There have been many tales of star-crossed lovers in Bollywood. Tales of unfinished love have served as the bread and butter for the entertainment industry for a long time. So when you take age-old concepts to make a film in 2018, there has to be an X factor or it just falls flat.
SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT AND SARA ALI KHAN'S KEDARNATH
Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan were this 'X factor' in director Abhishek Kapoor's Kedarnath. The film released on this day two years ago and opened to mixed reviews. Kedarnath's plot never really moved much, nor did it keep us hooked because we knew what was going to happen. The dialogues too were forgettable. And don't even get us started on the excessive melodrama the film had at certain points. However, Sushant Singh Rajput and Sara Ali Khan's performances helped elevate a badly written script and even made people fall in love with their characters, and to some extent, the film.
SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT'S ENDEARING ACT
Moments into the film, we see Sushant Singh Rajput enter the frame with an endearing smile on his face, ready to take his next passenger up to the Lord Shiva temple in Kedarnath. His name is Mansoor, which irks others around him but our Mansoor remains unfazed by negativity and only exudes positive vibes. He is full of life, works diligently, and has a huge heart. He gives away free ladoos from his shop to pilgrims and later on, clicks a selfie with them.
Right from his big smile while posing for a photo with travellers to sticking his tongue out playfully while cracking a joke, Sushant Singh Rajput hooks the viewer to the film right from his introductory scene. Re-watching the film in 2020 isn't the same as watching it in 2018. In 2018, we all were praises for the young actor but in 2020, it only leaves us with a bittersweet feeling.
With his beaming face, hopeful eyes and a cheerful demeanour, Sushant made us fall in love with his character within the first few minutes of the film.
SARA ALI KHAN'S DEBUT
Then we see Sara Ali Khan on screen; the very first time. Her character is named Mukku and she is no less than a whirlwind. Her very first scene is a shot of her scolding a Pithoo (porter) as it is because of him that her favourite chappals are now broken. Sushant looks at Sara with the same innocence in his eyes with which a child looks at something he has really wanted for a long time. It isn't a very long scene, but we already know what is going to happen. Mansoor and Mukku will fall in love and the match will be opposed by their parents, resulting in a tragedy. But we watch the film nevertheless. Why? Because of the beautiful debutante who shows a lot of promise and Sushant, who had already proven his merit as an actor with Kai Po Che, a film made by the same director back in 2013.
UNMATCHED ENERGY OF THE ACTORS
Both Sushant and Sara displayed unmatched energy in Kedarnath. Be it dancing in a room full of men after India wins a cricket match against Pakistan or being straightforward and making an attempt to talk to Mansoor, Sara brought a freshness on the screen that one couldn't help but admire. As for Sushant, he won hearts while doing his job as a porter and made us go weak in the knees with his killer dance moves in the song Sweetheart.
Halfway through the film, Mansoor begins avoiding Mukku and the latter tries talking to him. When he doesn't respond to her efforts, she holds his hand in the middle of the market, pulls him aside and says, 'Woh thi wahaan, jahaan hum the?' The expressions of both the actors are at their peak during this scene.
Besides their unmatched energy, Sara and Sushant also gave depth to a script that could otherwise be termed as superficial. A dialogue as bad as "Marna mat, Mukku (Don't die Mukku)" is spoken by Sushant with such conviction that we can't help but feel something for the characters. Also, there are some scenes where Sara is seen chanting Mansoor's name and she slits her wrist after she gets married to someone else. These things only make us roll our eyes in 2018 but the actress has to be given credit for how she spoke through her eyes during these scenes.
There is another scene in the film where Mansoor and Mukku take shelter from the heavy rains in a cave. Mukku stands at the cave entrance and looks up to 'drink the sky'. Yes. She drinks raindrops and tells an 'emotional' story to Mansoor about how her Badi Amma used to love the rains and it rained heavily the day she died. The logic in this scene is, well, 0. But, the two actors look so much in love that we actually smile as they finally confess their love for each other.
It can be said that the climax of Kedarnath felt like a forced tragedy. Sara HAD to slit her wrists because the writers found no other way to evoke the audience's sympathy for the character and the rescue helicopter HAD to be overloaded because if one of the lead characters doesn't die at the end, it isn't a tragedy. None of these antics really worked in evoking emotions as such. But the conviction with which Mansoor and Mukku's parts were enacted made us feel like a part of their world. Even if it was for a short while.