Amidst some exchange of backstory of their loved ones in a dimly-lit cave, Mansoor (Sushant Singh Rajput) bursts into singing, 'Lag Jaa Gale' with Mukku (Sara Ali Khan) lovingly gazing at him. The beauty in this moment lingers for long. But alas, barring this, Kedarnath fails to explore the love-story between the lead characters and falls prey to the cliched story-telling instead.
Set in Kedarnath, Mukku is the daughter of a local priest and lodge owner (Nitish Bharadwaj) whereas Mansoor is a porter/pithoo with a heart of gold. For a change here, the cupid's arrow strikes the leading lady first. Over a series of 'mule' rides, Mansoor too loses his heart to her.
Unfortunately, their 'forbidden love' is discovered and Mukku's furious father announces her wedding for the following day. In a fit of rage, Mukku's father announces, "Nahi hoga ye sangam..phir chahe parlay kyun na aaye" and Mukku gives it back, "Toh jaap karungi din raat...ki aaye". And yes, you guessed it right! The clouds burst and a deluge of epic proportions hits Mansoor and Mukku's village.
Abhishek Kapoor takes a leaf from 2013 Uttarakhand floods and places his tale of doomed love there. However, the writing lacks a spark and comes across as lethargic especially in the first half. He along with his writers throw in an angle of environmental hazard in the story as well, only to tackle it superficially. The sub-plot mysteriously vanishes as the narrative unfolds further.
Speaking about performances, Kedarnath is an out-and-out Sara Ali Khan show. She makes a confident debut and is a treat to watch. As the fiesty, loudmouth Mukku who is unabashed when it comes to matters of heart, Sara is a bundle of fresh talent and conveys through her eyes alone in many scenes. In fact in some parts, she might even remind you of her mother Amrita Singh.
Sushant Singh Rajput churns out a subtle performance and underplays his part most of the time. Maybe the script demanded it that way...well, I am yet to decipher that. He as Mansoor and Sara's Mukku are diametrically poles apart and a little more layered writing would have added more charm to their romance.
The rest of the cast including Nitesh Bhardwaj, Pooja Gor and Alka Amin have nothing novel to explore in their respective roles.
Cinematographer Tushar Kanti Ray perfectly captures the scenic locations of Kedarnath on the canvas and some of his aerial shots are breathtakingly beautiful. The editing of the film works fine. Amit Trivedi fails to dish out a memorable album this time. However, we must mention the song, 'Namo Namo' is pleasant to the ears.
Barring Sara Ali Khan's dazzling performance, Abhishek Kapoor's Kedarnath fizzles in terms of writing and ends up as a missed opportunity instead. I am going with 2 and half stars here.