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Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review: Simplistic Revenge Drama

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review Rating:

Star Cast: Shreyas Talpade, Madhoo, Vijay Raaz, Aksha Pardasany, Gaurav Daagar, Rishabh Kohli

Director: Soham P. Shah

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review Out. (Photo Credit – Youtube)

What’s Good: A few performances, especially by Madhoo

What’s Bad: The film seems too lengthy at 131 minutes!

Loo Break: Not really—or very often!—depending on your viewpoint

Watch or Not?: Fans of Shreyas Talpade, Madhoo and Vijay Raaz can have a dekko

Language: Hindi

Available On: Theatrical release

Runtime: 131 Minutes

User Rating:

Dev (Shreyas Talpade) is an NRI, the only son of an indulgent and well-to-do father (Alok Gutch) in India, who wants him to leave his New Zealand job as he will finance a startup for him there. Daddy even wants to join him there but dies during the lockdown, and so Dev cannot even come for his funeral. And now, Dev has come to recover all his father’s investments and assets so that he can fulfill his father’s dream.

However, he encounters red-tape and bureaucratic hassles at every step (bank and property included) and meanwhile finds his friend and confidante, Gaurav (Gaurav Daagar) benefit repeatedly from the advice of a holy pandit, Anna (Vijay Raaz). On his first encounter, when he has merely accompanied Gaurav to Anna’s home, Anna tells Dev that he will not be able to go back (“Jaane ko nahin hona!”), and this prediction keeps haunting him as the delays and difficulties keep mounting, and his initial plan of returning to New Zealand after 10 days is stonewalled. Over 45 days pass.

Menawhile, Gaurav leaves, as he has got a job in Dubai and as this too was foretold by Anna, Dev starts believing in Anna’s powers, and consults him. Anna advises patience and some religious rituals to help bide over Dev’s “bad time”. And Dev follows them to the T.

His Indian girlfriend back home, Jia (Aksha Pardasany) frets for him and finally travels to India to look for him as he has stopped replying to her calls. And when she finds him, she gets a shock—Dev is now an ill man, who keeps seeing Anna, his wife Seema (Madhoo) and son Sameer (Rishabh Kohli) even when they are not around and has a fuzzy memory. Why has this happened? And what happens next?

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review Out. (Photo Credit – Youtube)

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review: Script Analysis

The surprise interval point of the shock that Jia gets portends a solid follow-up for the audience. What we do get, instead, is a far-fetched and implausible story of deceit, taken to silly lengths, that gets sillier when it turns out to be a victim’s revenge drama.

After all, wasn’t it mere coincidence that this young couple (Dev and Jia) returning to NZ get to spend 24 hours in Bangkok due to a flight cancellation. And this is where their tormentors now reside. And where, by one of those happenstances that can only happen in a Hindi film, Dev even spots and chases them! His getting to study the CCTV camera in a huge commercial centre in the city due to a local young friend’s clout is yet another aspect that is far from believable. And despite all the evidences in Dev’s favour, Jia still doubts her man’s mental well-being and keeps consulting the Indian psychiatrist on phone!

The script thus moves from a relatable first half (in the sense of the delays the NRI Dev encounters in everyday matters) to a fanciful second half. The way Jia behaves before arriving in India also does not make sense—she needlessly suspects Dev of forgetting or sidelining her and even thinks of moving on before a nondescript saheli advises her to go search for him in India, which she could have so easily thought of doing much earlier!

I also wonder at how Gaurav is shown earning his livelihood in the beginning: his car has a yellow number plate (which cabs have!) but the man only drives Dev around and hovers around him till it is time for him to move to Dubai. This may be explained reasonably by the subsequent developments in the story, but why should his vehicle be shown as a cab?

The extent of the plotting by a coterie of people against a rich NRI is also not shown credibly. And logic is tested far too often.

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review: Star Performance

In many films, especially in the last decade, performances have been like saving graces, but actors and acting can never compensate for a deficient script. Shreyas Talpade is immensely sincere, just like in his work in Kaun Pravin Tambe?, but cannot really pull off the angry vendetta-seeking Dev. For starters, he looks too guileless, and for another, his expressions lack the determined anger needed!

Madhoo is the unexpected delight in this film. As the benevolent Seema who later turns into a mercurial and wannabe glam doll, she is exceptional, especially in her expressions and dialogues delivery. Vijay Raaz is his normal competent self and convincingly portrays Anna. As Gaurav, Gaurav Daagar (also the film’s casting director) is impressive in the beginning as Dev’s buddy, but just alright in the second half as the nervous conspirator. Aksha Pardasany is good as Jia despite the limited role. The rest of the cast do not have much to do, and are adequate for the needs of the film.

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review Out. (Photo Credit – Youtube)

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review: Direction, Music

Soham P. Shah clearly believes a lot in time and fate as his last two films were named Kaal (2005) and Luck (2009)! And Kartam Bhugtam itself means “What goes around comes around.” The credit titles, however, feature a disclaimer about not endorsing the various rituals and supernatural elements shown, but the film ultimately attempts to prove that they are nothing but hypnotic mumbo-jumbo in the hands of a fraud god-man, which anyway is an established fact!

To his credit, the director (who now calls himself Soham P. Shah while being ‘Soham Shah’ in his earlier films), spins imaginative tales around fate or the supremacy of Time: Kaal talked of supernatural elements in the Jim Corbett National Park, if you please, while Luck was about a game organized by a gangster to test people’s luck, and there were similarities found between that film and the subsequent Korean series, Squid Game.

This time, having incorporated elements of crime before, Soham goes a convoluted route into making Kartam Bhugtam a thriller. Until interval point, we have a simple, realistic story. Post-interval, simple turns into simplistic and realistic into even absurd.

His direction thus makes this film’s two halves look like two different movies, and the switch is sudden. Moreover, the explanation is erratic and, as narrated, not convincing at all.

The music is by lyricist Shabbir Ahmed, and the very fact that anyone can moonlight today in any fashion underlines the mediocrity that pervades Hindi cinema’s greatest USP for decades—which was tuneful, situation-based songs with great words. We know that many lyricists of yore wrote lyrics to their own tunes or metres, like Anand Bakshi did, but they never dared to officially compose. And Shabbir fails at coming up with anything memorable in either department.

The background score by Amar Mohile is probably the worst aspect of this film. It is unforgivably loud, cacophonous and overdone, and reminds me of a legendary composer quipping, “In some films, where silence should be employed, the filmmakers insist on loud background score, like even when the hero is shaving and descending the staircase of his home!” Mohile does much worse, and that too unbearably!

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review Out. (Photo Credit – Youtube)

Kartam Bhugtam Movie Review: The Last Word

Being different alone is not enough to make a good film, said a wise director once, and that is proved here. Kartam Bhugtam works neither as a gripping revenge film, nor as the slice-of-life drama we think it is initially. A great opportunity for a rather unique thriller has been lost yet again.

Kartam Bhugtam Trailer

Kartam Bhugtam released on May 17, 2024.

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