Kartam Bhugtam REVIEW: Shreyas Talpade, Vijay Raaz hook you in with their mysterious undercurrent and keep you riveted with their tale of revenge

Kartam Bhugtam stars Shreyas Talpade, Vijay Raaz, Madhoo, and Aksha Pardasany, with Director Soham Shah making his comeback to the big screen a decade and a half after Luck.
Kartam Bhugtam

MUMBAI: Nobody, and I emphasize, nobody does revenge yarns better than Hindi cinema, whose writers and Directors have been spinning vignettes of vendetta since the days of stylistically filmed black-and-white movies. In fact, every decade, Hindi cinema throws up gems of revenge against myriad backdrops, with the latest decade being no different, cases in point Malang, Darlings, Chup, and Jawan. Now, in 2024, we get Kartam Bhugtam, starring Shreyas Talpade, Vijay Raaz, Madhoo, and Aksha Pardasany, marking Director Soham Shah's comeback to the big screen since 2009's ill-fated Luck, and it all but makes it to the upper echelons of Hindi cinema's great rumblings of revenge.

I say “all but” because for all its merits, the Kartam Bhugtam trailer was a bit misleading: We were promised a supernatural symphony of suspense, and instead we're served a revenge saga. However good it may be, some viewers are liable to be disillusioned having walked in expecting something else entirely. Additionally, the climax and ensuing denouement feel a tad convenient and contrived, somewhat diluting the impact of all the heavy-hitting that precedes them. That being said, these factors don't affect a film, which is already quite good from the word go, by a considerable margin.

The plot is pretty straightforward and been done a dime a dozen: NRI Dev, played with measured confidence and equal vulnerability by the perennially underrated Shreyas Talpade, returns to India from Auckland to negotiate the sale of crores of property and reap a couple of more crores from investments belonging to his now deceased father. Enter Anna, an astrologer who manipulates Dev to the point of blind servitude, after having become privy to the insurmountable obstacles the latter is facing to lay his hands on his inheritance. That Anna is carved with understated vileness and callousness is no surprise given that Vijay Raaz essays the part.

Madhoo and Aksha Pardasany are also up to the mark, acting as the perfect foils to both Raaz and Talpade. Soham Shah once again shows why the thriller genre is right up his forte, with a tight script and assured direction. The camerawork and production design could've been better, but some crisp editing and a well-done background score more than make up for shortcomings in the technical avenue.

To sum things up, Kartam Bhugtam is worth a watch in the theater, and then some, for those looking to be drawn in with a teasing mystery, and then be gripped with a tense revenge thriller.

3.5/5 stars

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Submitted by Russel D'silva on Fri, 05/17/2024 - 11:23

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