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Kanpuriye Movie Review

Photo Credit: Supplied

In the recent times, there has been an overflow of films set in small towns. The success of a couple of films set in the hinterland of the country encouraged a bunch of filmmakers to make films in a similar space. While a few films have depicted life in small town quite accurately, a lot of them have shown things in a superficial way. Come to think of it, a city like Bareilly which has a small airport was projected as a sleepy, small town in a film! ‘Kanpuriye’ is the new film produced by Yoodlee Films, the film producing arm of music label Sa Re Ga Ma, is about three young men living in Kanpur, a city in Uttar Pradesh, and struggling to wriggle their way out of the difficult circumstances they are in and achieve different things in life.

Jaitun’s (Aparshakti Khurana) biggest aim at the moment is to get a promotion so that Bulbul’s (Harshita Gaur) father would let him marry her. Jaitun is deeply in love with Bulbul and that is one of the reasons why he has stayed put in Kanpur and unlike several of his peers, has not moved to a bigger city in search of better opportunities on the professional front. Vijay (Divyendu Sharma), a young lawyer, has been falsely accused of molesting a girl who happens to be his girlfriend. The girl’s family is hell bent on getting him punished for a crime which he has not even committed. Jugnu (Harsh Mayar) is the son of Lampat Harami (Vijay Raaz), who runs a ‘nautanki’ (drama) company in Kanpur and expects his son to join the ‘family business’. Jugnu, however, has other dreams. He is extremely passionate about cooking and aspires to become a celebrity chef.

“Sapnon ke shehar toh kayee par toote huye sapnon ka copyright sirf Kanpur ke paas hai,” says Sumeet Vyas (voice-over) as the end credits start rolling. This line, in a way, sums up the theme of the film. The way the film culminates is one of the best things about it. There is a bittersweet feeling that you are engulfed with as you see the three men’s stories reach their culmination. As stated earlier, there are only a handful of films which do justice to the milieu, in this case small town/city, they are set in and writer-director Ashish Aryan has brought out the essence of the city very well in this film. Though Kanpur is one of the biggest cites in Uttar Pradesh, it has managed to retain the qualities and characteristics one associate with small towns. There is very little complains on that front. The problem, however, is that the pace becomes sluggish at several points and make you lose interest in the narrative.  There are a couple of subplots and characters (like Jaitun’s father) which have been given more importance than they require. The film loses its way at several punctures but thankfully, ends on a winning note. The film also benefits from the fact that the characterisation, setting et al looks authentic.

Out of the three male leads, Aparshakti Khurana leaves the maximum impact. He wonderfully brings to the fore the internal and the external struggle his character is going through in the film. Divyendu Sharma does very well as Vijay. He stands out in the last scene in the courtroom. Harsh Mayar delivers a very good performance as a young man struggling to break through the shackles which he is trapped in and chase his dreams. Harshita Gaur looks pretty and leaves a strong impact despite her character having a limited arc. Vijay Raaz, as always, delivers a brilliant performance. Rajshri Deshpande puts forward an uninhibited performance and manages to lend a sense of dignity and strength to her character.  

‘Kanpuriye’ is a charming, little film that makes for a good watch. Yes, there are times when the film drags a bit but it is also one of those films that does justice to the world it is set in. Take a trip down Kanpur with the Kanpuriye boys!

Rating: 3/5

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