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Friday, June 2, 2023

Kaamyaab Movie Review: Thought-Provoking Tribute to Bollywood’s Forgotten Gems

Kaamyaab which stars Sanjay Mishra as Sudheer in the lead depicts the story of a sidekick who was prominent during the yesteryears of Bollywood.

Sanjay Mishra plays the role of a side actor who wants something special in his 500th film, whose dialogue from a film has become quite famous “ab bas enjoying life, aur option bhi kya hai”.

Sudheer has been a part of 499 films, and he is in search of something extraordinary in his 500th film, will he be able to find a perfect film is what the story reveals later.

Backed by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, it provides an eye-opening insight into the Hindi film fraternity.

There have been several Bollywood underdog movies in the past – be it Rangeela, Om Shanti Om, Heroine, Shamitabh and even Dibakar Bannerjee’s segment in Bombay Talkies, to name a few.

But most of these works have glamorised the industry… Whilst attempting to address various issues surrounding it.

However, this Hardik Mehta directorial sensitively and smartly addresses other topics related to cinema  – be it sexual harassment or nepotism… All majorly in dialogue and through light humour.

Given that ageism and authentic casting are major discussions happening in the industry today, Kaamyaab is all the more relevant.

Unlike other movies, this one is realistic, portraying cinema to be an ordinary entity and an actual workplace, rather than some dreamy or idyllic world.

In the process of doing so, Mehta brilliantly narrates this story through the lens of Sudheer – the senior actor (Sanjay Mishra) who is almost in denial of his fading world and faces a dissatisfaction towards his career. 

It almost reminds one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

But the difference here is that whilst we empathise with Mishra’s character, he is not essayed to be this ‘naive’ person victimised by the atrocities of the world. 

We, in turn, witness a conflict of eras and age… An aged character attempting to work in a constantly progressive and changing environment. 

Moreover, there is also this notion of coming to terms with one’s identity and circumstances in life.

For example, there is a scene in which Sudheer is intoxicated and he imagines all these ‘challenging’ people in his life appear, demoralising his spirit and conscious.

Such sequences are hard-hitting and thought-provoking, showcasing how loneliness and one’s discontentment can really haunt an individual.

Seeing a ‘fictitious’ character undergo this, it begs us to question how many more such artists there could be in reality and to what extent are we ignoring them? 

As such, the ending takes the film to another high. It fully summarises Sudheer’s journey in a visually aesthetic way, where the slow-motion creates a theatrical atmosphere.

It brings a tear to the eye and is heartbreaking to witness as it makes us realise the fickleness of society, but it is equally empowering.

In this particular montage, Hardik Mehta signifies famous proverbs like “all the world’s a stage” – which further imply that whilst fame is momentary, the impact of it is eternal.

Sanjay Mishra as the lead actor is exceptional, to say the least. He breathes life into a role which could be appropriate to many other artists in Hindi cinema today.

Mishra carries the role superbly on his shoulders… He does not hesitate to mould himself entirely into the character. 

Accompanying Mishra are other well-known actors like Deepak Dobriyal, Avtar Gill, Isha Talwar and Vikas Verma, to name a few.

They all deliver their parts with supreme satisfaction and are key in contributing to the overall narrative, as well as the main character. 

Undoubtedly, the movie is enriched with some highly positive aspects.

But since there is also a sub-plot of Sudheer’s dysfunctional relationship with his daughter. It would’ve been more interesting to see this aspect more developed.

I wanted to resonate more closely with the father-daughter bond more, with additional details on how it became so distant.

Having said that though, Kaamyaab works… Not only cinematically but even due to its societal allegories. 

Due to its satirical and compelling vibe, it can be easily dubbed to be the Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro of today’s generation.

Unlike other Hindi movies based on cinema, this one is grounded, eye-opening and extremely relevant… In which Sanjay Mishra delivers a performance which begs for a standing ovation.

Amongst the best films this year, for sure!

⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4/5 stars)

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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