Kaagaz Review: Pankaj Tripathi, as Dead-On-Paper’s Band Director, Doesn’t Disappoint the Movie

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Kaagaz Review: Still from the movie. (courtesy pankajtripathi )

To emit: Pankaj Tripathi, Sandeepa Dhar, Satish Kaushik, Mita Vashisht, Amar Upadhyay

Director: Satish kaushik

Classification: 3 stars (out of 5)

Both Pankaj Tripathi and the rural wedding bandleader in the role he plays Kaagaz face an uphill task. The lead actor has to carry the weight of the entire film on his shoulders. She does it boldly, occasionally allowing her usual understated style to give way to a more demonstrative mode of performance. It performs the movement back and forth between the two poles without showing the tension.

The problems hampering Uttar Pradesh villager Bharat Lal, inspired by the real-life Lal Bihari Mritak, a man who had to fight tooth and nail for nearly two decades to prove he is alive, are not so easily solved. The antagonist in Kaagaz it is a mere entry in a government registry that has sealed the protagonist’s fate.

Bharat Lal: someone refers to him as Bharat ke Lal – is declared dead in government records as a result of the machinations of a branch of his family that will benefit if he ceases to exist on paper. The man overflows while trying to reverse a file entry in the registrar’s office. He realizes that the “fact” of his “death” is set in stone.

The long-term love affair of actor, director, and producer Satish Kaushik uses the bizarre situation of Bharat Lal as a means of bringing home the plight of an ordinary man in the face of a sloppy and lazy administrative system that thrives on bringing the already dispossessed beyond the world. floor. The underdog are easy meat. Kaagaz tells the story of a soul so unfortunate that he decides to fight back. The film conveys the desperation and tenacity of the man with enough force to pass the review.

The film, which is available on Zee5 Premium and in select UP theaters, begins and ends with Salman Khan (whose SKF banner is a co-producer) reciting a poem titled Kaagaz. Emphasize the centrality of pieces of paper in people’s lives. The lyrical suggestion takes on an ominous tone when viewed in the context of the dilemma of those who are condemned to an incessant struggle for survival.

The history of Bharat Lal stretches from 1977 (the year the Emergency ended) to the 1990s after liberalization (although there is no reference to opening up the economy). So is Kaagaz Just about a specific period in contemporary Indian history or are you trying to tell us more about the plight of the powerless? Obviously it is.

The film laments a political system in which citizens are reduced to mere numbers to be counted at election time. Aren’t they all as fine as dead? That is precisely what Kaagaz suggests – and what Bharat Lal echoes when he decides to try to mobilize other “officially dead” people like him from all over the country and spark a movement to claim their right to be counted among the living.

The story per se has a specific purpose: it puts the individual struggles of Lal Bihari Mritak on screen, but it resonates beyond the limited scope of a wronged man narrative. The story has a quality of believe it or not, okay, but we’ve seen much worse in more recent times. Do we even need to list where and how?

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The director, who also plays Bharat Lal’s astute lawyer and guide Sadho Ram Kewat, uses comedic touches in the early parts of the film to convey the absurdity of the situation. When Bharat, the owner of a wedding band, learns that the government has declared him dead, he becomes the object of ridicule in his village.

With little sympathy getting in his way, his wife Rukmini (M. Monal Gajjar in his first Hindi movie) supports him, though after a moment the inevitable distractions started causing domestic fights, he decides to put everything on hold. He tries all the tricks in the book to convince the authorities that he is alive and well. Your moves either boomerang on it or they fail. But the underdog keeps failing.

As the story unfolds, it takes on serious nuances and then becomes a full-blown melodrama. It helps Tripathi possess the skills to effortlessly shift gears as he does his best to capture the quixotic nature of the war he fights. He is a hunted man fighting a life and death battle, but one cannot help feeling that he is more of a figure leaning towards the windmills.

Kaagaz it employs elements of popular Hindi cinema, including an element number, but the songs scattered throughout the film are not lip-synched musical pieces that stop the flow of the story. They are interspersed with dialogues that move the story forward. It is the release that is firmly emotional, which is sometimes somewhat at odds with the near-bone reality of Bharat Lal’s sorry fate. The movie would probably have been better if I had opted for a less strident tone.

But the director packs Kaagaz with enough force to be able to pass the point. In a scene at the end of the film, Bharat Lal’s lawyer and a young journalist meet with the chief minister of the state to inform him of the situation. The camera positioned behind the actor who plays the CM only reveals his hand and fingers as he gestures without understanding. In addition to revealing the power wielded by politicians, it also underscores how distant and disinterested they are from the people they represent who wield authority over the fate of the dirty millions.

The bandleader is out of tune with a callous bureaucracy and a political structure that has no patience with the rights of the weak. He puts everything at stake to regain his dignity. The local MLA, Ashrafi Devi (Mita Vashisht), extends a helping hand, but does not have a magic wand that he may wish to chase away the misery of Bharat Lal.

Pushed against the wall, he takes several missteps in hopes of getting in trouble with the law. He knows that a criminal case against him could serve to prove beyond any doubt that he still lives in the flesh. But like all his other desperate moves, these don’t produce the desired result.

Mita Vashisht and Brijendra Kala (as judge) have fleeting cameos. Satish Kaushik plays a larger role with the usual poise. However, Pankaj Tripathi is left to keep Kaagaz afloat even when it seems to be withering a little under the weight of its solemn purpose. The movie does not disappoint.

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