Movie Review | Haal-E-Kangaal: A thought provoking Indie

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Haal-E-Kangaal (English: The Bankrupts) movie review is here. The minimalist Hindi language feature film by award-winning filmmaker Ramchandra P N features Niraj Sah and Hemant Mahaur. The indie black comedy is currently streaming on my CinemaHall.

Immediate reaction when the end credits roll

Two people, Two worlds, a conversation and the plight of creativity in the sensible Indian cinema circuit. Haal-E-Kangaal by Ramchandra P N is a sarcastic meta on the dearth of creativity and more…

The Story of Haal-E-Kangaal

Independent filmmaker Lokesh Sharma (Hemant Mahaur) gets a surprise visit from his old film school buddy Tripurari Gupta aka Trips (Niraj Sah). They meet after a gap of fifteen years and have to spend a few hours together. As one of them narrates a script of a film to the other over liberal doses of drinks, the past catches up with them and for the two friends the celebration soon turns into a secession of one-up-man-ship where accusations flow freely – the question of success, of failures and of a subtle comparison of individual achievements arise.

Haal-E-Kangaal movie review

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Award winning filmmaker Ramchandra P N (Putaani Party, Suddha) Haal-E-Kangaal is a minimalist black comedy an indie creativity born on the slow death of creativity, the intellectual insolvency in the indie art house Indian film circuit.

A spartan cinema centred around just two characters has a very simple basic plot. Two old pals meet and they start talking and revisit their past.

The smartness here is the meta and the micro macro approach where writer director Ramchandra P N shoots the movie in a single location (I have been told it’s his flat in Mumbai suburbs) and travels through memories, secrets, jealousies, hypocrisy, hidden motives, lies, desires and life. The rough cut of the movie was shown on April 20, 2014 at the Manipal International Film Festival. The movie has found a release in the OTT platform in 2020 during the Covid-19 Corona pandemic.

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Lokesh Sharma and Trips are two different individuals with contrast claims. While Lokesh feels his upper hand in front of Trips as an ‘award’ winning filmmaker and the one who is pursuing his dreams and making proper use of his training in the film institute. Trips on the other hand tries to gain his upper hand in the adventurous life he has had with all those crazy sexual escapades.

So, we have an indie filmmaker who has not ‘lived’ his life but made a ‘life’ out of movies. And a film school colleague who claims to have ‘lived’ a life but still there is emptiness – he is not ‘settled’, still struggling and has wasted his learnings from the film school.

Ramchandra P N’s conversation driven cinema has natural performances coming from Hemant Mahaur and Niraj Sah.

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Hemant Mahaur marvellously puts a picture of an assured and focused individual who knows what he wants and finely controls his hidden vulnerability and desires with a subtle act.

Niraj Sah who initially teases with a play full picture of a man who has travelled the world and had those surreal sexual escapades, gradually gets stronger as he probes his filmmaker friend on the ‘authenticity’ of his script ‘Maternity Leave’.

The change in ‘position’ is a perfect meta used here though it seemed to be highly inspired by theatre.

In Haal-E-Kangaal Narayanan Venkataraman’s camera plays another invisible character probably the meta used to represent the audience.

Santosh Kumar’s sound – that spiritual recording playing in the background adds the ‘third’ dimension to this story of two individuals.

The climax of Ramchandra P N’s Haal-E-Kangaal is true to the theme and tone. The movie has a pre climax and a climax. You can call it two climaxes as well. Depending on your take. Brilliant.

Flaws

It’s an out and out indie art material and for a while gets into a repetitive mode.

Final words

Haal-E-Kangaal by Ramchandra P N is not just a thought-provoking indie on the state of bankruptcy in Indian cinema’s creativity, it’s a testimony on those big talks and claims people make and ‘actually’ what they do. The trauma of an indie / sensible filmmaker, the selfishness of an artiste and the materialistic world around.

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Critic Rating
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