There’s no lack of movies with road trips. However, what makes Karwaan stand out is the delicate handling of the story by the director and the undertones of the movie that equates the road trip to discovering yourself, rightly said by one of the characters in the movie itself.
The movie is built upon a fairly improbable premise wherein the coffins of people get exchanged and are sent to different places, namely Bangalore and Kochi and the rest of the movie shows the road trip across South India. However, just like life itself, the road is never just straight. The detours and pit-stops aid in the process of discovery, making it more significant than the destination itself. The movie, marking the Bollywood debut of Dulquer Salman, has him occupying the forefront and rediscovering himself. He undergoes a process of self-discovery and realises the true meaning of friendships, mends his relationship with his father, albeit after his death and has an epiphany due to which he leaves his office with never seen before confidence to pursue his passion; photography.
The character being stuck in a routine job in an office where the walls read, ‘Don’t complain, unemployment feels worse’, is a situation we’re all familiar with and such familiarity is what helps this movie tug at the heartstrings of the audience. Irrfan shines throughout the movie, with his quips and his wit, as Dulquer’s companion, when he’s talking about his father or even when he’s just sitting in the background sipping tea. Mithila makes a relatively late entry to the trio, playing a teenager who realises that recklessness is not the same as rebelliousness and more than manages to hold off on her own against the both of them. Apart from these stellar performances, what works in the favour of Karwaan is unlike every other road movie, the characters don’t instantly bond and start talking, instead, it’s a very organic process and by the end of the movie, they’re all connected by their journey.
A Bollywood director exploring the depths of South India, especially God’s Own Country makes way for some splendid setting and doesn’t let you take your eyes off the screen. The background music with some of the lyrics penned by the director himself and brought to life by the likes of Prateek Kuhad is in perfect sync with the tone of the movie and leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling. An intelligent film with even the smallest of characters serving a purpose, especially Kriti Kharbhanda playing Dulquer’s college love interest who helps him realise that it’s never too late to change the direction of your life, makes this a movie worth watching,
A laid-back, unhurried, smart and yet, at times quite silly, but with incredible performances throughout, Karwaan is truly a journey that takes you along with it. The vehicle used for the road trip reads, ‘Log milte gaye aur karwaan banta gaya’, roughly translated as, ‘We keep meeting people and the journey continues.’ – a true testament to life and the movie.