Given Sanjay Gupta’s past filmography (which includes films like “Jazbaa” and “Shootout at Wadala”), it’s only natural that you arrive for the screening of his latest film with low expectations. Perhaps because of this, or because Hrithik Roshan brought his A game after what seems like ages, “Kaabil” (Able) is a surprisingly easy-to-watch film that keeps its eye on the ball.
Roshan plays Rohan Bhatnagar, a blind voice artist who doesn’t consider his lack of sight a handicap and maximizes the use of his other senses. He finds love in Supriya (Yami Gautam), who is also blind, and the two lead such an idyllic and at times saccharine domestic life for the first 45 minutes that it’s easy to presume tragedy is lurking around the corner.
Sure enough, the neighborhood strongman, Amit (Rohit Roy), who’s had his eye on Supriya for a while, accosts her while she is alone at home and rapes her. Their peaceful life shattered, Rohan and Supriya never recover. When yet another tragedy befalls him, and the police – under pressure from Amit’s powerful politician brother – do nothing to help, Rohan decides that revenge is his for the taking.
Gupta is uncharacteristically muted in his treatment of the film. There is none of the over-the-top emotion that we saw in his last film “Jazbaa”, and hardly any screeching background music. Just as Rohan plans his revenge with minimum fuss, Gupta also adopts a hassle-free approach to narrating his story.
The second half is shorn of trimmings, and save for a stray flashback sequence where Rohan reminisces about the past, the story focuses on his meticulous destruction of the people who ruined his life.
Since he is in almost every frame, Roshan is undoubtedly the focus of “Kaabil”, and he utilizes it to the fullest. This is the most confident performance we’ve seen from him since Zoya Akhtar’s “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”, and his performance lends credence to what would otherwise be just another one of the overdone revenge sagas.
As the powerful politician who finds himself at the receiving end of the protagonist’s ire, Ronit Roy is his usual menacing self, and Yami Gautam is convincing as the sweet girl-next-door, despite her tendency to smile a tad too much.
“Kaabil” may not be in the class of 2015’s “Badlapur” when it comes to exploring the nature of vendetta, but it doesn’t discredit the genre either, and the credit should rest on the shoulders of its leading man.