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Karwaan  : Pleasantly Predictable Journey
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Friday, August 3, 2018
Comedy
Akarsh Khurana
Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar

It’s a pretty cool urban setting in an IT company where Avinash works. There are posters that spout wisdom like, ‘Don’t complain. Unemployment is a lot worse’.

 

Avinash is a nice guy who’ll go out of his way for people he’s never met and put money in a stranger’s pocket. But he’s completely without emotion when he has to collect his father’s coffin and doesn’t even take a last glimpse at him. It’s his friend Shaukat who discovers that it’s a lady’s body in there and there’s been a merry mix-up. Seems nice guy Avinash hasn’t been on talking terms with his father who forced him to take up a job instead of pursuing his passion for photography.

 

That seen-before generational conflict done with, predictability sets in. Meet the casual, insensitive courier handling the coffins. It’s the expected black humour, of course.

 

Avinash sets off with the lady’s dead body in Shaukat’s van.Last year, Chef took us on a somewhat similar journey to the South with picturesque scenes on the way.

 

Avinash and Shaukat fetch Tanya en route. It’s her grandmother’s body that they’re carrying to Cochin where Avinash’s father’s body awaits them. Don’t question why someone who’s never met them, would ask total strangers Avinash and Shaukat to fetch her daughter on the way.

 

Although the mix-up of dead bodies is a good enough premise for a dark comedy, the contrasting characterisations are typical. Avinash is the quiet one, Tanya is chirpy, loves vodka shots, talks of virginity or rather about having lost it, and yes, it’s obvious she’s the one who’ll draw Avinash out of his shell. Shaukat is the man who provides the humour. And a threesome that doesn’t hit it off right away will end up as friends forever.  

 

Director Akarsh Khurana tries to be different and he does succeed in establishing a pleasant contemporary India. But most of the detours look forced. Like going out of the way to deliver a parcel which could’ve been left with the domestic help at the given address instead of going to a wedding to personally hand it over.

 

There’s an obvious tying up of threads: sorting out unfinished business with an old college flame or finding a diary which forges an emotional bond with a dead parent.

 

What perks it up is the cast. Dulquer Salmaan has a likeable screen presence. But it’s Irrfan Khan as Shaukat who livens it up with his unique dialogue delivery which infuses humour into the most ordinary lines. Like when he says, ‘Ma Nano pe’ meaning the grandmother’s body that’s been strapped on a Nano car. Even when he’s politically incorrect about a woman’s clothes, he makes it seem inoffensive. And he has the best romantic track with burkha-clad Rumana. So I’d say, watch it for Irrfan.

 

Verdict: With a lot of the dialogues in English, this is definitely a film for a very slim multiplex audience. For a road journey with somewhat familiar characters and situations, Karwaan gets a 2.5* rating.

 

Direction: 3.5/5
Story: 2.5/5

Screenplay: 2/5
Dialogues: 3/5

Music: 2.5/5

 

Reviewed by

Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author
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