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Monday, December 11, 2023

Karwaan Movie Review: Irrfan Khan outshines with comedic prowess

Karwaan (A Group of Travellers) depicts Avinash’s (Dulquer Salmaan) journey following the death of his father in a tragic accident whilst on a pilgrimage.

Upon discovering there has been a mix-up of bodies, Avinash and his friend Shaukat (Irrfan Khan) set out to find his body and deliver Tanya’s (Mithila Palkar) Grandmother’s body who died in the same accident.

From seeing the trailer, Karwaan promises to be a life-changing journey, where each character finds redemption, hope, love and eventually themselves.

Filme Shilmy reviews this Akarsh Khurana film.

I must begin by saying that I love the film’s concept. It is not often in Bollywood that we see the death amalgamated with humour.

To portray this fusion in a self-discovery/road-trip style of a film, during the current era of remakes is quite refreshing.

Kudos to Bejoy Nambiar for coming up with this novel idea.

If anything, the movie’s narrative/concept will remain fresh in the audience’s mind and rightly so. It’s not every day you get to see a film revolving around a mix-up of dead bodies!

There are some clever punchlines, penned by Hussain Dalal, throughout the movie. A personal favourite of mine is when Shaukat tells Avinash, “Bhai, Maiyyat Pe Romance Na Kar.”

I mean who would tell anyone to not romance during a period of mourning?! It is wacky and unimaginable dialogues like these which really enhance the film’s comedic atmosphere.

The humour and uplifting storyline are topped up by the performances of the main cast. Irrfan Khan, firstly, steals the show. He is excellent as the sassy Shaukat.

Khan’s ability to maintain that poker face and deliver a funny line with such ease is superlative.

Plus, I love the small nuances like how he randomly interferes with a stranger’s conversation. It is these minute details which really brings the character to life.

Malayalam superstar Dulquer Salmaan makes his Bollywood debut in this slice-of-life film and he does a pretty good job. Though I felt that his reserved and somewhat wooden character has shades of Sidharth Malhotra’s role in Kapoor and Sons.

On many occasions, I felt that Sidharth vibe throughout his performance. Having said that, it will be interesting to see what he has to offer in forthcoming Hindi films!

Karwaan marks Mithila Parker’s second Bollywood film and she delivers her part well. She is quite convincing as a young, free-spirited college girl. I would like to see her execute more emotional roles in the future.

What is also quite invigorating to see, are the settings and locations. If you were delighted to see some stunning South-Indian natural surroundings in Chef, you get twice the experience in Karwaan.

As the film progresses through cities like Kochi and Kottayam, we, the audience is left mesmerised by the visually appealing locations. If anything, the film may assist you in planning your next holiday!

It is a given that the movie has several strong elements. However, what the film lacks, I feel, is character development. Throughout the movie, we understand the background story of Avinash.

Since the movie aims to be a self-discovery of these three central characters, I would’ve liked to see more of an emotional aspect of Tanya and Shaukat‘s lives, though we hear about it very briefly.

Also, there is a romantic song that plays in the second-half. This could’ve been done away with as it is not that productive for the movie’s narrative.

Overall, Karwaan is a simple, breezy and unique film. There are plenty of laughs in this venture and Irrfan Khan’s comedic act is the highlight of the movie.

A decent one-time watch!

⭐⭐⭐ (3/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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