‘Kathal’: Cast & Crew
Director: Yashowardhan Mishra
Cast: Sanya Malhotra, Anant V Joshi, Gurpal Singh, Neha Saraf, Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Yadav, Ragubir Yadav
Available On: Netflix
Duration: 1 Hour 55 Minutes
Two pieces of an exotic breed of Kathals (Jackfruit) go missing from the tree, in the garden of an MLA’s house in a small town. Police inspector Mahima (Sanya Malhotra) is assigned the case. The whole police unit is under a lot of pressure to find the kathals before they get ready to eat. The chief suspect is the gardener of the house who was recently fired, but when Mahima finds the gardener, it is discovered that his daughter has been missing for days and no one at the police station was lodging a report on the same, as the police was ignoring all cases to look for the MLA’s kathals. Mahima tricks everyone by showing that the kathals have been stolen by the gardener's daughter, and it was imperative to find her in order to find the kathals. How Mahima manages to juggle the high-profile kathal case and also investigate the missing girl case makes the premise of this light hearted comedy which is actually a satire on the government system. Will Mahima be able to find the missing girl? Will Mahima uncover a deeper undercover racquet of girls being kidnapped in the area? Will the kathals ever be found? Will the MLA punish Mahima? Or will he reward Mahima? Well, for all this you’ll have to watch the movie.
Sanya Malhotra is in top form. There is hardly a scene in the entire movie where she feels out of character. She has picked up the local lingo perfectly. To add to that, the way she changes body language between scenes is admirable. For example, when she is talking to her senior officers and when she is talking to the constable boyfriend, she just switches within seconds. She makes the character relatable and believable.
Rajpal Yadav proves once again why audiences love him so much. He can transform himself into any character, and ‘Kathal’ was another example of the same. The highs and lows that he manages to bring in the character of a local news reporter are too good. Not only did he get that look of a middle-aged bald-headed local channel's news reporter perfectly, he even got the essence of the character brilliantly. The way he reacts when he gets to see himself on a national news channel and the way he relishes the opportunity of going behind bars is pretty much perfect.
Anant V Joshi, who makes his feature film debut with ‘Kathal’, doesn’t have too much meat in his character to showcase his acting prowess. He tries to bring in an arc to the character from start to end but rarely manages to do that. It’s not his fault per se, as the character itself is too small and doesn’t have too much scope to waver outsides of its confines. Considering it’s his debut, I hope he gets to showcase his talents better in his forthcoming films.
Vijay Raaz and Gurpal Singh steal the scenes whenever they’re onscreen. Their hilarious antics and straight-faced acting make their dialogues come out even funnier.
A special mention to Raghubir Yadav. He may be having just a guest appearance in the film, but even in that, he steals your hearts away with the subtlety that he brings to the character.
‘Kathal’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Ashok Mishra and Yashowardhan Mishra’s writing is hilarious and it touches upon so many different topics and on so many different levels that you’re simply blown away. The accuracy of the facts makes the satire come out even more perfectly, and it makes you ponder about Indian society and the power that local politicians hold even in today’s times. The subtle topics of girl child or untouchability have been touched upon so beautifully and yet the script doesn’t feel boring at any point. You’re hooked till the very end, and so much so, even the post-credits scene, you’re waiting to watch. That’s the power of great writing.
Yashowardhan Mishra’s direction is also spot on. It may have been his debut feature film directorial, but he has managed to get the nuances so perfect that you will simply love the entire film. From making sure that the dialect of every actor is correct to getting the body language of the political and senior police officers correct – he has gotten this near perfect to what it would be in real life. To add to that, the tinge of comedy elevates the presentation even further. Lastly, the masterstroke of the climax where there is an entire fight sequence with nothing but just vegetables. It’s so brilliantly thought of, considering the entire film is a satire pegged around fruits and vegetables, that you simply remain in awe of it.
Ram Sampath’s music is good and memorable. Songs like ‘Radhe Radhe’ definitely stick on to you long after you’ve watched the movie.
Harshvir Oberai’s cinematography is also praiseworthy. The way rural locales of UP and MP have been depicted is brilliant. The indoor scenes as well are so well placed and nicely shot that you’re left feeling like you’re right there beside the characters and in the midst of the chaos.
Prerna Saigal’s editing is crisp and she manages to keep the film under 2 hours, which is fantastic. The film doesn’t get boring or sags anywhere in the middle, thereby keeping you laughing throughout.
‘Kathal’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Kathal’ is a brilliant satire on how local politicians take advantage of their position and power. It’s a tight slap on the political system of the country but said in a very humorous and relatable manner. Sanya Malhotra is in top form. It’s definitely a Must Watch. I am going with 4 stars.