‘Kadakh’: Care for a flat satire on suicide?

Not now, please! A film based on suicide would have to work really hard to get laughs out of us. ‘Kadakh’ is the laziest satire from the otherwise-excellent celluloid satirist Rajat Kapoor

Photo courtesy- Twitter
Photo courtesy- Twitter
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Subhash K Jha

Not now, please! A film based on suicide would have to work really hard to get laughs out of us. Kadakh is the laziest satire from the otherwise-excellent celluloid satirist Rajat Kapoor.

This time, I am afraid, Rajat has bitten more than he can chew. Considering the characters talk about and eat for a large part of the film, that pretty much sums up the way the cookie(and the mutton) crumbles in this film about a Diwali house-party gone horribly wrong.

Rajat Kapoor’s best-known work(in which he only acted) Bheja Fry was also positioned as party-pooping satire.Kadakh never takes off. Or, let me revise that. After an interesting beginning it goes rapidly downhill, with the ever-dependable Ranveer Shorey and his screen-wife Manasi Multani playing the most dour Diwali-party hosts you will ever encounter. Think of Peter Mukherjea and Indrani hosting a party on the night their daughter was bumped off. You think anything can be funny in that party?

Kadakh starts with a eerily smiling man barging into Sunil (Ranveer Shorey)’s home, introducing himself as the husband of the woman in his office whom Sunil has been…well…you know…and then the stranger promptly shoots himself splattering the walls with his blood. Moral of this self-confessed a-moral stranger: never offer a cuckolded husband a cup of tea on Diwali day.

Happy Diwali! I seriously think the premise of a cadaverous party is unworkable when the guests are a motley bunch of characters who seem to have drifted into this eccentric(I don’t want to use the oft-abused word ‘quirky) party from a Marathi play . They all have a false sense of self-worth and seem to behave desperately like people having a good time when in fact they are miserably uncomfortable.

I don’t know if that is what Rajat dispirited script meant to convey. Surprisingly some of the performances are very functional. In Rajat’s cinema every actor leaves an impression. Not this time. Ranveer Shorey as the beleaguered householder is as usual,bang-on. Though Rajat Kapoor playing an author on the verge of releasing his first book is interesting (though his track comes to a pathetic deadend, pun and no fun intended) it is Cyrus Sahukar as Rajat’s vain selfish friend-baiting jerk, whose deadpan expressions of disdain are to die for.

Tragically, Sahukar’s episode sits uneasily in the plot. Nothing quite fits into the narrative as fluently as we’ve seen Rajat Kapoor’s Raghu Romeo, Aankhon Dekhi or even Mantra. Speaking of Mantra Kalki Koechlin also walks into the bustling but lifeless party as a French woman at whom all the men take a dig in Hindi.

Now that is no way to behave with a party guest. But then etiquettes are the last thing on on the menu when a corpse is the key character. And the best inhouse joke they can come up with is about a character actor named Joshi played by Sagar Deshmukh asking everyone to call him ‘Sagar’. Oh yes, Manoj Pahwa and his screen wife play party guests wearing facemasks. Was that a 'joke' added after the pandemic?

What happens to the corpse at the end? Arrey, jaane bhi do yaaro!

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