BOTTOM LINE: A Relevant Thematic Anthology Poorly Narrated
|Platform: MX Player||Genre: Crime|
What Is the Story About?
Kashmakash is an anthology series comprising five different stories (told in as many episodes) that deal with addiction and loneliness at various levels. A 20s something woman diagnosed with kleptomania has an uncontrollable urge to steal and is even caught by a shop owner during the act. Another millennial from a small town, who’s an admin of a local Whatsapp group spreads fake messages to turn situations in his favour.
A lonely wife of a police officer seeks refuge in a social networking app, unaware of its ugly façade. A college-girl takes to drugs to emotionally move on from the dysfunctional family she’s a part of. A film star particular about keeping his digital fame intact reveals more than he’s supposed to. Where does their addiction take them to?
Abigail Pande as Jiya plays the vulnerable girl with kleptomania with reasonable conviction, while Supriya Shukla manages to warrant your attention, albeit for a brief duration. Other actors Sharad Malhotra, Anjum Fakih, Vahbiz Dorabjee, Eijaz Khan, Abhishek Kapur pitch in with impressive performances, though most of them deserved meatier parts. Lavina Tandon tries a tad too hard to sell her drug-addict role – some restraint could have certainly helped.
Music and other performances:
The decent soundtrack, vivid cinematography keep the series in good stead. It’s the writing that needed more imagination – the storytelling is drab and too dull to ‘drop everything and watch it’. The dialogues perhaps required wit and could have been more abstract than apparent.
Kashmakash is an amalgam of five diverse stories where the protagonist invites peril into his/her life (almost knowingly) and pays a heavy price for it. Every episode in the series also comes with an alternative take, where the protagonist imagines a different version of their story – what if they had not taken those decisions in vulnerable moments? It’s an interesting idea for a series, targeting an instinctive generation that’s experiencing loneliness more than any other era.
However, one needs no reminder that good intentions alone can’t make a good series – it also needs imaginative storytelling, well-established characters and performers. Predictability is Kashmakash’s biggest area of concern – most stories are narrated almost similarly and drive a similar message across. The filmmakers mistake thematic similarity to narrative similarity (which feels like a formula for the viewer). The plots, even otherwise, are very simplistic.
It takes skill to tell a story in the shorter form – especially in terms of the surprises it can offer, the impact it can leave behind, the dimension it takes and ultimately makes the viewer relate with the conflicts of the characters (at least, in the case of this series). There have been many anthology stories but only a rare attempt like Lust Stories could stand out and there was a reason for it. Though all stories boiled down to the plot about desire among women – the lens through which they were narrated was as different as chalk and cheese. Even Zee5’s Fingertip dealt with a thematic cousin of Kashmakash, perhaps more smartly.
All it would have taken for a few conflicts in Kashmakash to resolve is a simple conversation – especially in the case of a kleptomaniac girl who doesn’t reveal about her medical condition to her parents. The story about the perils of fake Whatsapp forwards in a small town Rampur starts convincingly, but the ending feels too extreme. The episode about a college-going girl who’s taken to drugs reasons her dysfunctional family for the addiction. The filmmaker fails to understand that addiction sometimes may not have a reason at all. What this portion succeeds in doing is to extend the ‘drug addict-due-to-troubled-family’ stereotype.
In the other story, the loneliness of the homemaker wife could have been the bigger issue than her sudden digital fame. The final episode about the actor who can’t resist sharing images and his whereabouts to his fans is a rare instance in the series where the danger feels palpable. The series could have made a difference if the filmmakers (Shiva Verma, Saptraj Chakraborthy, Anil V Kumar, Saket N Yadav) weren’t hellbent about forcing an ending upon the viewer and had left something for them to interpret. However, a welcoming takeaway from the series is that it would very likely prompt many storytellers to attempt thematic anthologies.
Music and Other Departments?
Relevant idea for a thematic anthology
Simplistic, predictable narration
Poorly established characters
Did I Enjoy It?
Will You Recommend It?
Review by Srivathsan Naddadhur
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