What's it about
Taking us back to the 90's, veteran film maker Subhash Ghai attempts to use the same formula that made films of that era work. Unfortunately in 2014, long drawn conversations, over the top loud costumes, characters that screech and scream to express emotions don't hold any ground. In a time when less is more, Ghai's story of Kaanchi (Mishti) a girl wanting to bring in social reform by seeking revenge for the wrong that has been done to her seems very out of place. Her journey from a small village up north to the hustle and bustle of Mumbai seems abrupt and the love story that seemed to have an interesting premise gets nipped in its bud early on. Ghai then uses vigil marches, corrupt politcians, and unrest among the youth to somehow try and make the subject look relevant. The attempt misses the bullseye by miles!
There is an old school vibe to the film, which might seem refreshing in a time when even close ups are digitally enhanced. Kaanchi and Binda's (Karthik Tiwari) pairing is fresh and the two manage to create some sizzle in their romantic scenes. Cinematography captures the lush locales, especially in the Sab Kuch songs which has been picturised beautifully. Among the cast Chandan Roy Sanyal comes as pleasant surprise in a badly written yet colorful role of an untrustworthy and unpredictable police officer. Mishti is no Madhuri Dixit or Manisha Koirala, yet she shows promise in the playful scenes and has potential to work on her diction and delivery to give a better performance next time. Karthik too is likeable and plays his character with the right boy next door meets loverboy charm.
Kaanchi's biggest flaw it fails to adapt to the changed sensibilities of todays viewer. In an effort to paint a grand picture it misses on the minor details. Naming characters Kakda and Bagola sounds very primitive. Even though the story is set in a quaint town in the valleys, the characters of this place have loud jarring personalities that do nothing to make the plot believable. It's too long, with songs that pop out of nowhere and dialogues that sound like lines you would hear from a 90's TV show. Rishi Kapoor and Mithun are wasted in caricatures they would want to forget having ever played. Mishti's make up is as uneven as her diction. She screams and screeches every time she wants to make a point! The Kambal ke Neeche song is a sad attempt on Ghai's behalf to remind us of his legacy and getting Mahima Choudhary to make that cameo makes it look even worse. Writing is shoddy and the editing in the second half looks like a bad cut paste job. Just when you think the climax is about to wrap up its business, the film breaks into a patriotic song that tests our patience beyond limit. Had the story been a revenge drama with some element of thrill, Kaanchi might have had a different end.
What to do
Standing out like a sore thumb in todays crowd of smartly written scripts and performance driven films, Kaanchi struggles to make her own identity.