Chaos, ambition and rock n’ roll

- Manisha Neupane, Kathmandu
Chaos, ambition and rock n’ roll

Jun 17, 2013-

A band’s search for the perfect vocalist is not exactly uncharted territory as far as motion pictures are concerned. Many a film has been made on the subject, and the films’ tones have ranged from emotionally-draining to light-heartedly comedic. The new release Karkash tries its hand at exploring the dynamics of music and relationships, in what certainly seems like a novel concept for Nepali cinema. A ‘dark comedy’, as its makers have called it, Karkash follows three friends (cum band-mates) who dream of making it big in the music industry here by winning a band competition. Their only problem: They don’t have a lead singer to even qualify them for participation.   

The film’s exposition pretty much deals with the fall-out between lead vocalist and band, and the story gains momentum once the three remaining members start actively seeking for a replacement. The fact that their lead singer walks out on them at a crucial moment essentially means that their ambition of recording an album and creating space for themselves in the music industry seems more like a dream than ever before, and this is only the first of numerous troubles that follow. There are more serious difficulties ahead, and the film even makes room for one or two chases and a whole lot of drama. Karkash has an interesting premise, and some equally interesting sub-plots, all connected to the four main characters. And despite falling flat all too often, the screenplay manages to pick itself up time and again, incorporating much-needed humour.  

Sandesh (Raymon Das Shrestha), who is a bit hard at hearing, Prabhat (Satya Raj Acharya) who has his stammer to deal with and Andy (Dayahang Rai) meet Ivan (Suraj Singh Thakuri) in the process of searching for a potential vocalist for their band ‘Karkash’. After a jam session in which Bob Marley’s Buffalo Soldier and Bryan Adams’ Summer of ‘69 figure predominantly, the trio decide that Ivan will be a perfect fit for their band. Little do they know that the decision to let Ivan in on their lives is going to change things drastically. Ivan is a shady sort of character who—the audience soon learns—is engaged in an illegal foreign currency and drug racket. Our awesome threesome find themselves uninvited guests in this saga as Ivan collapses on the final day of the competition (on which rides all their dreams and aspirations) due to an overdose, and they find

the cash and the drugs stashed on him. A few more twists come along, and all of this makes for an abrupt climax. The film makers almost seem to be rushing towards an ending and one cannot help but feel like an unhurried approach to the same would have made for a better cinematic experience.

There is little logic in Karkash, but the entertainment quotient is all there. The second half, in particular, is a lot better than the much milder first. Director Asif Shah’s debut is successful enough, and it seems like G21 Productions will have little to complain about. The performances themselves, like the film, are neither too brilliant nor too bad; ‘average’ would just about sum them up. Thakuri’s character seems a bit under-developed compared to the others, and there is too much of drinking and smoking for the film to handle. It all gets irritating after a point, to be honest.

Nonetheless, Karkash is an engaging watch, and the background score, by Tsujil Karmacharya, adds an interesting dimension to the narration. Susan Praja-pati’s cinematography is also quite impressive. The film definitely has its share of flaws, but it is funny and entertaining to watch for the less-finicky. Nothing extraordinary here, but certainly worth one watch.

Published: 18-06-2013 09:28

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