Inspired by real life events, Kaagaz is directed by Satish Kaushik, produced by Salman Khan and with talented Pankaj Tripathi in lead. Based on the struggles of a man who was falsely registered as dead in government records, Kaagaz, steaming now on Zee 5 had high hopes pinned to it.
Kaagaz is set in the era of emergency where Bharat Lal (Pankaj Tripathi) owns a small Band and plays in weddings and functions. When suggested by his friends and wife, he applies for a loan to expand his business.
For a bank guarantee he goes to his uncle to get the property papers, which they fraudulently have transferred to their sons, by declaring Bharat dead in the government records. Bharat approaches the concerned office regarding this but gets no help.
Bharat’s on-paper death becomes a joke in the village and he is constantly made up of. Finally he decides to file a case and there he meets an advocate Sadhuram Kewat (Satish Kaushik) and thus starts a fight for his identity.
He keeps on trying every trick in the book to get a paper form any government office with his name on it but never succeeds. From kidnapping his nephew to get an FIR done on his name, or insulting a judge to get arrested, from contesting elections against Rajeev Gandhi, to sneaking into Vidhan Sabha and raising slogans, he does everything but nothing works.
The movie goes on showing the journey of Tripathi across years, now obsessed with getting himself declared as alive, making sacrifices in the process. He deals with politicians, police, goons and even creates a “Mritak Party”.
Does he finally achieve the alive status after all that struggle, what all challenges he faces in the process is what this socio-political satire deals with.
Kaagaz is based on a novel idea and has a perfect recipe for a very good satire. To add to this Pankaj Tripathi as the lead has been the biggest plus of the movie, he effectively carries the movie on his shoulders.
There are a lot of moments in the film which are genuinely funny, a few satirical ones as well, which really make you think, what many poor people go through, for the issues which ideally look so ridiculous to be existing in the first place.
Kaagaz, which could have been a standout film still manages to be an average film, largely because of its one dimensional storyline and direction.
The movie looks dated, and the screenplay seems to be stuck and repetitive after a point. The humour also after a point gets repetitive and if not for Pankaj Tripathi, this could have been a tough watch.
Movie like Kaagaz, rely heavily on some hard hitting scenes (which the movie lacks) and some clever tongue in cheek humour (which wears out too soon)
The characters barring the one of Pankaj Tripathi, His wife and Satish Kaushik are mostly weird. Be it the evil aunt and uncle, or a moustached MLA Amar Upadhyay, the characters look totally over the top which don’t fit well in the setting of the movie.
Kaagaz has one top notch performance from Pankaj Tripathi as Bharat. Though he has been quite repetitive for some time now, Kaagaz gives him an opportunity and he unleashes himself brilliantly.
Monal Gajjar as Pankaj’s wife Rukmini is excellent and so is Brajendra Kala as Judge who appears in just 1 scene. Satish Kaushik as Lawyer Sadhuram is very good and has done much better as an actor than the director in this case.
Mita Vashisht as Asharfi Devi is decent, Amar Upadhyay as the MLA is irritating and misfit. The other supporting actors are very ordinary.
The scene where Tripathi breaks down in front of the judge is emotionally moving, but as soon as the scene gets over he suggests that it’s a drama which he was doing to get arrested, showcases the brilliance with which he can seamlessly move from one mood to another.
Kaagaz is a novel idea, which somehow did not translate that effectively on screen despite brilliant performances by Pankaj Tripathi and Satish Kaushik. Weak direction, one dimensional storytelling and loose editing robs the film from realising its potential.
Having said that Kaagaz is still the movie that should be watched once for its plot and some very good performances.