Bengali Film Khaad (2014) Review; A Soul-Stirring Musical Journey of Human Lives from Darkness unto Eternal Light



After a very long time a Bengali movie has hit the screens this Friday which will touch your heart in a way that the Bengali audience was missing for quite some time. Director Kaushik Ganguly’s Khaad is not just brilliant in its story-telling but also in the very humane and touching sub-plots of Life, Secrets, Endings and Moving on-s.

A group of tourists on their way to North Bengal get stranded in the Mall Station due to a local bus and car strike. Among them is a Christian priest who arranges for a bus from his missionary center which picks up the stranded group and starts on its way to Lava. But in an unforeseen turn of an unfortunate event the bus meets with an accident and slides of the hillside in to a deep gorge (Khaad). Fortunately the entire group survives but finds themselves absolutely stranded without any help deep inside the gorge. Rajib (Kamaleshwar Mukherjee) is a trained trekker who advices the group to stay put in the gorge for the night and start climbing uphill the next morning. In the group, there are Jeet (Saheb Bhattacharya) and Poonam (Mimi Chakraborty), a newly-wed couple on their honeymoon, Khokhon (Kaushik Ganguly) who has brought his mother Sabita (Lily Chakraborty), a terminally ill cancer patient to the hills to fulfill her last wish to see Kanchenjungha, Doctor Shidhhartha (Bharat Kaul) and his sister Moushumi (Tanushree Chakraborty), the Christian Priest (Ardhendu Banerjee), a Hindi school teacher from the hills, Tiwariji (Masood Akhtar), a famous Bengali actress Aparna (Gargi Roy Choudhury) and her brain damaged brother Avik (Rajdeep Ghosh) and another family from Kolkata with Mohonkumar (Kaushik Banerjee), his wife. Shiuli (Pallavi Chatterjee), their daughter Meghna (Tridha Choudhury) and younger son Tito (Pratyay Basu). Polton, the bus conductor (Rudranil Ghosh) is also with the group. And how the group then survives through the night in that lonely dangerous forest-surrounded gorge and what happens to them next are what the film, ‘Khaad’ is all about. As the group spends the night together, many secrets are revealed, which peak at the climax of the movie, and the story ends with a sudden and shocking final secret being revealed to the unsuspecting audience.

Kaushik Ganguly has indeed brought together a marvelous and convincing cast. Mimi Chakraborty, as Poonam, Tanushree Chakraborty, as Moushumi and Gargi Roy Choudhury, as Aparna are just brilliant. Mimi’s unabashed portrayal of Poonam who doesn’t hesitate to bad mouth people and almost constantly crib is very spontaneous and uninhibited a portrayal. Tanushree Chakraborty is just a pleasantly shocking revelation in the movie with her very natural bold portrayal of a high society girl who is brutally honest about almost everything. Gargi Roy Choudhury is as serene, mature and poignant in her subtle undertones and facial expressions and has done perfect justice to her character of a famous glamour girl with a broken personal life. On the other hand, three male actors are as stunning as the three ladies are – Kamaleshwar Mukherjee as Rajib, the trekker with a secret life, Kaushik Ganguly, as Khokhon, the dutiful son and Rajdeep Ghosh, as Avik, the abnormal brother of the actor Aparna. Kamaleshwar is spontaneous, neat and sleek in his acting. He is the most convincing character in the entire league of male characters in the film. Kaushik Ganguly as the Bangaal son, apparently very loving towards his mother yet nursing a secret grudge, and with his Bangaal dialect and strong acting is also very convincing and wins the heart of the audience. But the one who wins our heart the most is Rajdeep Ghosh. who as the dumb, dialogue-less character is supremely brilliant and has done perfect justice to the pathos and the humane shades of the character. Pallavi Chatterjee enacts the constantly complaining and over-protective mother well while the daughter is played by Tridha who passes off as ok. Kaushik Banerjee as the helpless middle-class husband and father is also ok and nothing much is done to highlight his role. Masood Akhtar, the Hindi school teacher is very good and convincing in his stern yet helpless school-teacher attitude. Saheb again has not much to do in the film and he passes off ok as Jeet. Rudranil as Polton is very convincing and gives a very humane and fresh touch to his role. Bharat Kaul is ok as the doctor with a secret. Ardhendu Bangerjee as the Priest appears convincingly at-times stoic and at-times loving and compassionate a Christian soul. Lily Chakraborty as the cancer patient mother touches our heart in her soft, emotional, motherly, yet sensible and practical characterization which is pulled off by her quite well. Little Pratyay Basu as Tito is sweet and convincing. Altogether the ensemble of cast in Khaad is a very balanced and great team of mature actors, shining even more under the direction of a director as good as Kaushik Ganguly.

Story and direction by Kaushik Ganguly is fresh, new and quite engaging. Treatment of the story-telling is excellent with some brilliant frame compositions which are a visual treat. Cinematography by Soumik Halder is quite good. But one wishes that the night scenes were even richer in their light scheme. They fail to somewhere portray the mysterious and complex psychological character of the plot and the characters. Editor Bodhaditya Banerjee has done a very good job in putting together the many layered pieces of plots and subplots that the story by Kaushik Ganguly has entwined together as one thread. But one possibly has ‘Never’ heard such a Soul-stirring, Heart-wrenching and Breath-taking music and back ground music composition by Indradip Dasgupta!!! Must say he has taken the film to completely another level with his excellent renditions. But yes, ears well tuned to Tagore’s songs will very well identify Tagore tunes intelligently mixed with the music director’s own. Songs penned by Srijato are very apt for the theme and plot of the movie and songs ‘Muthoy Aaj’ and ‘Aami Aachhhi’ are beautiful songs with even more beautiful music. The climax song ‘Asodoma Sadgamayo’ is supremely brilliant but one cannot justifiably give the entire credit to the lyricist and the music director here, as the song is an intelligent blended version of the famous Manna Dey song, ‘Mahasindhur Opar Hote’. The Srijato-Indradip music team has cracked it supremely together with talent as well as intelligent use of existing pieces of brilliant music like from Tagore or from the cult Bengali song mentioned above.

The philosophy of the film is also food for thought if you want to read deeper into the text and the sub-text. The psychological complexities and secret issues that we need to unburden ourselves of in the whole process of moving on in life’s journey and moving from Darkness to Light and from Earthly Lies to Eternal Truth is depicted so well through the sub-text and the song ‘Asadoma Sadgamaya’, that has been used by the director in the film with a deep philosophical message, that one can only be left speechless at the end of the movie.

The only fault one could possibly find with Khaad is the abrupt ending of the narration. The end, the climax comes with a startling twist, which is a wow factor no doubt, but one only wishes only that the end was elaborated a little bit more by the story-teller Ganguly. Other than that, the movie is Flawless and strewn with some awesome humane moments created with the help of a brilliant screenplay and a heavenly music.

No need to say anymore I guess, Khaad by the brilliant Ganguly, is a must watch for every sensible and sensitive film lover. it will not only render an intellectual jolt to your mind at the end of the film, but also keep giving you goosebumps and keep making your eyes well up with happy and sad tears throughout the journey. Altogether, Khaad is another brilliant and a very different production by Shree Venkatesh films and Surinder Films, who keep surprising us with their sense of and trust in the potential of a good story and good film-making.

Sholoana Bangaliana Rating of Khaad : 8/10

Bengali Movie Khaad Review By:

Nivedita-DeyMs. Nivedita Dey is a Post Graduate in English from Stella Maris College, Chennai and has been working in the films and television industry since 2006 as a story and script writer and creative consultant. Nivedita has written for TV programs for channels like Star Jalsha, Life OK, Star Plus, Channel 8 etc. Nivedita has spent quite a few years in Mumbai working in the entertainment Industry there and is currently based in Kolkata and is working as a writer and creative consultant for Kolkata’s leading Production House Shree Venkatesh Films.

Nivedita has keen interest in literature, cinema, social and political issues and enjoys expressing her views by way of guest blogs and articles in popular columns and web portals.


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