by uncertainties. I think it’s nice to have these misgivings expressed on screen rather than to have heroes who speak in measured rhetorical tones. Flaws are what make our heroes interesting. And since Saif plays a very flawed character, I feel his character is very interesting,” he said.

For a while, it was touch-and-go for Kaalakaandi when the producers contemplated releasing the film on the digital platform. Luckily for Verma, Saif and all the actors and technicians, the film now gets a big screen release in January next year. “You work hard on a film, and on every detail, its sound design, the music mix, the colour correction. After that you cannot have your work placed on a platform that shrinks its qualities. I am just happy that we are going to be seen on the big screen. Not to undermine the digital platform which works just fine in today’s day and age,” he said.