This is one film that seems to have set the blogosphere ablaze and rightly so. Several more accomplished reviewers have penned their thoughts on it before me and these are some of the ones that I really like.
Everyone I know has watched this by now, so there's no question of spoilers any more. I myself am very proud to have watched it twice- a rare feat for me that even the HUSBAND must doff his hat to!
I liked, no loved Kaminey because-
This is unabashedly about the brotherhood of the Kaminey-(wonder whether rascals/scoundrels would ever have the same wretched feel as saying 'Kaminey' does). Even your own heart betrays you ,as Gulzar Sa'ab (whose talent and simplicity never ceases to amaze me ) puts it- 'ek dil se dosti thi..yeh huzoor bhi kaminey'.Finally a Hindi film that thrives on the grey and possibly black in all of us- Sweetie, played by Priyanka Chopra pulls a fast one (pretends to stammer) to catch Guddu's eye and subsequently win his heart and coax him to practice unsafe sex!
Guddu, who is incapable of defending himself from the goons sent by Sweety's brother Bhope Bhau, manages to notice hat Sweety does not really stammer in course of the high voltage drama and action and accuse her of dishonest and betrayal when she has just saved his life, he is willing to dabble in some 'coke' trading when push comes to shove while advocating truth and honesty all along, Bhope bhau would gladly change his party, political allegiances and identity for ten crores and trade his sister for a generous contribution to his party fund by a certain builder! You get the drift...
However, Vishal's signature touch lies in giving each of these grey/black characters a redeeming feature which ensures that none of them remain cardboard cut outs, but come across as real with flaws, warts and all. So, Charlie, Guddu's evil twin , a small time crook in a horserace fixing gang wants a mere ten lakhs even though the 'cocaine' hes chanced upon is worth ten crores. Why? He wants to be a bookie and it costs just that much to set up a booking counter. Endearing, eh?
'Kaminey' takes the depiction of ironies to an altogether different level, pretty much the way our lives do. While, Guddu is propagating the message of safety loud, clear and musically as part of an ANTI-AIDS campaign by his NGO, his girlfriend sweetie announces that she is pregnant because their practices were not so 'safe', and to top it, this happened despite her tall claims of being a home science topper who was over confident that she would be 'safe' on that day.
Bhope Bhau's political career is based on the 'Maharashtra for Marathis' ideology, and at the pinnacle of his success (as his sidekick says- 'dus saal lag gaye bhau kalikh saaf karte karte.. phir mila interview TV pe live'), his sister Sweetie marries Sharma ji (flawless performance by Shahid Kapoor as the do-gooder, keep it safe and simple Guddu) from Barabanki!
When corrupt cop Lobo questions Guddu (mistaken to be Charlie)
This is retro with a twist in a way seldom attempted before in Hindi cinema. Vishal takes the classic twin formula (bachpan mein bichchde hue judvaa bhai), gives it a twist in the form of their individual quirks- one stammers and the other lisps his 's' es to 'f's ('f' ko 'f' bolta hai), one is good and has his trajectory planned out with defnite timelines for sex, marriage, honeymoon while the other is a rookie , currently small time with aspirations of becoming a big bookie and lives by the maxim that life gives you two choices- shortcut and chchota shortcut and you are what you are based on the road you leave, not the one you take! Now add to this a trio of eccentric Bengali brothers(Charlie's gang), a spunky, gritty Marathi mulgi portrayed par excellence by Priyanka Chopra(Sweetie- Guddu's girlfriend), corrupt customs officials, Bhope bhau and his Marathi political gang, Tashi- the north eastern drug warlord and his allies from Angola , a guitar with cocaine worth ten crores and then let all of these people's paths cross each other overnight in Mumbai ending with a fiery climax, guns blazing, blood and gore, emotions, drama, love, blackmail, finally reuniting the estranged brothers. What you get is this smart caper 'Kaminey'. I don't care whether this was inspired by Tarantino or Guy Ritchie, coz Vishal himself is inspiring enough for me- all his films so far have been refreshingly different(Makdee, Maqbool, Omkara, Blue Umbrella), he is as great a composer as he is a singer, the Vishal Gulzar chemistry is sheer magic right from the Maachis days and I could go on and on..
Watch 'Kaminey' for all these reasons and a few more.
This is the best repertoire of supporting actors that Ive seen in quite some time , apart from Dilli 6
- the new Bengali actor as Mikhail, the coke sniffing youngest brother in the Bengali gang is superb, so is Amol Gupte as Bhope Bhau, Tenzing Nima as Tashi to name a few.
This is clearly a coming -of -age performance by Shahid whom I would have been ready to bet my money on since his first film , but the poor fellow has had a run of bad luck for far too long , not to mention the unnecessary liason with Kareena Kapoor- whose Geet overshadowed Shahid's far more mature and controlled performance of Aditya in Jab we Met.
I loved Priyanka's portrayal of the street smart Marathi mulgi who organizes her own wedding , honeymoon with gusto amidst and despite threats from her brother and his gang. Her Marathi sounds authentic enough and the mannerisms are real and endearing- so her 'aai shapaths' and 'shee baba' s succeed in places that Aishwarya's very affected 'eesh' did not in Devdas.
As it happens in real life, your Marathi/ Bengali neighbour never bothers to translate his phrases for you-neither does Vishal and just like in real life, you do get the gist!