Produced by: Sujoy Ghosh, Jayantilal Gada
Written by: Sujoy Ghosh, Ritesh Shah
Story by: Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair
Starring: Arjun Rampal, Vidya Balan, Jugal Hansraj
Music by: Clinton Cerejo
Release Date: 2 December 2016
Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh is an upcoming 2016 Indian thriller film directed by Sujoy Ghosh and produced by Ghosh and Jayantilal Gada. It features Arjun Rampal and Vidya Balan in lead roles. It is not a sequel of the 2012 film Kahaani but next installment from same brand. Principal photography took place from March 2016 to May 2016. The film is scheduled for release on 2 December 2016.
In 2012 came Kahaani, a sleeper hit of the year, which had all the ingredients of an edge of the seat thriller with a refreshing plot and even more refreshing twists and turns. So, you can only have huge expectations from its sequel, oops sorry, from Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh, which is from the same franchise alright but in terms of storyline or characters has little to do with the first one.
Yes, like the previous one Kahaani 2 rides on its lead actor Vidya Balan and the directorial skills of Sujoy Ghosh, who proves his craft once more at least in the first half.
To begin with it has all the thrilling elements in place. Vidya Balan as the harried mother worried to death about her wheelchair-bound daughter. Mini wins our hearts straight away. That something ominous is about to happen and the daughter is going to be kidnapped is written right on the wall.
To give Ghosh his due he does keep us on tenterhooks as we are as perplexed as intrigued. Who is Vidya, what is her relationship with her daughter, with the police officer Inder (Arjun Rampal) investigating the case? All these questions keep the tension going; thick and strong. Soon Inder stumbles upon her diary. He puts the jigsaw puzzle together for us. And here a social cause takes over. Child sexual abuse is a rather significant issue often brushed under the carpet. For a maker to address it through a thriller is indeed a very brave choice. And full marks to Ghosh for integrating it well within the genre.
But sadly the thematic underpinning also makes the film a tad too predictable. Though he throws in enough surprises to hold the viewer, you know where the film is going to end up. Unlike Kahaani , where the heavily pregnant Vidya Bagchi hides many secrets in her womb, here the mother- daughter relationship and their travails unfold in exactly the way you think it would. In Kahaani , Ghosh was always one step ahead of the viewer pulling off wool over their eyes at each step. Here, though faithful to his genre and the setting in Kalimpong, he can’t quite replicate the same feat. Besides, the baddies here are absolutely black. Yes, Jugal Hansraj despite his good looks manages to pack those dark shades to his despicable character. But it’s too uni-dimensional a portrayal of a bad guy. Ditto for the actress, who plays the greedy meanie constable.
Arjun Rampal as the cop with a connection to Vidya / Durga does full justice to his meaty part. Yet, you do miss Parambrata Chatterjee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Nawaz has since then gone to play many stellar parts but you can never forget his ACP Khan act. The two gifted actors had added so much depth to that film.
No doubt Kahaani broke new ground. As a rule franchise installments rarely meet the standards set by the first. But with Sujoy at the helm perhaps one all but expected him to deliver another ace if not ace his previous signature. However, if you can rein in your expectations and treat it as another independent film it’s a decent watch for sure. Editing, cinematography are superlative. Plus once again Vidya proves that she can come up trumps in a de-glamourised part in a heroine-oriented film. Wish one could say the same for the film which is let down by conjectures in its Kahaani and the (fair unfair) comparison with the previous outing.