Road movies have a charm of their own. More often than not, this sub-genre of cinema is all about witty lines, quirky characters, strange circumstances and some lessons in self-discovery. To that end, Irrfan Khan’s next release Karwaan, ticks all the boxes.
Irrfan’s Shaukat is a morose albeit quick-witted guy who runs into a serious, corporate-type Avinash (played by Malayalam superstar Dulquer Salman). Avinash has just received the news about his father’s death from an indifferent telephone operator but thanks to some bureaucratic bungling, he receives the wrong dead body. Avinash takes off on a trip to Kochi to get his father’s dead body, in the company of Irrfan who he constantly spars with. During the course of the journey, they are joined by a spunky student (Mithila Palkar) who is grappling with issues of her own.
Sounds familiar? Because it is. Diverse individuals, going on a travel together and ending up learning more about life, is a trope that has been overused yet as a subject, it’s often very entertaining. Karwaan benefits from Irrfan’s performance but it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before. In fact, it almost seems like he walked from the sets of Piku to Karwaan. The trailer is fun but evokes a huge sense of déjà vu. We have seen there, experienced that – Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Qarib Qarib Single, Piku... to name just a few.
Dulquer Salman doesn’t get much time to shine in the trailer. But one hopes the actor – whose winsome charm has won him legions of fans in the south in movies like Bangalore Days and Ok Kanmani – gets a role that will do justice to his enormous talent.
There are a few sequences in the trailer that evoke a smile, one in particular where Irrfan channels his inner Sunny Deol but it seems a bit forced. And yes, there is also a snippet of a foreigner couple being insulted for their lifestyle and habits, all under the garb of comedy of course! (It’s strange how we Indians get offended by even the slightest imagined insult to our culture but have no qualms about generalising and stereotyping white tourists. But that’s another debate for another day!).
Another issue with most Bollywood film trailers is that they give away the best lines and moments in the teaser. Watch a 2-minute trailer and you feel you have seen the entire film. Karwaan suffers from the same syndrome. Why can’t we leave some things to the imagination? Nevertheless, it looks like a pleasant watch – for Irrfan, Dulquer and some gorgeous sweeping shots of South India!