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Kalank Review

U/A Drama, Periodical 2 hrs 48 mins Apr 17, 2019





Kalank Review & Rating


Kalank Review: Karan Johar Couldn't Recreate Sanjay's Leela

The premise

Kalank has been in the news all the time. And it's like all the time. One of the biggest multi-starrers, the Karan Johar dream project, and labor of love boasts of some of the brightest talents in what could probably be their best roles in a long time. The sets, the costumes, and even the characters played by the likes of Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt have been the talking point of celebs and fans alike. 

Abhishek Varman who made a successful directorial debut with 2 States has come up with another love story, this time of epic proportions. Karan Johar proclaimed well before the release of Kalank that he wanted to make a film like Kalank in the same style as Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

But it is not just Bhansali films but also the audacious South Indian filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli's works which inspired him in the scale and scope of this film. But what's in this film to satiate the thirst for a grandiose period drama? Let's find out with Kalank review. 

The story is a Kalank

Balraj Chaudhry is a wealthy man of influence (else how can the makers bring grandeur to the frames?) in Husainabad near Lahore. He runs a newspaper creatively named The Daily News. Dev is his son and is happily married to the limitlessly beautiful Satya. But under dramatic circumstances (the director perceived), Dev Chaudhry has to marry Roop. 

By the way, the story is set in Lahore as we said earlier, right? It is because it happens when India was on the verge of gaining independence from the British. To be exact, the year is 1945. As Roop is a young and beautiful girl with her own aspirations, she obviously falls victim for the obvious. Love. How does that happen?

Roop is sent to the palace of Bahaar Begum played by the graceful Madhuri Dixit to get trained in music. It is during these visits that Roop encounters Zafar and after like 10 million seconds, they find themselves they have fallen in love. A married woman in love out of wedlock and unfortunately, it is the same period when India was partitioned into two countries one of which is Pakistan. 

Zafar is a blacksmith and is considered a rung below the high society people of Balraj Chaudhry's range. The problems faced by the passionate lovers, Roop's husband, and the internal turmoil experienced by the family all form the rest of the story. 

Writing and direction

While the story of the film is as old as it gets, it is the treatment that should have been the lifeline of the film. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. While the writing has its own high points, the narration appears painful and in a way tortures the audience. While the runtime of 2 hours 48 minutes is in no way too long, it is not also a quick watch. That the screenplay is not breezy doesn't help the matters. 

Despite having some lingering questions and exploring the human psyche, everything appears too glossy. It lacked the earthy feel films like this demand. Similar to Janhvi Kapoor's launch vehicle Dhadak (remake of the wildly successful Marathi film Sairat) the film also falters because of the unnecessary gloss (hyper gloss is the right expression). The makers seem to have confused grandeur with gloss. 

Yes! The sets are grand and the attention to detail is great. The costumes are colorful and the hairdos are trendily retro. But where's soul? The characters are not established despite a slow narration in such a way that they register strongly with the audience. Balraj and Satya could have worked out wonders if properly written but in spite of having acting talents like Sanjay Dutt and Sonakshi Sinha, they are undercooked. Bad characters can be breathed life into by top actors. But not dead characters. Everything seems forced. 


As for the performances. Varun Dhawan as Zafar and Alia Bhatt as Roop are functional in the roles. Madhuri Dixit is the personification of grace. But that's that. There's nothing to write about her character, the much talked about Bahaar Begum. Sheer waste of efforts from all parties. It is Aditya Roy Kapoor who did a better job among the ensemble but nobody remembers him by the time the film ends. 

The crew

The music is good and there are a couple of popular numbers which elicited a great response from the audience and the picturization is also good. The background score is good on the surface but doesn't have the proper period feel. But it complements the visuals nevertheless. The cinematography is grand. The frames are screenshot-worthy. The lighting and color palettes used by Binod Pradhan are exemplary. 

The editing of the film is pretty average. A good half an hour of the proceedings better be trimmed to give a slick feel. The production design is awesome. The visuals are strikingly rich for their own good. Every frame appears right out of a fresh artwork by a master. The production values are top-notch. 


Kalank is a visual feast and has everything that the audience expect from a Dharma Productions offering except one thing. Soul! An earthy feel that we all can identify with. What on the surface level was a story about basic human emotions, feels like a modern glossy romance set in a period backdrop. Wanna watch it? Yes. You can. But go with very low expectations. Else, skip it! For the love of cinema. 


  • Star cast
  • Backdrop
  • Grandeur


  • Too much of unnecessary gloss
  • Lack of emotional connect with the characters
  • The set pieces look forced and artificial
  • Painfully slow narration

Pycker Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Reviewed by GitacharYa

Tailpiece: Is the film really that bad? Okay! Go and watch

Kalank Critic Reviews

Kalank User Reviews

  • Prerana

    17 Apr 19 @ 4:14 PM

    This is such a pathetic that u feel sorry for the acting abilities of the actors like alia and aditya..

    Rest all are misplaced !

    I don't know what was the vision of the director and the producer..

    If u are so enthusiastic to make high budget movies like the Baahubali and KGF franchise, make sure you have some content first...which would be supported by all other departments..

    Else it's just a waste of time and money !

    Save urself from this crap !

  • G

    17 Apr 19 @ 4:14 PM

    Why? I ask why? 

  • G

    17 Apr 19 @ 4:14 PM

    Why? I ask why? 

Kalank Live Updates & Public Talk

One of the highly anticipated films of the year, Kalank, the period drama about love and emotions, has hit the screens today amidst unlimited hype. The film which is touted as the dream project of Karan Johar started its theatrical run with highly polarizing talk with some praising the film as a masterpiece while others making negative comments about the slow pace and lack of depth. The grandeur of the film and the performances of the lead cast, especially that of Varun Dhawan and Madhuri Dixit are termed mesmerising. 

Kalank is an intense relationship drama with brilliant sets, fine dialogues and there's the throbbing subtext of partition. Alia looks simply divine, Varun is a volcano of anger and a haven of romance. Aditya Roy Kapur looks classy and Sonakshi Sinha is sublime. The direction by Abhishek Varman is said to be effective and the music is good. Kalank is, however, criticized for its pacing and lengthy screenplay. 

Some of the early watchers termed the film a disappointment. Kalank is a visual spectacle which lacks soul, odious screenplay, lousy writing, confusing characterization. Director and writers had no clue about what and why is happening in the film. Kalank is a tortuous affair. The editing and direction also received negative comments from a few quarters. On the other hand, Madhuri Dixit stole the show with her graceful performance and screen presence. 

Keep watching for more Kalank public talk and live updates. 

Kalank Preview

What is Kalank About?

The dream project! An idea of love, passion, longing, and emotions set on a grand canvas with India's partition as the backdrop. A Karan Johar's tribute to Yash Johar, his father. And surprisingly as Karan Johar himself revealed, the movie is made on the lines of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Means, we will have grandiosity written all over the film with big sets, elaborate costume songs and an emotional drama which tugs the hearts. 

At the heart of the proceedings of Kalank is the love story between Roop and Zafar and on the grander scale is the emotional drama resulted from Roop's marriage to Dev Chaudhry as his second wife. All of this is set in the backdrop of India of the late British era and climaxes with India's partition. Are the lovers separated like the country did? 

Kalank Promises

A tale of romance - love, passion, and emotions laid to bare

Kalank is an intense tale of romance, passion, and emotions all of which become victims of pride, and customs. As is the case with such epic films of romance, the movie is going to have quite an emotional content, with battles of will and amazing musical score. Kalank promises everything we expect from the genre and some more. An unusually big star cast from various generations. 

The stellar star cast

Kalank boasts of a stellar star cast which could be the envy of many makers. Right from the major protagonists to the character roles, Kalank is populated with not just the top of the line acting talents but also the biggest stars across generations since the 1990s. Take, for example, 

1. Sanjay Dutt as Balraj Chaudhry. Much has been said about Bollywood's Munnabhai and his suave but brooding Balraj is going to be the pivot on which Kalank balances itself on. As the makers described him: Balraj Chaudhry runs this grand world with an iron fist.

2. Madhuri Dixit as Bahaar Begum. And her dance sequence! OMG moment for her fans. Madhuri Dixit is joining Sanju Baba after two decades and it is going to be fire meets fire. As the makers described her: Bahaar Begum is royal, regal, class, grace, majestic, and..oh QUEEN!

3. Varun Dhawan as Zafar. The live wire. The hope. And the love of life for Alia Bhatt's Roop. As the actor himself described him: Zafar is the kind of guy who will come out of a crisis with a smirk.

4. Alia Bhatt as Roop. The vulnerable beauty. The steely resolve of a heroine. The searcher of true love. As the makers described her: She's full of life and has a heart of gold. 

5. Aditya Roy Kapur as Dev Chaudhry. The man who takes Roop as his second wife. He is described by the makers as a sprinting mind and a noble heart. 

6. Sonakshi Sinha as Satya Chaudhry. She has all the beauty imbibed in her eyes. She is beautiful beyond words and she is the wife of Dev Chaudhry. Sonakshi described her role as the one she will always cherish. 

And then there is a myriad of other characters in this epic period drama. 

Team assembled by Karan Johar

Karan Johar left no stone unturned for the dream project of his. 2 States fame Abhishek Varman directs this mega epic saga. He is known for handling various emotions quite easily. While Pritam composed the songs, Sanchit and Ankit Balhara composed the score.

The songs are already wildly popular with First Class becoming a rage among the youth. And then there are the tracks Ghar More Pardesiya and title music. Binod Pradhan who is known for handling the cinematography for epic films is roped in to handle the camera. And he painted the screen with all colors and his verve. 

Keep watching for Kalank review, rating, and complete analysis. We promise a feast with our words. Stay tuned!