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Star Cast: Irrfan Khan, Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar
Director: Akarsh Khurana
'Main akela hi chala tha janib-e-manzil magar, Log saath aate gaye aur karwaan banta gaya', these lines by Majrooh Sultanpuri on the walls of Shaukat (Irrfan Khan)'s blue van give you a hint about what Akarsh Khurana's Karwaan has in store for you. It would be wrong to call Karwaan just a road trip film. Instead, it's much deeper than that. What's intriguing is that the filmmaker uses death as a theme to make us realize that when you let go, you create space for something better.
Coming to the plot, Avinash (Dulquer Salmaan) is a dejected soul who is stuck up in a mundane job in an IT firm in Bangalore. Through flashbacks, it's revealed that his heart always beats for photography, a career which his father (Akash Khurana) never approved and brushed off as something which few take up as an excuse for being a rebel.
However, Avinash's life takes a drastic turn when he receives the news of his father's demise during his pilgrimage trip and takes the help of his friend (Shaukat) to collect the dead body, only to discover that it has been misplaced with another one, which belongs to Tanya's (Mithila Palkar) grandmother.
The trio then embark on a road trip to Kochin to set things right, unaware that life has something unexpected in store for them.
Akarsh Khurana's characters in Karwaan are as real as they can get and that's exactly what strikes an instant chord with you. They are flawed in their own ways and their problems are totally relatable. The film makes you laugh, it leaves you moist-eyed at times. On the flip-side, the film stumbles a little when it comes to pace and drags at places. But, the witty humour quickly puts things back in the place.
Talking about the performance, Irrfan Khan brings in a fresh whiff of humour with his terrific comic timing and his hilarious one-liners that leave you asking for more. Malayalam hearthrob Dulquer Salmaan proves yet again why he is one of the best talents we have around. Bollywood, better watch out for this powerhouse performer! With his simplicity and charm, DQ has a tight grip on the emotions and makes sure your eyes don't leave the frame even for a minute.
If Irrfan is the heart of Karwaan, then Dulquer is the soul. Mithila Palkar makes a confident debut, but one wished that the role was a little more fleshed out. Kriti Kharbanda's cameo works fine with the narrative, Dulquer-Mithila's Kodak vs Instagram debate, Dulquer's emotional scene towards the climax and Irrfan's sudden revelation are some of the scenes which leave a lasting impression.
Avinash Arun's cinematography captures the picturesque locales with finesse and makes the road trip your very own. Ajay Sharma's editing could have been a tad more tauter. Speaking about the music, Chhota Sa Fasana is our pick from the music lot. Heartquake makes an interesting listen for its quirky lyrics.
Karwaan is a refreshing sip for the parched soul with its relatable characters and their journey of self-discovery. This trip is not to be missed! To quote Michelle Sandlin - 'There's no greater journey than the one you must take to discover all the mysteries that lies within you.'