Cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Jugal Hansraj, Naisha Khanna, Amba Sanyal, Toto Roy Choudhary
Director: Sujoy Ghosh
Producers: Sujoy Ghosh, Jayantilal Gada
Writers: Sujoy Ghosh, Ritesh Shah (dialogues)
What's Yay: Impressive performances, taut screenplay, gripping first half
What's Nay: The predictable climax is a big let-down
Popcorn Refill: Strictly interval
The Iconic Moment: The scene where Durga Rani Singh discovers a shocking secret about the Deewan family, leading to Mini finally spilling the beans.
Plot: Kahaani 2 opens with a night scene in Chandan Nagar, West Bengal. Sujoy Ghosh wastes no time in giving us a glimpse of the daily lives of Vidya Sinha (Vidya Balan) and her paralysed daughter Mini which includes cleaning up the house and playing Ludo on a typical Sunday.
Vidya is quite protective of Mini and wants to seek the best treatment for her in New York. However, one fine day, their small world turns upside down when Vidya returns home from office only to discover that Mini is missing.
Minutes later, she receives a mysterious call and hurriedly rushes out to reach the given address. Unfortunately, she meets with an accident on her way which leaves her in coma.
Inspector Inderjit Singh (Arjun Rampal) takes up this case and is shocked to recognize Vidya as Durga Rani Singh, a criminal wanted for kidnapping and murder. His further investigations lead him to Vidya/Durga's house where he stumbles upon a black diary holding a dark past that could help him in connecting the dots and take this story to its conclusion.
Direction: While the first Kahaani revolved around a pregnant lady in search of her missing husband, Sujoy's latest offering this time addresses a grave issue that's often brushed under the carpet. What's applaud-worthy is that the director handles the subject with sensitivity without resorting to any gruesome visuals. Yes, the film does feed upon some typical Bollywood staples but Sujoy with his neat story-telling leaves a lasting impression.
This time, Bob Biswas and his 'Namaskar..ek minute' is replaced by a female harridan who brandishes her razor blade mouthing 'yeh safe hai' before striking her victim.
Acting: Vidya Balan gives a solid performance reminding you why she is one of the best performers in the industry. Be it fear, angst, anxiety or sorrow, the actress gets all her emotions spot on and shines in every frame. You so want to see more of her!
Arjun Rampal holds his own identity and lends the story a whiff of humour amidst the building tension at several junctures.
Jugal Hansraj is the surprise package here for one has never seen him in this avatar before. (Sorry, no spoilers here!)
Naisha Khanna gives a superlative performance and her scenes with Vidya are heart-touching.
Other Technical Aspects: Kahaani 2 has one of the best first halves that keeps you glued to your seat with his water-tight screenplay and gripping narrative. You just don't get a moment to breath loose as you fear losing out some crucial details.
However, post interval things start getting predictable and the guessing game comes to an end. The plot loses steam as you wait in anticipation for a surprise twist in the tale. Sadly, that moment never arrives and you are instead treated to a dull climax which totally lacks a punch. To put it in other words, it feels like being served some dal-chawal after a scrumptious plate of biryani! Had Sujoy focussed more on these points of disappointment, Kahaani 2 would have outrun its predecessor!
Tapan Basu's cinematography captures West Bengal in a more subtle way as compared to what Kahaani had to offer. There is no Durga Pujo or colourful streets of Kolkata. Instead, Sujoy gives a glimpse of the city that's far more rooted.
Namrata Rao's sharp editing makes the film more edgy and exciting.
Music: The film doesn't have any scoop for songs and Kahaani 2 neither boosts of some memorable tracks. The background music seams well with the narrative and adds more hues to the mood.
Verdict: Watch Kahaani 2 for Sujoy Ghosh's finesse for extracting some power-packed performances and making them stand out in the film. If you are in mood for some thrills, then Durga Rani Singh's world is the right place for you to step in!