RSVP and Guy In The Sky Pictures’ Kedarnath (ua) is a love story set against the backdrop of the Hindu pilgrim place in 2013 when floods ravaged it.
Mandakini, also known as Mukku (Sara Ali Khan), lives in Kedarnath with her father (Nitish Bharadwaj), mother (Sonali Sachdev) and elder sister, Brinda (Pooja Gor). They are Pandits and run lodges in Kedarnath. Mukku is to be married to Kullu (Nishant Dahiya) who was actually first scheduled to marry Brinda. However, Mukku hates Kullu and does all under her command to irritate him. Even otherwise, Mukku is a brash girl who doesn’t hesitate in speaking her mind.
Mukku develops a fondness for the local pitthu (porter), Mansoor Khan (Sushant Singh Rajput). She finds him simple and honest as also helpful. She often travels to and fro her lodge on Mansoor’s horse, Rustom. At times, Mansoor himself carries her on a cane chair which he uses to ply pilgrims to the holy shrine. Mukku and Mansoor’s friendship soon turns into romance. All hell breaks loose when Mukku’s orthodox Hindu family learns about her affair with the Muslim boy. Why, Kullu and his men even beat up Mansoor mercilessly.
Even otherwise, Kullu does not like Mansoor because he had raised objections to permission being granted to construct a two-star hotel in Kedarnath for which some Pandits and some pitthus, including Mansoor, would have to demolish their shops. Among other things, Mansoor had feared that the ecological balance of Kedarnath would be disturbed.
Anyway, once Mukku’s affair comes to the knowledge of her family, her father gets her married to Kullu. When Mansoor does not come to rescue Mukku from the wedding ceremony, she attempts suicide soon after the marriage is solemnised. But she is saved by her family members.
Immediately thereafter, torrential rains cast a pall of gloom over Kedarnath. The scene appears catastrophic. The family lodge, in which Mukku and her family as also many others take refuge, gives way due to the floods. Mukku’s mother and sister are killed in the accident alongwith several others. Unable to stop himself, Mansoor tries to reach out to save Mukku.
What happens thereafter? Does Mansoor reach out to Mukku? Is he able to save her? Do the two unite and live happily ever after?
Abhishek Kapoor and Kanika Dhillon have written a fictional love story against the backdrop of the actual floods that wreaked havoc in Kedarnath in 2013. While an inter-faith love story is not novel, what differentiates it from other inter-faith love stories is the Kedarnath backdrop. As such, the story is quite interesting.
The screenplay, penned by Kanika Dhillon, is interesting in parts only, because it suffers from some major flaws. For one, the romance looks hurried and, therefore, not very convincing. Why Mukku falls so madly in love with Mansoor is not clear. In other words, what qualities of his has she been bowled over by is not clearly explained or spelt out. Since the romance is not very convincing, the hearts of the audiences do not weep for the lovers when they are forced to separate. In other words, the emotional connection between the characters and the viewers is not as solid as it ought to have been. Another minus point: although Mansoor speaks about the ecological balance being disturbed if the two-star hotel is allowed to be constructed, the floods ravage the pilgrim place much before construction work begins. That is to say, the writer had a golden chance to make Mansoor appear like a visionary but she fritters away that chance for no apparent gain.
The first half has some entertaining and enjoyable light moments but none that can make the audience laugh out loud. The post-interval portion has drama and melodrama but the emotional appeal is lacking. This could also be partly because Mansoor’s character is not very endearing. Also, the climax becomes more about saving lives than about two lovers uniting. Differently worded, the climax is about such a big natural calamity, in which lives of thousands are at stake, that the viewers are bound to be equally, if not more, bothered about the lives of the people. So, for the audience, the coming together of Mansoor and Mukku does not seem as important as it ought to have been. In other words, the focus shifts to a more solid cause – if only because it’s the question of the lives of not just the two lovers but of thousands of human beings.
Kanika Dhillon’s dialogues are very good at places.
Sushant Singh Rajput does a fine job, underplaying beautifully. But the fact remains that his character is not endearing – which is a minus point in a love story. Sara Ali Khan looks pretty and makes a supremely confident debut. She is an excellent actress and shines with a free-spirited performance that belies that she is a debutante. Whether in light scenes or dramatic or melodramatic or emotional, she is first-rate. The girl has a superb future ahead of her. Nitish Bharadwaj plays Mukku’s father with conviction. Sonali Sachdev, as Mukku’s mother, makes her presence felt. Pooja Gor stands her own in the role of Mukku’s sister, Brinda. Nishant Dahiya leaves a mark as Kullu. Alka Amin does a fine job as Mansoor’s widowed mother. Mahinder Mewati (as the mad Baba), Vinamra Panchariya (as Afzar), Mir Sarwar (as Bashir), Sunita Rajwar (as Daddo), Arun Bali (as the chief priest), Basu Soni (as Gullu), Tarun Gehlot (as Kailash), Faiz Khan (as Hemchand), Sharad Vyas (as Himalaya Tyagi), Akshay Bhatt (as Debu), Arav Malhotra (as young Mansoor), Priyadarshan (as Tarang), Shahab Ali (as Mansoor’s father), Hitesh Bhardwaj (as the helicopter co-pilot), Varun Buddhadev (as the kid in the helicopter), Abhash Makharia (as the young pandit), Anuradha (as Kullu’s mother) and the rest provide decent support.
Abhishek Kapoor’s direction is good. Credit is due to him for creating the right atmosphere through the film and for extracting good work out of his actors. But he should’ve paid more attention to the script and plugged the loopholes. Amit Trivedi’s music is nice but not hit. The ‘Sweetheart’ song is catchy and popular. The other songs, especially ‘Kafirana’ and ‘Namo Namo’, are melodious. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics are weighty. Adil Shaikh’s choreography is fair. Hitesh Sonik’s background music is impactful. Tushar Kanti Ray’s cinematography is appealing and deserves good marks. Computer graphics are nice. Dave Judge and Sunil Rodrigues’ action and stunts are exciting and thrilling. Mayur Sharma’s production designing is of a good standard. Chandan Arora’s editing is suitably sharp.
On the whole, Kedarnath is a well-made film but which lacks the excitement of a love story. As such, it will not be able to make money at the ticket windows – and this, also because the investment in the film is more than the project deserved.