Kaabil is not an Indianised Daredevil. It’s as local as Mumbai corporator, Madhavrao Shelar who disturbs the tranquility of newly-wedded Rohan Bhatnagar and Supriya Sharma.
Director Sanjay Gupta lays the foundational bricks of a sweet romance between visually impaired Rohan and Supriya, where challenges are met with laughter and even dance. When friends set up a coffee date for the couple, Rohan begins to unabashedly woo Supriya and later laughs that it was love at first sight. That’s how lightly they accept their handicap. Rohan asking Supriya for a dance and the whole class where she’s a pianist supportively joining in establishes that they intend to waltz through life. Together, they could’ve made a beautiful marriage. But not when the corporator’s brother Amit covets the new bride.
A thriller is best gauged by how crisply it’s told and how curiously the viewer awaits what’s going to unfold. Kaabil scores high on its tautness. There’s sophistication in the storytelling that doesn’t let even a first night sequence become adult content. And the revenge of Rohan is chilling without blood spill.
While politics and the police make a formidable foe, there’s cleverness in Rohan’s relentless revenge. Senior police officer Chaubey’s stand is interesting with just that fleeting feeling of empathy that keeps him from nailing the avenger. By adding that bullying a blind man without proof would have the media and the public at the door of the police station, Chaubey is able to justify not dragging Rohan in for the third degree.
There are dialogues especially about the visually challenged that offer a new thought. When Chaubey warns Rohan that an eye for an eye will make the world go blind, Rohan counters it by saying that it’ll make a beautiful world. Have you ever heard of a blind man raping a woman?
However, there are a few points to quibble over. Without going into fingerprints and other forensic evidence to complicate it, the screenplay is straight to the point of being simplistic and sometimes convenient too.
After all the independence, piano playing and a vague reference to an NGO, Supriya inexplicably becomes a stay-at-home housewife making parathas.
And the remix of Saara Zamana signals that music director Rajesh Roshan didn’t have a fresh chart-busting original that could’ve been a better draw for the film.
But the positives are far more. Yami Gautam as a role where she doesn’t go beyond looking pretty. It’s, therefore, a superb solo act by Hrithik Roshan who gives Rohan the Koi Mil Gaya brand of clean innocence before he turns into a man whose wife must get the justice the system couldn’t give her.
Ronit and Rohit Roy as the Shelar brothers provide menace without slipping into sleaze and Narendra Jha as Chaubey is as crisply impressive as his Khaki Vardi.
For a thriller that’s crafted well, Kaabil gets a 4 star rating.