Movie Review: ‘Kathal’

In Netflix’s Kathal, a recurring joke centers around a police constable struggling to find his stolen car. Despite being a common bureaucratic nightmare, the film touches on high-ticket issues and offers a modern take on familiar themes. While the movie succeeds in critiquing the farce of Indian socio-politics, it doesn’t always excel as a comedy.

The story begins with the disappearance of two jackfruits from the yard of Moba’s local MLA, which sets off an investigation led by Inspector Mahima, played by Sanya Malhotra. As the plot develops, the search for the missing fruit uncovers larger issues that the bureaucracy is unwilling to address.

The film is a thought-provoking exploration of how trivial pursuits can lead to profound reflections on societal issues, though it occasionally loses its impact when trying to tackle too many ideas at once.

Kathal addresses high-ticket issues and critiques Indian socio-politics through its premise by highlighting the rampant discrimination and inequality that exists in India’s caste system. The film explores how the upper castes exploit and oppress the lower castes, perpetuating a system of injustice and inequality. It also shows how the police and government officials are complicit in this system and how they often turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed against the common man.

The film also addresses the issue of gender-based violence and discrimination against women, particularly those from marginalized communities. It sheds light on how women are often the most vulnerable in such a system, where they face multiple forms of discrimination and abuse.

Through its premise, the film critiques the Indian socio-political system, which is rife with corruption, nepotism, and the manipulation of power. It highlights how the system is designed to favor the elite and wealthy at the expense of the marginalized and oppressed.

Overall, the film serves as an insightful critique of the current state of sociology-political dynamics and the need for systemic change to address the deep-seated inequalities and discrimination that exist in the country.

When it comes to performances Sanya Malhotra delights the audience with her spirited performance. The film has several good actors playing different characters. Most notable of them are played by actors like Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Neha Saraf and Anant Vijay Joshi

Kathal is a breeding ground for disgruntled characters who incessantly complain about their jobs. The overweight superintendent lets out a dejected sigh, “We abide by the Indian Political Code,” while Anuj, the odorous reporter, claims that journalism is nothing but a thankless burden. However, watch as Mahima approaches to arrest him – his countenance transforms into a grin from ear to ear. Astonishingly, he’s been accused of indulging in ‘anti-national’ activities, and he couldn’t be more thrilled. Years of duelling with hard-hitting news coverage has taught him how such stories make it big in the larger media community. His ‘Moba Samaachaar’ is poised to take the world by storm!

Kathal, the latest cinematic offering produced by Guneet Monga Kapoor, is a light-hearted dark comedy that is equally gender-sensitive. Sikhya Entertainment, Kapoor’s production company, had previously backed the critically acclaimed Pagglait, also featuring the talented actor Sanya Malhotra. Drawing inspiration from the popular web series TVF, Director Yashowardhan Mishra uses the visual grammar of the best TVF shows to bring to life an endearing cinematic experience.

The art design and cinematography complement the playful tone of the film with vibrant pops of color, be it a pink Nano or an orange popsicle. The climax of the film is an epic vegetable fight that provides a fitting end to the film’s whimsical narrative. While the ideas might not be groundbreaking, the film will certainly engage an impatient audience member and leave them entertained.

FF Ratings: ***

By Akshat Sharma