Do I lament the missed opportunity or should I just enjoy what Karwaan is? That is the question I came out with after watching Karwaan.
A few years ago, in a bid to enhance my vocabulary I once started framing sentences in a way that they fit my newly learned word(s). It made for awkward (if not grammatically wrong) sentences at times. My preconceived idea of what I intended to achieve manipulated my overall writing. This was the problem with Karwaan. Or if you like cricket, Karwaan attempts to be Virat Kohli, it could have been Ahmed Shehzad but it got to a point where we could safely say it’s on a Babar Azam level. It’s a decent film but it had the potential to reach a completely different level.
Akash Khurana (Dulquer Salmaan,) works for an IT company, the walls of which are littered with ills of unemployment. His boss has inherited the company from his father and behaves like a jerk (a shot at nepotism). Akash is stuck because he got into this job because of his father’s insistence. His passion is photography but in his own words middle class fears, and ethics force him to obey his father. But he resents his father’s decision and the two haven’t spoken for a while.
Out of the blue he gets a call from a travel agency about the death of his father in a bus accident. The travel agency, however sends his father’s body to another lady, Tahira and Akash now has Tahira’s mother’s body. Akash, requests his friend Shaukat (Irrfan) to travel with him to swap the death bodies. Shaukat is an eccentric but conservative individual, who values friendship. The journey starts, and we do get a dose of what one could call dark comedy.
In an act of compassion Akash decides to further help Tahira and decides to pick up, her college going daughter; a rebellious Tanya (Mithila Palkar) becomes part of this journey. There are different pit stops as we see the trio drop off remaining items of another individual who died in the accident. There is a love angle of Shaukat, with takes us through different emotions. Also, he is being followed by goons for money he owes to their boss. We also get to meet Akash’s ex girlfriend, the lovely Kriti Kharbanda as Rumi, plays her little role flawlessly. While, Tanya has own journey as a rebellious kid. All three characters have ‘daddy issues’ which they overcome during this journey. Eventually, they do get to their destination, but as changed individuals.
These characters clash. With Shaukat being a conservative, looks down upon the ‘cool’ life style of Tanya. But is able to look past as the two become friends. There is space for him to come centre stage and deal with his own demons from the past. While, Akash is also questioning his life choices. The dynamic between Akash and Tanya is uneasy at least initially. But soon they are comfortable with each other and bring out their real selves (feels a bit rushed tbh). In doing so, they help each become better individuals.
The comedy, especially the scenes involving Salmaan and Irrfan are really enjoyable. After Piku and Qarib Qarib Singlle, Irrfan provides us with this unique character. His presence just makes you desire for more. Matching him step by step is Dulquer Salmaan. Playing a boy who hasn’t figured out life quite yet, he plays this slightly rushed character in the most pleasing manner. He portrays this frustrated yet chugging along man, with a simplicity and uniqueness. Whereas, Mithila Palkar, brings her small screen energy to the front and compliments the other two characters. Her character doesn’t get as much development as the other two, but she definitely makes her presence felt. These characters also get a lot of support from Avinash Arun, through cinematography. At different times, the frames used show the audience the true feelings of those moments. Music, also adds to the feel of the film.
These characters are being discussed extensively here because they make the film what it is. As a whole, the film does have holes and rushed situations. The flow is far from organic and situations are a bit rushed to push these three individuals into certain situations. Perhaps, the director needed to invest more time ensuring that these individuals reach a certain point before they open up to each other. Perhaps, this would have been better in a web series format. The journey of self discovery of three individuals in a film, is a bit much to achieve in totality. Which is why the writer lazily uses other forced characters to fasten the process.
For me, Karwaan was like a beautiful and expressive photo puzzle forced together with super glue.