What happens when a filmmaker obsessed with saturated colors makes a movie about blind people? In Kaabil, a couple with visual impairment is not aware of the darkness that surrounds them, till they are consumed by it. It doesn’t take long to realize that it is a standard romantic-revenge film where blindness is a mere device to add to the vulnerability of the protagonist. The rest of the film is a dreary reimagining of Korean-style violence with a tagline ‘Revenge is best served in the dark.’ And yet, in Rohan Bhatnagar (played by Hrithik Roshan), we see glimpses of Rohit, the doe-eyed over-enthusiastic kid who saved an alien. Not to mention Rohit who used to ride bicycle and make omelette with panache. The only achievement of Kaabil is resurrecting the iconic persona of Rohit that we all fell in love with at some point. In the beginning of Kaabil, Rohan and Supriya (Yami Gautam) go on a blind date. Did I mention both of them are blind? After few adventures at the mall and reenacting the iconic Tango dance scene from Scent of a Woman (in Bollywood style of course), they instantly fall in love and get married. Their marriage life is happy, which is depicted by love bites and customary romantic songs. Hrithik and Yami are beautiful to look at. Little does the audience know that the sweet and smushy romance is just a starter to a gory meal Mr. Gupta has ordered from a Korean restaurant. In Bollywood, a villain is a person, ideally male, who is either a drunkard who likes to molest women or a corrupt politician. They are bad just for sake of it. What makes them weak is the lack of motive. Kaabil too has archetypal baddies, a spoiled brat (Rohit Roy) backed up by a corrupt politician (Ronit Roy), but at least they can act and are not getting beaten up by an invincible protagonist. Kaabil can be hard to sit through, not because it’s silly, but because of brutality protagonists are subjected to. It’s another film where Yami Gautam dies a tragic death. The way Hrithik’s character transforms is palpable. The only glimmer of light in his life has vanished. He is not fighting against the ‘corrupt system’, he is simply going after the murderers who are responsible for the suicide of his wife. He plans the revenge, but his planning is not meticulous. Every time something goes awry and puts him at disadvantage, he somehow manages to overcome it by instinct and magically survives. He not only kills bad guys but makes their death appear like suicide. Being a professional dubbing artist, he uses his voice to manipulate them and invites them at locations where he has already set the trap. Like any other Hindi movie, the villain drops the weapon (because that’s not fun) and decides to beat the living pulp out of our hero with his bare hands. Action sequences, although violent at times, are cleverly choreographed. It isn’t the usual over the top action that defies the laws of gravity. Kaabil is not a superhero movie, so any comparison with Daredevil or such films is invalid. Hrithik here is a normal guy with a disability who is out for revenge. That’s what makes it interesting. Kaabil has its fair share of flaws, animated locations, cheesy dialogues and scenes that don’t make sense (i.e. blind couple taking selfies). There is an item song midway that tries too hard to wow the audience but only breaks the momentum of story. Having said that, this is the film both Hrithik and Sanjay desperately needed, given the disasters they delivered recently. Although polar opposites from each other, Kaabil and Koi Mil Gaya deliver the same message: not to take advantage of anyone’s weakness. Keeping that in mind, if you’re willing to blindfold yourself at certain flaws, Kaabil is capable of moving you in a way only Hrithik can.
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