In one of the reviews of “Karwaan” posted on YouTube, an elderly person has stated that the movie reminded him of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies. I don’t think anyone can give a better feedback or compliment to the movie than that. Simply put, as its trailer says, the movie is about three lost souls, two dead bodies and one life-changing trip. But the complexities of each character are so deep that it is impossible to draw out each character and show them separately in two hours which could be why the characters seem to be loosely connected in the movie. Only as the movie progresses do we realize that there is a common thread that binds them together. Their fathers. For me, this movie is about how our characters and personalities get affected and evolve based on our experiences.
Shaukat, portrayed delightfully by Irrfan Khan, grows up with an abusive father and a suffering mother and gets stuck in the confused state of why a man has to be abusive towards his wife and why a wife has to suffer silently. His character evolves and becomes sarcastic about life and this is the basis of all the comments he makes in the first half of the movie.
Avinash is a character unlike any of the ones Dulquer Salman (DQ) has portrayed in his films before. He has never portrayed a restrained and confused character. The closest he came was as a confused character in “Ustad Hotel” and a restrained character in “Kammatipadam”. For me, Charlie (a character from a 2015 Malayalam film by the same name) and Avinash have been the most complicated characters he has portrayed till now. To slip into a new character in a new language is as challenging as it can get, but DQ has brought out all the versatility from his underbelly and transformed into Avinash to the T. I was an IT professional and I can empathise with Avinash for the nerdy and lonely life he lives. A father who stifles his artistic ambitions and the arduous IT job is what made him a confused and restrained soul.
I guess the character of Tanya, portrayed by Mithila Palkar hasn’t been given the space to grow enough in the movie. How she loses her father at a young age and how her personality evolves has been shown only through her brief conversation with Avinash. Every woman dotes on her father while growing up and tries to idolise him to the extent that most of the qualities she is looking for in a man would be the ones her father has. Tanya, who has been raised up by her mother and grandmother is obviously craving for the care and attention of a man. This is what has made her a boisterous and confused soul.
The best part of the movie for me was the brief appearance of Kriti Kharbanda. It is during this passage of the movie that we get to see Avinash’s character unravel.
DQ has smartly swum into unchartered waters with an inconspicuous yet challenging role while leaving the spotlight to the vastly experienced and effervescent Irrfan Khan whose every film is eagerly waited for in Bollywood. Mithila probably couldn’t have got a better opening shot with a content-driven role in Bollywood than Tanya.
I have only a simple message for the audience. I grew up during the time of glitz and glamour of Bollywood in the 1980s and I have seen how content-driven and light-hearted movies used to stand out and be raved about. “Karwaan” is one of those movies which is not heavy on our eyes and ears but will leave enough impact on our mind to start introspecting on our lives.