Pankaj Tripathi leaves no scope for errors and shines all along in his debut as a solo lead. The movie contains all the elements of a blockbuster and shines throughout its runtime.
Kaagaz, directed by Satish Kaushik, is based on the copious journey of Lal Bihari Mritak, a farmer in Uttar Pradesh. He was declared dead on paper and had to fight a stretched battle against the snail-paced Indian system to prove that he was well and truly, alive.
Bharat Lal is the commonest of common men, who runs a small band in his remote rural village, to earn a loaf of his daily bread. In a quest to upscale his band, he decides to take a loan from the bank and finalises to mortgage his ancestral land for the same. Bharat is left flabbergasted when he finds himself dead in government records. Upon confronting his uncle and aunt, the co-owners of the land, the naive man comes to know about the conspiracy stitched by them to snatch full control of the property. The movie is about Bharat Lal fighting against the mighty Indian administrative system to regain his identity of being alive. He changes his name and adds 'Mritak' as a suffix, fights election against Rajiv Gandhi from Amethi, and does all that he could to achieve the sole goal of his life.
EVERYTHING! Satish Kaushik throws some delightful moments of a traditional Indian village to let the audiences reminisce their past experiences. When an able actor like Pankaj Tripathi happens to occupy almost every little frame of a movie, there's never going to be a dull moment and, this very thing works wonders for 'Kaagaz'. The intricacies of a village commoner can only be aced by someone who comes from that background and, the ingenious actor uses this to his advantage. His cheeky jokes, straightforward dialogue delivery, and surreptitious humour are the lifelines of this Zee5 Original. Kaushik, an astute director, has given himself a fair amount of role in the film and pitches his presence to perfection. The subtle music complements the screenplay throughout, and articulate writing provides momentum to the storyline. Another interesting and noticeable thing is the absence of a starry figure in the film, which further strengthens the belief that to pull off such real-life roles, you need character actors and not burgeoning superstars.
What doesn't work?
Surprisingly, there's nothing that doesn't work for the film. Even cinematic freedom used by the creators makes no negative impact on the viewing experience, which is a rarity considering the film's genre.
Don't miss out on this Pankaj Tripathi magic for stories like these are hardly implemented in such a perfect way. Also, cheers to the struggle and vigour of the real-life Lal Bihari Mritak.