Kedarnath is set in the backdrop of the 2013 floods that wreaked havoc in Uttarakhand. It is a story of blossoming love between a Hindu-Muslim couple despite the odds. It missed the point when a lot could be added to add to the element of the film.
Akbar Mohammad is a Writer and Film Critic based in Mumbai.
Love stories that revolve around people from different backgrounds whether they are in terms of their religions, economic statuses or nationalities seem to be having a never dying market. In fact, it seems that the very difficult and hardship that become part of such a journey manage to capture a wide ranging audience.
No wonder, when Abhishek Kapoor made the film Kedarnath about two people from religious communities that are most hostile to each other in India, it naturally pulled people to the theatre.
The Hindu-Muslim romance is set in a way that it tries to look at the problems that a cross religious couple face when the ambience is so hostile. In this movie, Mansoor( Sushant Singh Rajput)falls for Mandakini( Sara Ali Khan) who is the daughter of an important Hindu priest.
It is said that the movie is based on real circumstances that took the entire state of Uttarakahnd by storm in 2013, when massive floods destroyed a large part of the state. Amidst the devastation and destruction, the love between the two prospers despite the social hostility.
Mansoor and Mandakini’s love story is made much more interesting by the difference in their economic backgrounds; Mansoor is a porter who transports the luggage and belonging of the pilgrims to Kedarnath.
His dedication to his work and his warmth attract Mandakini towards him despite the reality that she has a long list of men who admire her and a fiance who is over protective.
The love blossoms along the long trudges of the mountainside and has an old world charm about it. The aftermath of the destruction leaves the people helpless and Mansoor suggests that no more construction activity should take place there as the disaster is man-made.
His appeal is undermined and he is shouted over due to his religious beliefs. The movie has tried to depict the love story of people from opposed religious backgrounds in the backdrop of natural calamities.
The movie has some beautiful locations and moments that seem promising to the audience but despite the brisk storytelling, the movie never touches the heart.
Sara Ali Khan’s acting debut finds her confident and full of high spirits. She manages to pull off the movie and does justice to her part. She is watchable and loved throughout the film.
Kedarnath is a film that misses the point where it could have done justice to the complex issue of the role of people in natural disasters. The excessive significance that is laid upon the love story does nothing about the main backdrop against which the story is set.
The rhetoric of Hindu-Muslim love stories need to be explored in a way that they can bring something new to the audience. It is the opportune time for Indian films to aspire for the new and look beyond the taken for granted tales.