Chances are you have not seen this movie. ‘Coz it kind of sneaked in without any marketing hype or promos along with two other promising releases, Mulk and Fanney Khan. So that makes this review still relevant. And even if you have seen it, I am sure you are dying to know if others liked it, sorry, loved it, too, just the way you did!
Me, I opted to see this movie out of the three releases last week for very definite reasons. One, I love road trips and this one has its premise built on a road trip. Two, I like to see promising small to medium budget films, because I think that makers and actors of such movies put in a lot of their heart and soul into the project… the storyline, the performances, the works. They have to make a movie that works, to land that next project. And reason number three and four and five and six…. I love to see Irrfan Khan movies. Period.
And boy, did I feel vindicated for the choice I made!
I loved the movie. It gave me value for every rupee I spent for it, plus some loose change to cover the agony of watching a bad movie in the past.
3.5 rocking stars from me! Another 1.5 stars exclusively for Irrfan.
Karwan is about three people of different mindsets, different ages too, who coincidentally have not been fortunate in their relationship with their respective fathers.
The ‘hero’ of the film, an established actor from Malayalam films, Dulquer Salmaan, debuts Bollywood with Karwan with Irrfan by his side. Dulquer ‘s looks and demeanor in the film are so relatable, he could easily be that young neighbor of yours who’s working in some corporate.
So, the one line of the movie is… Avinash (Dulquer), a loner single guy, who has been working his backside off in a corporate office in Bengaluru gets, a dispassionate call from a call centre’ish lady who flatly informs him that his father died in a bus accident and that they were kind enough to send his body through a transport company. She thanked him for his time for listening and hung up without much ado.
Now, here’s the comedy of errors…The transport company goofed up and switched the father’s body with another ‘consignment’, the body of an old lady who too had died in the bus accident. So, Avinash’s father’s body had travelled to Kochi, and now he must travel to Kochi to exchange the bodies.
Now add to this bungle up, the monochromatic character of Shauqat, who is a good soul and a helpful friend with a van big enough to ferry the body. But he is also utterly unrefined and politically quite incorrect. Garnish the plot with the character of a rebellious, smoking and drinking young adult who happens to be the old (dead) lady’s grand daughter, who Avinash must pick up enroute to Kochi. And voila, you are set on a sweet, refreshing two hour journey from Bengaluru to Kochi with funny detours and sub plots to keep you laughing and in high spirits till the end credits.
With the company of beautiful music and a spread of funny and meaningful lyrical songs, most of them played out in the background, the movie is a joyride.
On the flip side, it does drag in some (quite a few) parts, but the minute Irrfan graces the screen, you’re on a roll once again.
The last time I reviewed an Irrfan film, Qarib Qarib Single, I had lamented the fact that Irrfan Khan characters tend to get type cast in light comedies. He is almost always shown as this unrefined, unsophisticated character. Ditto in this movie. But, I swallow my words and bless him with many more such movies with the same kind of characters.
When he is on the screen, and he may not even be saying anything, yet he can get the audience to squeal with laughter in anticipation of his predictable reaction in the scene. His comic timing, his dialogue delivery, his speaking under his breath, his eyes talking more than his mouth… all of this has become so predictable. He is like that funny witty friend of yours, who you know so well, that even before he opens his mouth, you know how he will react and you laugh in anticipation.
Irrfan has given so many such moments in the film. Like, when in false bravado, he takes on some goons and realizes that he is in for some real bashing up, and he has to beat a hasty retreat, clinging to the ropes the dead body is tied with on the roof of a Nano car.
The sequences when he romances the relative of a patient with corny shaayris and chocolate bars are just too cute. And so is his angst with Tanya, the irreverent shorts clad co-passenger, played by web star Mithila Palkar.
Overall, watching the movie is a breeze. No tension, no conflicts, a simple story livened up with great performances by Irrfan and Dulquer. His short changed smiles explain why he is such a rage in Mallu films.
And must mention his baritone and his command over Hindi! I don’t remember being overly impressed by the voice quality of any particular actor apart from the God himself, Amitabh Bacchan. Maybe, Dulquer is the second guy whose voice has caught my attention.
And a special mention for, Akarsh Khurana, the Director of Karwan for putting up a good show and bridging seemingly disconnected reel and real individuals from different cinematic spaces.
Lastly, the cinematography that captured the journey taken by the trio, the roads to Kochi, the traditional Malabari houses that some of the scenes were shot in… all of that was like a special treat for my travelling soul.
I would say, catch up with this movie, be it on big screen or wait for the Amazon Prime movie release (‘coz I did see the Amazon Prime credit at the start of the movie), but don’t miss it.