Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Irrfan Khan, Mithila Palkar, Amala Akkineni
Director: Akarsh Khurana
Music: Prateek Khuhad, Anurag Saikia, SlowCheetah, Imaad Shah
Akarsh Khurana’s Karwaan is mellow and calming, with the most dramatic events unfolding in the first half-hour. The scenic journey from Bengaluru to Kochi through the beautiful Western Ghats and Prateek Kuhad’s soothing songs cocoon you inside a familiar world and convince you that, may be, it’s time to stop being so hard on yourself, much like the characters in the film.
Karwaan starts with a death. Avinash’s (Dulquer Salmaan) estranged father dies in a road accident and the body is sent to him to Bengaluru. When he goes to claim the body, he realises there has been a mix-up. Now, he has to go to Coimbatore to deliver the wrong body and claim the right one. The journey starts with Avinash and Shauqat (Irrfan Khan) from Bengaluru. Tanya (Mithila Palkar) joins them on the way, and it ends in Kochi. Somewhere along the way, these characters bond, lighten up, change and grow.
With the three oddball protagonists, Khurana straddles three different generations whose view on life is poles apart. But, their daddy issues bind them. Shaukat seems to have missed the waves of feminism altogether and believes in chastising women wearing short clothes. He is also a racist who accosts hapless white tourists, lectures them and teaches them a thing or two about Indian nationalistic pride. But, he is also a very likeable character. Shaukat tells a clueless Avinash that he will never let him miss his father. Irrfan is the spark in this otherwise soothing film. His impeccable style of delivering lines with a poker face makes even a deadbeat situation funny. The actor, who is currently being treated for cancer, is an absolute scene-stealer.
If Irrfan’s effervescent presence perks up the film, Dulquer’s understated and quiet performance strings the narrative into a smooth flow. Avinash’s IT job is hardly gratifying and he resents his father for not letting him pursue his dream of being a professional photographer. Dulquer represents the countless working professionals who are stuck in a rut and don’t know how to get out of it. DQ – as he is fondly called – plays a repressed guy who has lost touch with his emotions and is uncomfortable talking about himself. His silences convey a lot more than his words. In Karwaan, you don’t get a glimpse of the star from Malayalam cinema, rather, you realise why he’s a star – Dulquer’s Avinash is a regular guy who discovers himself as he comes to terms with his father’s death. And, it’s Mithila’s Tanya who helps him in the process.
Tanya is the typical apathetic millennial. She is a rebel without a cause. She drinks herself senseless and forgets about her grandma’s death. She smokes and sleeps around without being aware of the repercussions. She plays the perfect yin to DQ’s yang. The relationship between Avinash and Tanya is portrayed with a lot of maturity. She draws Avinash out of his shell, and he teaches Tanya that there is more to life than self-created angst. Avinash confesses that, thanks to Tanya, he feels a lot younger and less judgmental. Dealing with the youngster also helps him understand his father’s motivations. Kriti Kharbanda and Amala Akkineni make impressive cameos.
Karwaan’s strength lies in identifying humour and quirks in everyday situations and relatable characters. The soul-crushing nature of Avinash’s job is spelled out with a banner inside the office that says, ‘Don’t complain, unemployment feels a lot worse.’ When Avinash goes to claim his father’s body, he is asked to show an ID card. The manager of the company remains unconcerned about Avinash’s loss; instead, he looks at his PAN card and asks him about his weight loss and diet. The film finds humour in these hair-brained situations.
Like most road trip movies, in Karwaan too, it serves as the guide to the rudderless characters to find themselves in.
The Karwaan review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.