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RAYON REVIEWS: Kalank is a Hard-Hitting, Realistic Portrayal of the Effects of Using too Much Kohl Under Your Eyes

By Salva Mubarak Updated: April 17, 2019 at 5:13 am 84 Comment

If the trailer of the movie was to be believed, then Kalank was going to be another story of star-crossed lovers, set in a time where there was no Instagram. But it’s so much more.



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Set in the 1940s, the story revolves around a polyamorous couple who refuses to be judged by society’s standards. Things become complicated when Roop (Alia Bhatt), one-third of the aforementioned polyamorous couple, falls in love with Muslim boy Zafar (Varun Dhawan).

This is not a new story. We’ve seen the same story play out in movies like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Prem Aggan, and Padmaavat, but what sets Kalank apart is the no holds barred portrayal of what using too much kohl could do to your life.

To establish Zafar’s Muslimness, he is always shown wearing an amulet around his neck, and a thick layer of kohl under his eyes. The movie doesn’t shy away from delving deep into the psych of a man who has to go around wearing this much amount of kohl, without letting it hinder his day-to-day activities.

On the surface of it, Kalank might be a grand love story, but it’s also a study in showing the devastating effects unsupervised kohl use can have on people.



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The credit must go to the writers for not shying away from articulating the reality of using too much kohl. We’ve all been there. We think we’re looking mysterious and our eyes are now a window to our soul, but in reality we’re looking like drunk racoons. Kalank may have its faults (we’ll get there), but never has there been a movie that has openly shown how kohl can ruin your life.

The place where Kalank falters is the age-appropriate use of Sanjay Dutt. It’s 2019 and. We’re getting a movie where Salman Khan is going to be paired opposite Alia Bhatt. Why are we seeing Sanjay Dutt in the role of an old man who isn’t paired opposite any wildly young actress?



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The performances by the main cast, including Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Sonakshi Sinha, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, and Madhuri Dixit are probably fine. I honestly can’t remember because I was still too shook by the whole kohl situation.

All in all, Kalank might be a poor way to make people feel bad for not appreciating Madhuri Dixit in Aaja Nachle enough, but it’s an OK way to remind ourselves that putting on too much kohl will not fix our lives’ problems.