Funky Girl stories

Why Kalank is damaging in today’s context

Nisha Joshi
Written by Nisha Joshi
Amazon Audible

When I first saw the trailer of Kalank on TV, I mistook it for a Sanjay Leela Bhansali production. The lavish sets and the star-studded cast were reminiscent of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam or Bajirao Mastani.

It was a Karan Johar production, however, and though his movies tend to be sloppy and smothered with “sanskari” bahus and hyper-joint families, I decided to give it a shot.

I got tickets easily enough, which was a red flag in itself. But I ignored it, thinking that everyone must be waiting for Avengers: Endgame that was due to release around April end.

What is the movie about?

The first couple of scenes into this puke-worthy movie, and I was ready to leave the theatre. But I soldiered on, thinking it would get better as time goes. I was so wrong.

Basically, this movie is about a girl who is treated like she’s a piece of goods. She’s literally forced to marry an already married man, because his dying wife convinces him that he needs to love someone else after she’s gone.

Such solidarity.

So Roop (sigh!!) is married off to Dev – a marriage in which both parties are not interested. However, days pass. Now obviously, Roop must be “rescued” from this loveless marriage by a Prince Charming.

On cue, our prince, Zafar, comes up – the typical hero, the one who has more muscles on his abdomen than brains in his head. He’s the type of person who harasses his future love interest, just because he can do it. In the first meeting itself, he asks Roop if she wants to sleep with him, as she’s in a loveless (and sexless) marriage.

So much wow!

Predictably, Roop thinks that this man is the most desirable man on Earth. And she falls in love with him. That all this takes place during the Partition era seems something the directors have thrown in at the last moment.

Throw in Dev’s father, Mr.Choudhry (Sanjay Dutt) and a courtesan, Bahar Begum (Madhuri Dixit), this movie had much potential of rising above the average girl-meets-boy story and becoming an epic period drama.

But basically because everyone decides to treat Roop as a human football, this movie goes nowhere. She is literally thrown around from one male shadow to another; first her father, who is ready to “give her away” as a second wife, just so that he can fund his other daughter’s weddings, her “I’ll never be able to love you” husband, her “take care of your husband” father-in-law, and finally a womanizer, who’s motivations are justified because he has had a sad past.

What is wrong with Kalank?

What the directors of this film didn’t realize, maybe, is that youth of impressionable age are going to be in the audience. What message are you giving them?

That it is okay to insult and stalk a woman?

That a girl should always be under male protection?

That a woman in despair will fall in love with the first guy she meets, no matter how bad he is?

That a woman is born to sacrifice everything for her father, husband and lover?

Exactly what?

Kalank glorifies everything that’s wrong – toxic love, misogyny and patriarchy. Only Dev’s character arc is believable, but it is pushed aside to make way for the love story that is supposed to be sublime.

It also shows another worrying concept that is not true – that love can change a person. Over the years, I’ve heard many stories of naive girls getting married to bad boys, thinking the boys will “leave their bad habits” or “change” after marriage. It is such a wrong notion on so many levels, yet movies like Kalank highlight it (Roop, with her good heart and loving nature, changes the vengeance and hatred in Zafar’s heart to love and sacrifice.)

If you have watched it, nay, endured this movie, my sincere condolences. If you haven’t, I wish I were in your place right now.

What are your thoughts about Kalank? Do let us know!

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About the author

Nisha Joshi

Nisha Joshi

Homemaker, new mother, true punekar, bookworm, blogger, photographer, budding chef, music enthusiast, likes to keep her fingers in many pies!

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