Kaabil movie review: Hrithik Roshan’s underdog film wins against all odds

Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil is competing with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees at the box office.
Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil is competing with Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees at the box office.
Updated on Jul 17, 2019 12:27 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Yami Gautam, Ronit Roy, Rohit Roy
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Rating: 3/5

Specially-abled people often struggle with the system, particularly societal injustice and apathy.

Few dare to confront their antagonists head on. But desperate times demand desperate measures.

Watch: Our FB Live discussion on Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil

And so in Kaabil, that chosen one is Rohan Bhatnagar (Hrithik Roshan), who is blind and has an evolved sense of smell and directions. He is a terrific voice-over artist who takes mental notes of English dialogues and then translates them to Hindi in real time.

His self deprecating humour doesn’t look absurd when he meets Supriya (Yami Gautam), also a visually impaired person, and declares ‘it’s love at first sight.’ They get married but don’t live happily ever after, because the local corporator Madhavrao Shellar’s (Ronit Roy) brother Amit (Rohit Roy) decides to take advantage of Supriya’s lack of sight.

Kaabil begins to strike a chord here, because rape of people, including men and women, with special needs is something we often hear and read about. But can they strike back?

Sanjay Gupta is the director of Kaabil.
Sanjay Gupta is the director of Kaabil.

Here, Hrithik requires the expertise of Sanjay Gupta, who has a penchant for saturated colours and Korean thrillers. He believes revenge is best served cold, and blind.

Gupta tried but failed to strike a common chord with the audience in Jazbaa, mostly because his characters spoke a language alien to the middle class. In Kaabil, he makes Rohan and his folks believable. They are suspicious of the bad neighbourhood and police. On top of that, Ronit Roy makes sure the audience dislikes him from the very first scene.

As a doting brother of a crook, he is someone who you need to watch your back, especially if you have criminal intentions.

Kaabil is a revenge drama.
Kaabil is a revenge drama.

But he has done it before: In Udaan, Boss, Two States and every other film he acts in. And by now, he knows his characters like the back of his hand.

Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Gupta consciously don’t project Rohan Bhatnagar as someone you should pity. This works and you realise this is the story of an underdog you want to win. But you need more than a few ‘Kamzor mat samajh’ kind of dialogues to completely root for Rohan.

So the director allots more screen space for the techniques used by Rohan Bhatnagar. It’s a nice way to take the story forward because Kaabil, in a way, is a mixture of two genres of films. If the first half is packaged as a love story, the second half is more of an action film.

Kaabil can be a good competition for Raees.
Kaabil can be a good competition for Raees.

The tone of the film takes a hit because of the emphasis on the love story. The flashbacks are also restrictive. With a fierce antagonist, they might have gone all the way. Sometimes it looks too scripted and ‘too easy to be true’ story. Going all out on revenge might have helped Kaabil appear like a ‘different’ film.

Gupta wants to take a different route at one point where Rohit Roy and Hrithik Roshan fight using rods. They keep exchanging the rod to beat each other up. The idea of make them look headstrong initially works, but they go back to usual drill shortly after that.

It is Hrithik’s film from the word go. He is there in almost every scene, and he seems to be in control of the proceedings. As a person who has suffered and is holding himself back from crying, he has done fairly well. Yami Gautam, like Ronit Roy, is already typecast as a wife/lover who leaves her partner midway.

Barring the regular approach to filmmaking, Kaabil embellishes Hrithik credential as a fine action hero.

Kaabil is not extraordinary, but it has all the elements of a ‘masala’ potboiler. The catch is that it’s been dished out in a typical Bollywood style which may not give it a novelty. But there isn’t any particular reason for not watching it.

Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha


    Rohit Vats is a film journalist who loves to read in between the lines. He can spend hours watching films and cricket matches. Also a script consultant.

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