Amid the dense greenery and exalted tranquillity of the Himalayas, stories of divinity and worship are afloat. With a few love stories sprinkled in, of course. Abhishek Kapoor's Kedarnath is about both. Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) is the man India needs right now. A Muslim by birth and a religious equalist by practice, Mansoor is a Pitthu, carrying devotees on his back, helping them complete the pilgrimage. Beyond divisions of faith, his credence about Lord Shiva and conviction upon Allah can't be questioned. Neither can his adoration for his mountain. His Kedarnath.
Mansoor gradually comes in proximity with Mandakini (Sara Ali Khan), daughter of a devoted Pandit, a perfect foil to Mansoor. Cupid strikes and invites a house full of trouble along. As Mansoor and Mandakini's love saga meets with a litmus test, Uttarakhand is also faced with mother nature's biggest wrath - the devastating Uttarakhand floods of 2013.
Debutante Sara deserves a round of applause for the kind of screen presence she brings into the film. She's sure a feel-good constituent for the camera, playing her part with a certain flamboyance. As far as her acting prowess is concerned, she is a fairly talented artiste who can up her game with her next films. Sushant Singh Rajput delivers nothing remarkable but is subtly compelling. Most importantly, Sushant and Sara's chemistry comes across as a delight. It is balanced and well-shaped.
Abhishek Kapoor efficiently runs two sub-plots concurrently, never conforming to a confusion. Kedarnath, in an undertone, talks about the region's man-made calamities, thanks to the lucrative business opportunities most spots of religious pilgrimage offer. It is also a brief narration on how those blinded by faith refuse to look the fundamental human and humane emotions.
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The film underwent considerable delays, owing to the time-consuming VFX. It was well worth it. The brief duration depicting the catastrophic flood, that took many thousands of lives, looks and feels real. Besides, Kedarnath boasts of neat cinematography, intensifying the viewer's experience.
Not all love stories are happy, but the idea has always lured Bollywood. Kapoor's previous film, Fitoor, was guilty of forcing a happy ending that took away the essence of pain, the film's real beauty. We heaved a sigh of relief when we saw he didn't walk that path this time. Kedarnath has its moments of endearment. But in the end, it's a reminder of an inevitable uncertainty, and it is better.
Give it one watch for a familiar, but nicely done storyline, as well as the girl who could be Bollywood's next big thing!