QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM THE TALLINN BLACK NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL
It all begins as an entirely viable drama and then rough a third of the way through the film it descends into a farcical caper. Sunil is alone at home and then a stranger knocks at his door. He says that they are related “by blood” and asks to come inside. A reluctant Sunil invites him in and offers him tea. Only for the stranger to reveal that he’s husband of Chhaya, the woman with whom Sunil is having an affair. The stranger proceeds to kill himself.
Sunil’s wife arrives at home and sees the corpse. Sunil does not want his wife to know that he’s having an affair, so he claims that the dead stranger is someone whom he fired recently. She buys the lie, and they conceal the body in a large wooden chest, just in time for the guests to arrive in their flat for the sumptuous Diwali party that they couple are throwing.
Each guest brings a new subplot along, including an elated friend who just landed a publication deal (played by the filmmaker Rajat Kapoor himself), an unpleasant elderly couple donning surgical masks and a pretty French lady who happens to be a “mentallist” (a person who read minds; her vaguely creepy and credible performance is one of the highlights of the film). To Sunil’s despair, weven Chhaya eventually decides to show up in search of her husband.
In the final third of the film, the deeply twisted values of each guest begin to surface. People are far more concerned about their job, their success, their appearances and even a Vietnamese vase than about a human life. These people are all complicit of each other in their corruption. They are “a-moral”, which is clarified by the means of in intertitle in the very beginning of the film.
All in all, Kadakh is an auspicious caper. The action is fast-faced enough to keep you hooked during the 96 minutes of duration. A jazzy music score with plenty of percussion and sax also helps to keep the action going. You will feel like you are inside someone’s flat in India during a Diwali party. There are a few continuity errors (such as the sun inexplicably rising from one sequence to the next without any time lapse), but this won’t prevent viewers from enjoying the film.
Kadakh is showing in the Competition at the 22nd Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which is taking place right now. DMovies is following the event live, as special guests invited by the Festival.
The film was dropped from the Mumbai Film Festival last month after the director was accused of sexual harassment.