New Movie: Kaamyaab Movie Review |

Kaamyaab Movie Review

 Kaamyaab asks us to do something that we don’t usually do –shift focus from the hero to the actor in the periphery of the frame.

The bit player who has a few lines– like the henchman who runs in to say something to the villain,the doctor who delivers the bad news that the lead has only six months to live,or the lawyer who loses in court. Fundamentally the people you see in innumerable films however whose names you don't know since they aren't stars.They aren't character actors.They possess that amorphous conspicuous yet-mysterious space of superstar. Sudheer, played by a wonderfully frayed, fumbling, tragi-comic Sanjay Mishra, is that man. Sudheer’s first film was Heera Moti in Hong Kong in which he played the man standing behind the dead body.

The feature of his vocation was playing the cohort Shera whose mark line – Bas, appreciating life aur choice kya hai?– became a big hit.Over the decades, Sudheer has done 499 films. He’s now a retired recluse whose biggest joy is his alcohol and his granddaughter.After a botched up television interview, in which he sourly declares, ‘character actor ko aloo kaha jaata tha’ and ‘darshakon ke dilo mein sirf hero baste hain,’Sudheer decides that he must do his 500th film and complete his oeuvre.Writer-director Hardik Mehta, who co-wrote the dialogues with Radhika Anand, tells Sudheer’s story with empathy and affection. He keeps the humor intact with amusing recreations of film scenes from the 70s and 80s.He brings together many of the actors who actually lived this life– Avtar Gill, who plays a version of himself, Lilliput, Birbal, Guddi Maruti and Viju Khote who is best remembered for playing the iconic Kaalia in Sholay in 1975.

You remember Gabbar Singh’s killer line – ab tera kya hoga Kaalia? Khote passed away last year and Kaamyaab is dedicated to him.Incidentally he has 443 credits on IMDB as actor. Hardik is a keen observer of the film industry and he gets the details exactly right. Sudheer’s white boots and wig, the harrowed production head on the shoot, the slightly oily but charming casting director Dinesh Gulati. Deepak Dobriyal is terrific as Gulati who, as gatekeeper to Bollywood, enjoys his own unique stardom. The motto of his company is  ‘no couch, only casting.’ At Gulati’s office, overrun by aspiring actors, beverages are served in mugs that have Gulati’s own quotes on them. At one point, he tells Sudheer to drink juice because glow utar raha hai.

The textures of the film are real but not gritty. Hardik gives us an unvarnished view of what life is like for artists in the lower echelons. Every day is a battle to hold your positive thinking and your dignity.The film has heart yet it doesn't convey the passionate haul or profundity that a showbiz filmlike Luck By Chance did on the grounds that the composing isn't sufficiently sharp. Hardik relies too heavily on Sudheer and Gulati – the other characters, including Sudheer’s daughter, his close friend and his neighbor, have too little flesh on them. The star in the film, appropriately muscular and entitled, is especially bland. I understand that this is a film  about the sidekick but surely the hero could have  a smidgen of personality.

Sanjay Mishra, with his droll expressions and unsentimental manner, doesn’t let Kaamyaaab slip into melodrama but the climax, set in Sudheer’s  granddaughter’s school, feels too staged. Kaamyaab throbs with a nostalgia  for old-school Bollywood films, many of which were horribly cheesy,  but they had a certain innocence.The film celebrates that innocence and the sheer awfulness of those films. But it doesn’t acknowledge that the industry is more fluid now.

The prime exhibit being Nawazuddin Siddiqui whose blazing talent has propelled him  from a side actor to hero. The songs by Rachita Arora  don’t add much either. However, Kaamyaab fills in as a lightweight and essential tribute to the several entertainers who we know but then don't have the foggiest idea. Which makes it worth watching. You might also want to check out Hardik’s National Award-winning documentary Amdavad Ma Famous, about the kite flying festival in Ahmedabad. It’s terrific.

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