Screen is split in two. In frame one, Charlie (Shahid like never before, outstanding) flying high, gloating on his luck just entered his trailer to collect the fortune he stumbled upon, but greets uninvited guests, a Jai-Maharastra propaganda politician Bhope (new found talent Amol Gupte) and his minions. Bhope is looking for Guddu (Shadid, again) Charlie’s twin brother who married his sister Sweety (Priyanka in such a fiery, naturalistic performance). Being an UP native, Guddu can clearly put an end to Bhope’s political career. Guddu, in other frame is arrested by corrupt cops mistaken for Charlie for the high narcotics drug deal payload, the very same fortune Charlie was collecting to cash in the first frame. Circle is complete. Stakes are high. Everyone is balls deep in the game. Screen flashes “1/2” instead of “interval” card and we manage to catch some air in this breathless manic ride. Vishal Bhradwaj’s Kaminey is one of those tense, rich entertainments falling in the genre Quentin Tarantino and Coen brothers bred since their emerging heydays.
A departure from dark, his previous two superb back to back adaptations of Shakespeare’s great tragedies (Maqbool-Macbeth, Omkara-Othello) supremely talented writer-director reinvents himself with his latest. Still you sense the same filmmaker is present behind every frame. Setup this time is entirely pulp. Characters are gloriously straight off the neo noir literature pagess. Dialogues are deliciously crisp and plot is with a pulse. Working on his own screenplay and with editor Kaminey (means scoundrels) kicks into overdrive from scene one. It tells story of night that changes the life of its twin protagonists with speech impediments. One lisps, other stammers. Plot is convoluted with drugs, money, shiny stones, race fixers, corrupt cops, double crossing agents, mix ups, one of the best foot chases, crime syndicates, politicians, lovers walking jagged edges, and a little divine intervention. Teamed up with editors Meghana Manchanda and A Prasad, director tells his story with brilliant inter cuts, that loopy, elliptical way. Pop culture references subtle and are of not from west but of our own golden age of cinema (of R D Burman mostly) which adds up cinematic pleasures, one specifically nuanced one ‘Duniya me…’ where shirtless Charlie plays the holy-grail guitar at perfect moment. Music (by director again) is a sensation. Dhan Ta Nan is a masterpiece.
For two third of film its gritty dramatic narration just flows flawlessly. It’s only last act of the movie doesn’t keep high as its predecessors. The back story of twins in extended monologues almost breaks the momentum of its previous two swift acts. And finally it spins out of control for its hyper action comic Reservoir Dogs climax climax on large scale. But it doesn’t take away what Kaminey has achieved and has to offer and will open doors for pulp genre in here. Word is Go. Don’t miss this bewilderingly bewitching piece of pure entertainment.