Abhishek Kapoor directorial 'Kedarnath' is a love story set in the backdrop of a picturesque pilgrim place of Uttarakhand's Rudraprayag district Kedarnath. Now, for the audiences who are expecting to witness the 2013 tragedy majorly, it is just embedded in the film's climax as a cameo, while the entire film majorly revolves around a depthless love story.
The film begins interestingly with the introduction of Mansoor aka Sushant Singh Rajput, a Muslim porter who loves his work of making the pilgrim reach their destination of the significant temple. His character is served with innocence and a lot of grace as he joins the journey of these pilgrims whole-heartedly and that's how the film starts off strongly. As the narrative proceeds, Mansoor notices a pretty woman fighting with a porter and it is the debutant Sarah Ali Khan marking her presence with a lot to look forward and she is pleasant to watch on screen. In fact, she plays a daughter of a pandit Mandakini aka Mukku who is fond of cricket and that's how she is introduced to us abusing Pakistani batsmen while watching the India - Pak cricket match. Followed by this loverboy Mansoor falls for a celebrating Mukku and from here starts an emphasized love story from the Himalayan Valley.
Supporting this hazy love story, there are some pivotal characters that make their presence felt which is Mukku's pandit father played by Nitish Bharadwaj. Sonali Sachdev as her bothering mother. Mukku's insecure sister played by Pooja Gor, Mansoor's mother played by Alka Amin and the antagonist Nishant Dahiya who plays a Hindu extremist with a viewpoint of commercializing the valley to gather more pilgrims. As the narrative proceeds a romantic drama fan, one searches for some meaningful conversations, some eloquent moments but the director fails when it comes to create a blooming chemistry between the two. The two are shown travelling quite often now and conviction is what the audiences would miss out on. Heavy rains make them take shelter in a vast cave when the two gets emotionally entwined following a steamy kissing scene. A morally correct Mansoor is realizing all the Hindu gurus from the valley pleading them to not commercialize the valley is here when the controversial elements are placed showcasing Nishant Dahiya and Sushant's conflict.
And What next a cliche storyline of these lovebirds being separated due their families on basis of religion, is too predictable. Although, songs of the film remain the best part to remember; charm of these alluring locations with Amit Trivedi's music meeting Arijit Singh's voice. The very first song of the film titled 'Namo Namo' composed and performed by Amit Trivedi is an elegant devotional number that literally takes us to tour the scenic valley along with the hardship journey of a porter. Lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya makes us feel the adherence of Lord Shiva in the heart of a passionate devotee. Next song 'Qaafirana' showcases Mansoor and Mukku's blooming chemistry and to present it we have the endearing voice of Arijit Singh who makes lose ourselves. Another Arijit Singh's number 'Jaan Nisaar' is an emotional number set up with the bitter moments as Mansoor restricts himself from getting close to Mukku. It completely focuses on the tensed emotions of the two and it can be felt as the song is beautifully picturized. What completes Kedarnath's music album is the happening wedding number 'Sweetheart' performed by Dev Negi as we have Sara and Sushant grooving on this number.
This Abhishek Kapoor film had some technical flaws as at some places VFX were weak making it look unreal. We could easily make out these fake sets but the climax of the film is where the intensity is at its peak. Although barely a 10 minutes tragedy scene plays a cameo in their supporting; Titanic like caricatured love story these scenes were so convincing and it literally shook us at places. The massive waves of floods rising on to the Kedarnath temple taking all the dwellings away with its destruction was absolutely convincing and barely a two minutes documentary clip of the tragedy was supported to prove the authenticity of the film. What's more unbelievable is its early 2013 and these porters using android phones and our hero Mansoor talking about Facebook simply proves of the makers taking huge creative liberties. But when it comes to ground reality the entire Kedarnath valley is run by Gorkha and Garhwali Pahadi porters and here is why the disclaimer of being fictional was attached at the beginning of the film.
The film is cinematic just in the songs, the rest of the time we don't witness the location too much of it. While the chemistry development was not up to the mark as well. The tragedy plays the best cameo in the film although supporting cast acted decently. It is Sara Ali Khan who performs above average and at some places, she is truly pretty, she definitely makes an impact with her debut. Sushant Singh Rajput plays an introvert Pitthu, quite shy, talks less and does his emotional scenes bang on.
Tushar Kanti Ray cinematography was the match winner and we wanted more of it. Screenplay by Kanika Dhillon lacks pace as the film is quite dull when we take a tour of the lead pair's chemistry. Abhishek Kapoor's direction missed some spark and it could not be a standout film in the end. Watch Kedarnath only if you want to watch the newbie Sara Ali Khan performing so well.