“There is no map for you to follow and take your journey. You are Lewis and Clark. You are the mapmaker,” said Phillipa Soo. What she probably kept withheld was the fact that this journey also results in some great loss and gain of love and cognizance of one’s own self. That’s no less adventurous than what Lewis and Clark did. Karwaan is pretty much like that. It is about losing yourself in moments and to find yourself content like never before at the end.
Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan), a could-be photographer and just another prey to the Indian education system, is a software engineer. Or, let me elaborate. An unhappy engineer with a lonesome life amid the concrete jungles of Bangalore with a not-so-affectionate equation with his typical father who only dreamt of a white collar job for his son. At times, a damage leads to greater realisations. On one of his journeys, his father succumbs to a road accident. That seems sudden, because the film has only just started. But the real chaos begins when he is handed over a dead body which is not his father’s but of a woman he doesn’t know!
He sets off to find the right recipient and to also to look for his deceased father. In the process, we are introduced to Shaukat (Irrfan Khan) and Tania (Mithila Parkar). They have a crazy stroll across a lush, green South India and we’re in for some visual treat. A journey is no less precious than finding the destination. Avinash, a slightly old school, heavy-hearted man, Shaukat, a hilarious soul and Tania, a young mind looking for all the thrills, have so much to disagree about and so much to love together! They have fallouts, heartbreaks, surprises, troubles and embrace everything nonetheless.
Shaukat, Avinash and Tania are unique due to their differences. Shaukat, who owns a garage, is this guy who is almost embarrassed to feel sad. He likes to compensate almost every situation with his humour. Tania cherishes her youth. She is unapologetically herself and that makes her really pleasing. Avinash is troubled inside but his compassion isn’t dead.
To be honest, I did not know how a film that began with a death was going to elevate one’s liking. But then, who are we to tell which loss pains in what quantum and shows in what colour? And most importantly, it is not just about one mere road trip. It is not a Dil Dhadakne Do or a Dil Chahta Hai either. Don’t look forward to having just the maddening, youthful vibes. Karwaan has so much of emotional subtleness to offer! Some of it, heavy but magnificently beautiful.
Irrfan Khan is at his wackiest best. He has only uplifted an already well-written screenplay. Mithila Parkar has a sober screen presence. But Dulquer Salmaan is here to stay! He is nothing like the hot guy in Charlie. He’s the guy you probably know. Dulquer is efficient at a controlled performance.
The road trip, otherwise majestic, does occupy a bit of screen time. I wish there were more conversations, because the soul of Karwaan is in its talk. When three people, with three different heart aches find rescue In words, you know that there’s no pretense.
The film wouldn’t be as heart-warming as it is, if not for a neat cinematography by Avinash Arun. The ace cinematographer who also shot the National award winning film Killa, concentrates on capturing elements and not just sequences, making it worth for us to soak in the frame. Debutante composer Prateek Kuhad deserves a special mention for creating rhythm that has wander lust in every beat.
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