Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new Hindi film Kanjoos Makhichoos which is now streaming on Zee5. The film does star Kunal Kemmu who is a prolific actor but also someone who always tries to do something different in terms of content. As a result, some of his works do miss the mark like the last week’s release Pop Kaun. But the other side of the coin states that you would also be served gems like Go Goa Gone or Lootcase in the process. Nevertheless, there is always a tinge of sincerity and honesty to his performance that makes you want to root for him.
As far as his new film Kanjoos Makkhichoos was concerned, it did promise to be a fun comic caper although as always I did venture into the film blind. I was still expecting it to be in the Lootcase zone given the title of the film but I was also skeptical on whether the story would be reduced to ‘Yet Another Small Town Tale'(at this point I didn’t know that the film was set in Lucknow which is a major city). So then does Kanjoos Makhichoos manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Kanjoos Makhichoos follows the story of a miserly man who saves money to send his parents for a pilgrimage until tragedy strikes one day. The story here is decently entertaining with a tinge of satire that is integrated in the drama. However, I couldn’t help but think that this was more middling than I would have ever imagined. The screenplay standing at a shade less than 2 hours does manage to keep the overall length under check but it is still half-hearted in its approach.
The drama has a generic three act structure here that definitely has its moments but doesn’t quite impress in its writing. The drama sets off with the introduction of the protagonist and his family wherein the primary trait of the protagonist being a miser is nicely highlighted. There are genuine moments of laughter in the first act and I was pleasantly smiling at the proceedings. The bond between the protagonist and his parents and wife is warm and definitely does connect with you by tugging the strings of your heart gently.
The proceedings are decently entertaining once the first conflict is introduced. There is a sense of uncertainty as urgency kicks in following a tragedy. I did like how the change of events did transform this drama into a satire although my main issue here was that it was all too convenient. The entire episode of the parents returning out of nowhere just did not land well and it should have been written in a more believable manner. That apart, the humour also starts to get quite forced and that is when the slide begins.
The third act does raise some valid and relevant questions which is a big loophole in our system even today. But the impact is just not there owing primarily to the over the top antics of the drama. The writers were clearly caught in a dilemma on whether they should take the route of a comedy or a satire and in the process the drama did get somewhere stuck in between. The proceedings are lame and abrupt, something that just doesn’t seem to do justice to the larger issue in hand. Even the resolution is half-hearted and far too simplistic to cater to any sort of impact. What is more is that this final act did bring the overall bar of the film down. The writing ought to have been sharper for a satire. So overall, the screenplay here can be termed as a missed opportunity that does form a drama which is neither here nor there, just middling!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty at a few places and they will definitely make you smile. The music is decent but a couple of the songs stall the flow of the drama. The BGM is average and not at all memorable. The cinematography is decent, the editing is patchy and could have been sharper. Director Vipul Mehta does a decent job but cannot elevate the drama above its script. And the direction does fall apart in the final act which nullifies most of the good work done early on.
The performances are quite good here. Alka Amin as Saraswati is pretty good. Piyush Mishra as Ganga has an impeccable sense of comic timing and he finds humour at unexpected places. It was a pleasure watching Raju Srivastava perform and it did sadden me that we are now left with only memories of him. Shweta Tripathi Sharma as Madhuri has a pleasant presence onscreen and she does generate an impact on the screenplay. Kunal Kemmu as Jamna is terrific and does an incredible job yet again. But this is another good performance of his in a bland film and he may need to revisit his script selection moving forward.
Kanjoos Makhichoos is a middling satirical drama that ends up being bland. Available on Zee5.