CAST: Sanya Malhotra, Anant V Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Vijay Raaz, Brijendra Kala

DIRECTOR: Yashowardhan Mishra

Moba MLA Munnalal Pateria (Vijay Raaz) is livid. Someone has brazenly stolen two precious Malaysian jackfruits, each weighing 15 kilos, from his front yard. These jackfruits were intended for a special pickle, a promised gift for the state’s Chief Minister (set in Uttar Pradesh).

Kathal Review: Sanya Malhotra Strikes Gold Again With Her Impressive Act In  Heartwarming Film

The investigating officer, Mahima Basor (Sanya Malhotra), is both amused and shocked by the situation. As she confides in her superintendent, this case seems rather unconventional. Nevertheless, it falls upon her to locate the missing jackfruits with the help of constables Kunti (Neha Saraf) and Saurabh (Anant Vijay Joshi), who also happens to be her romantic partner.

Kathal, produced by Guneet Monga Kapoor of Sikhya Entertainment, shares similarities with Pagglait, another light-hearted and socially aware dark comedy featuring Malhotra.

The influence of TVF (The Viral Fever) is evident as director Yashowardhan Mishra incorporates the visual style commonly seen in the best TVF shows, complete with cameos from actors Raghubir Yadav and Ranjan Raj. The art design and cinematography are vibrant and playful, with pops of pink and orange, including a notable pink Nano car and an orange popsicle. The climactic final confrontation takes the form of a vegetable fight. While the film doesn’t offer groundbreaking ideas, it manages to captivate and retain the attention of an impatient audience member.

Kathal movie review: Sanya Malhotra's near-perfect satire impresses in  parts | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Kathal portrays a perceptive understanding of the small-town world and its encounters with modernity. Mahima, the protagonist, uses CCTV footage and WhatsApp images to crack the case, while Brijendra Kala’s character adds depth as a forensic expert in a suit.

The pervasive presence of digitization is juxtaposed with the perception that technology and Western influences can have corrupting effects. Interesting dynamics arise, such as when Mahima is given incriminating details about a missing girl based on her choice of clothing, while another cop seeking an upper-caste groom for his daughter judges her based on Western attire seen in photos on his phone.

Kathal movie review: A sweet-and-sharp mystery

Sanya Malhotra delivers a flawless performance as Mahima, effortlessly portraying both a sweet-faced demeanor and moments of exasperation. The film maintains its light-hearted tone, not providing her character with significant challenges.

The most compelling scenes are those shared between Mahima and Joshi’s character, exploring a power dynamic rarely seen in Hindi film couples. Despite being a humble constable, Saurabh struggles to overcome his caste privilege.

Kathal Review: Sanya Malhotra Shines in An Inconsistent Jackfruit Mystery |  Leisurebyte

Mahima calls him out on mistreating the less fortunate while patiently waiting for his promotion, which would allow them to marry. This lively interplay of emotions is brought to life by the dynamic performances of Malhotra and Joshi, adding a spark to the narrative.

Streams on Netflix

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