What happens when the director decides to make a hero out of the sidekick? The answer is Kaamyaabi! Starring Sanjay Mishra in the lead role, Hardik Mehta’s Kaamyaab is a heartwarming tribute to those heroes of a film who are rarely talked about- the side actors. We have seen them many times, yet don’t remember their names because the spotlight is always on the guy on the poster.
“Darshakon ke dil mein sirf hero baste hain, humari koi pehchaan nahi hoti,” says the film’s protagonist, Sudheer (Sanjay Mishra), a retired character actor who keeps his friends and family close, but his bottle of alcohol closer. He is known for his dialogue: “Bas enjoying life, aur option hi kya hai” and has worked in 499 films. It is 2018 now, but time hasn’t moved for the actor who still re-watches his old films and has a collection of cassettes. “Cheezein purani ho jaati hain, bekaar nahi,” he says, and makes us realise the value of holding on to a time where people believe in letting go more (preachy, but emotional).
When we first see Sudheer in his home, being interviewed by a journalist, he is unenthusiastic. He seems to not recognise his own worth as an actor and has to be reminded that he is still important to people. When the journalist shows him his IMDb list for the first time, Sudheer realises that he is just one film away from the perfect 500 and is instantly motivated. Right from the first scene, the director establishes the intent of the film for the audience – a little support to the supporting actors can go a long way.
Coming back to the story, with a further nudge from his best friend, Sudheer decides to get back in to the game and find his 500th film. Is it ever too late to start dreaming again? Probably not.
The story of Kaamyaab is infused with emotions, but predictable. Which is why the film feels a bit stretched in places, especially the last scene.
One thing that Kaamyaab brings into focus is the unattractive side of filmmaking. As we embark on Sudheer’s journey, we are shown that what goes behind the camera isn’t as glamorous as what we see as the final product. There are the dreary auditions, cuts, retakes, costumes, make-up artists and a number of actors whose names aren’t even known to the general public. At the end of the day, they collect their day’s wage and go home. Without the expectation of being noticed by the public. Even though the film is a great attempt to shift the spotlight on to the side actors, it somehow feels incomplete. Sudheer’s relationship with his daughter is never fully elaborated. In one of the scenes, we hear her saying, “Maa bhi aise hi chali gayi,” which makes us wonder the cause of death of his wife. The writers could have therefore developed the subplots a bit more.
The dialogues are written cleverly and will even make you laugh from time to time. However, there are places that they seem to be a bit out of context.
Coming to the performances, Sanjay Mishra is fantastic as Sudheer. He makes our heart melt with that smile and gets us emotional with every frown. The film belongs to him, and he, belongs to the film. The actor plays varied characters in a single moment during the climax and that highlights his brilliance as an actor.
Deepak Dobriyal as Gulati is a delight to watch on the screen. He makes us laugh with his presence and delivers each dialogue with honesty.
Other supporting actors have done a fine job and keep the film’s atmosphere intact.
After two hours of an emotionally charged (even though predictable) ride, you will leave the theatre with a smile on your face.
Perhaps, Shah Rukh Khan saw the soul of the script which is why he backed the low-budget but high on emotions film.
We are going with 3 out of 5 stars for Kaamyaab.