Kathal movie review: A heartfelt and a genuinely funny satire on India's convoluted caste and power struggle
What: Kathal – starring Sanya Malhotra in lead is an amusing Indian socio political satire that touches the caste and power struggle in a fresh comic tone by director Yashowardhan Mishra
Kathal movie synopsis
Set in Bundelkhand, prized jackfruit from the Uncle Hong breed gets stolen from the garden of local MLA Munnalal Pateria (Vijay Raaz). A lower caste police inspector Mahima Basor (Sanya Malhotra) is inspecting this weird case along with his upper caste college and friend constable Saurabh Dwivedi (Anant V Joshi), Kunti Parihar (Neha Saraf), Mishra (Govind Pandey) and Pagad Singh (Sashi Ranjan).
SP Angrez Sigh Randhwa (Gurpal Singh) is under pressure to find the missing prized jackfruits at the earliest.
How the investigation of this prized Jackfruit dips deep into the socio political scenario and comments on caste divide, gender bias, media, system and more forms the crux of this social political satire.
First time feature writer - director Yashowardhan Mishra with his co writer Ashok Mishra opens the movie with a quirky chase of a wanted criminal with a remixed folk music playing at the background. After the successful catch, Inspector Mahima Basor (Sanya Malhotra) heads towards the mansion of MLA Munnalal Pateria (Vijay Raaz) to investigate the case of the missing prized Jackfruit. The milieu and the bundelkhandi dialect are apt.
Initially a touch of noted Hindi writer Harishankar Parsai – famous for his satirist and humorist writings in Hindi literature is felt.
Soon it takes the buffoonery/parody route with Anuj (Rajpal Yadav) a local channel reporter. The connection between corrupt politicians, police department a territory that has been used in mainstream and parallel cinema alike and Yashowardhan Mishra in his first feature gets it right.
The characterization is pitched perfect, not a single character is out of place, and no one gets over the top and/or underplays his/her role.
The writings make a sly attack as it touches the serious issue of girls going missing though the writer director’s eagerness or say fascination for quirks misses the satire from where it all began and in the illusion of doing something quirky it turns into buffoonery (for example the climax scene seems straight out from Annees Bazmee or David Dhawan movie). Adding more salt, pepper, and chutney to the wounds we see a talents like Raghubir Yadav and Brijendar Kala getting wasted. The character is not a wrong choice but usage is very limited.
Nevertheless, the music by Ram Sampat – Radhe Radhe for example sets the required folksy tone.
Making comments on caste divide, gender bias, media, system, dowry, machismo, poverty, girl safety etc. Kathal is a pleasure to see the actors giving their best.
Sanya Malhotra charms her way throughout in a role that demands restrain and controlled aggression with determination. And yes, her comic timings in those light hearted scenes are fun.
Anant V Joshi does well as the upper cast lover of his senior from lower cast Sanya Malhotra reeling in guilt of ignoring an important case.
Gurpal Singh as SP Angrez Sigh Randhwa is pleasingly funny.
Neha Saraf as Kunti Parihar the assistant to Sanya Malhotra who at her household is just a source to make aloo bondas and household work.
Vijay Raaz as the local MLA proud of his prized possessions including those stolen Jackfruits immersed in his pride of power, wealth and upper caste nails it with perfection.
Rajpal Yadav as the local reporter Anuj is terrific in his comic mannerisms.
Raghubir Yadav is good as always but should have been given more scope. Same can be said for Brijendra Kala.
Govind Pandey and Sashi Ranjan are competent.
Kathal final words
Kathal is a relevant comment, the juxtaposition of the tragedy and the lunacy of the circumstances is satirically twined with an investigation drama.