2012’s Kahaani had a climactic twist you never saw coming. It adapted the iconic Usual Suspects’ technique when it first showed us a set of flashbacks narrated by the main character that we had no option but believe it. At the end you were suddenly told that it was all a lie and you were like hit by a ton of bricks. Kahaani won its writer-director Sujoy Ghosh the National award for Best Screenplay. Through “Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh” which released last week, Sujoy Ghosh expands this to a Franchise.
Kahaani 2 has a different protagonist and plot. From the initial responses, many pointed out at the absence of a hardhitting twist like the first installment. While it is not wrong to draw comparisons with the first part, I think that one factor does not take any shine away from Kahaani 2. There is one area where Kahaani 2 does a lot well – in how it very delicately and maturely handles the subject -child sexual abuse.
Few minutes into Kahaani 2, Vidya Balan is met with an accident and admitted in a hospital. Arjun Rampal, who plays the police inspector, discovers her diary and learns about her past. Few years back, Vidya was a school staff. She used to daily watch a girl been brought to the principal room for sleeping in the classroom. Vidya slowly befriends with the girl and asks what makes her sleep in the class. The girl replies – “Woh mujhe raat mein sone nahin dete”. From this point, Kahaani 2 travels a road most commercial movies wont risk to enter.
Kahaani 2 sends us the startling message that a kid might not be safe even around close family relatives. Alia Bhatt’s Highway dealt with the same theme but it came up only in its last portions. Why I liked Kahaani 2 more is here it forms the crux of the story and explores the subject deeper. The movie never shows a single scene of abuse but yet conveys the horror and the seriousness. It even touches upon a couple of things on what others could do about the matter.
There were two particular scenes that stayed with me as the movie ended. First is where Vidya makes the girl open up. Vidya tried asking the girl direct questions on who does it to her but it scared the girl and made her walk away. There is this one method that Vidya uses finally. She tells the kid that someone has started to abuse her, it is troubling her and her private parts are paining. Vidya projects herself as an abuse victim and now finds the girl immediately opens up and tells her story. The entire sequence was well thought and put across.
Another scene that struck me happens in Arjun Rampal’s story. Arjun has now read the diary and is aware of what had happened in Vidya’s and kid’s lives. Next day he takes a close look at the rickshaw driver who takes his daughter to school. He finds out that the driver gets nervous and acts suspiciously at his stare. He then tells his wife that he will drop his daughter from next day. This is what movie wants us to do too. Just keep our eyes open, look at things around our kids more vigilantly.
Kahaani 2 has Vidya Balan in as menacing form as she was four years back in Kahaani. The wonderfully gifted actress makes us go through her same desperation when she wants to protect the girl from the abuse. The good thing about Kahaani 2 is that it once again has a story that shines above Vidya Balan. Don’t get too carried away about the lack of unpredictability. Its not every day you find movies that have the boldness to deal with such sensitive subjects and even offers a tip or two on how to approach them. Kahaani 2 deserves to be watched by all.