A lot of people would have asked you this question – If there were only one seat on a boat and two of you were drowning, would you save yourself, or the other person? I am sure you could make up your mind in a minute or two while sipping that cola or leaning back on your favorite recliner.. but would you make the same decision standing on the peak of a mountain when the dark black clouds surround you with the rains piercing through your skin and the flood water being right under you, waiting to wash you away into its infiniteness?
Kedarnath is one of those movies that makes you feel like you want to keep your loved ones as close as you can. There are a lot of things happening at once in the movie, because initially what seems like a story of innocent but forbidden love turning into hatred between two religious communities and towards the second half, becomes a movie made with the larger perspective of selfless service to humanity in mind.
To throw some light on the storyline, Mukku/Mandakini (Sara Ali Khan) is the care-free, bubbly younger daughter to a Hindu Pandit in the village on the outskirts of the Kedarnath Temple. She is engaged to a local Hindu businessman – Kullu (Nishant Dahiya). However, her disagreement with her family and Kullu is strongly depicted in almost every scene with them.
On the other hand, Mansoor Khan (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a very grounded person, who works as a porter, locally called a “Pittho” who carries pilgrims to the main shrine of Kedarnath. The Pittho community is very small and resides in the same village but consists of Muslims. The first half of the movie is about Mukku taking daily rides with Mansoor to her uncle’s hotel to help him out as he isn’t keeping well. Contrary to the usual Bollywood story of the boy wooing the girl, here Mukku forms a liking towards Mansoor and tries to make conversations with him on their ride. Mansoor, initially being reluctant eventually gives in and is hopelessly in love with Mukku. There begins a love which does not seem to be a problem until the plot twists from a simple love story to hatred between the Hindusand the Muslims in the village. Amid this chaos, the unstoppable rains in the area is overlooked by the people and Mukku is forced to get married to Kullu. Considering that both their families were against their love, there is not much the lovers could do at that moment to get out of it. Meanwhile, the Pitthos are thrown out of the village by the Hindu community. This is when the flood hits the Kedarnath area. The Pittho community reach a safe area but Mansoor returns to bring Mukku back. As soon as he sees her, the water slashes in, and everything is submerged.
After the water level lowers, Mansoor, Mukku and her father are standing on a bridge over the flooding waters where Mansoor is faced with the dilemma – “whether to live or to let live?”
Kedarnath – you would feel the need of a rope way or a cable car to reach this destination, but the movie is a pure roller coaster ride. It successfully fulfills its aim of touching every chord of human emotion with its audience be it cheesy love, anger, happiness, jealousy, hatred, fear, affection.. and the list goes on. If you are in to watch the movie, it is a worth package even though the first half may appear to be moving at a slow pace.
A few technicalities that can be evaluated separately are-
- Performances: Being a debutant in the industry, Sara Ali Khan does justice to the role of Mukku. Be it her rebellious and chatterbox nature in the beginning of the movie or being emotionally traumatized towards the second half, her expressions and attitude are heart winning. Sushant Singh Rajput also is completely immersed into the role of Mansoor – a gregarious simpleton, compassionate, soft hearted and open minded character. His performance in scenes of distress are specially commendable as he portrays them very effectively. The supporting cast too, consisting of Nitish Bharadwaj (Mukku’s Father), Nishant Dahiya (Kullu), Sonali Sachdev (Mukku’s mother), Pooja Gor (Brinda) , Alka Amin (Mansoor’s Mother) and others have fulfilled their purpose of evoking a flood of emotions in the audience.
- Cinematography: The VFX employed in the filming plays an incumbent role in the making of the movie. Although it did make the floods look very real and frightening (trust me with the goosebumps you will get as the mountains and houses shatter into pieces), scenes where animals were involved in the flood may not have done the trick entirely. To add to the positives, the aerial shots of the Kedarnath Temple and the village express purely the bounty of colours in nature with the green, white and brown hills, the indigo sky, the blue green waters with the red and yellow roofs in the village. The shot of Namaz at the break of dawn is another peaceful still. The climax, needless to say, is a long lasting scene in the minds of audience and is metaphorically shot in white, implying peace.
- Music: Amit Trivedi’s Music in the movie is a plus point to the entire story. “Namo Namo” is an attention grabber. “Sweet Heart” may not seem that catchy when heard without a background story but when you have that in hand, it is quite an appealing song.
A lot of controversy surrounded the release of the movie. In fact the production of the movie had to be put to a halt when priests from Kedarnath revolted the release saying that it promoted “Love Jihad”. Due to many such cases (all of which were later dismissed), the release of the movie had to be postponed from June 2018 to December 2018.
After watching the movie, I truly believe that nothing offensive to any religious community has been depicted in the movie. In fact, the writer has narrated the story of the floods through the perspective of two lovers who already had so many obstacles to face only to strike a realization of the emotional loss faced in such natural calamities. In my opinion, Kedarnath reminds us of the values of pure, altruistic love, selflessness and unity – few simple qualities that only a handful of people possess in today’s world.
In conclusion, I choose to look at the movie as a tribute to every unsung hero in the Uttarakhand floods of June, 2013. The movie also instills hope in people that no matter what we lose, life goes on.
In all, Kedarnath is a great watch! From bits of Comedy to Romance and Tragedy, it has it all.
I would rate it 3 chirps since it is a movie in need of the hour – about forgoing religious differences and celebrating life, love and humanity.
Do comment and let us know what you think! 🙂