Hindi / Movie Review

Kaminey (2009)

To See or Not to See: That is the Question?

Unlike the title of this review which rhymes with Hamlet, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Kaminey has nothing to do whatsoever with any of Shakespeare’s literary offerings. On the contrary, it seems Vishal has consciously chosen to leave his obsession with The Bard far behind to once again prove his finesse with both original and adapted screenplays.


Kaminey is a dark tale of two brothers (twins) who care two hoots about each other. Yet, their destinies intertwine and bring them to a point where it’s “The Brothers Vs. The Kamineys (the underbelly dogs).” But the stereotype that blood is thicker than water prevails and the brothers unite to save each other in the face of adversity.

Sounds cliche? Don’t be too sure. With heart-thumping music that sets the pace of the flick, Kaminey is as much about the dreams of its lead protagonists Charlie and Guddu (both featuring Shahid Kapur in a dual role) as it is about the life-like characters driven by greed and lust for power. Each character is well etched with hitherto rarely seen eccentricities on the big screen. Take Charlie for instance who pronounces “Sa” as “Fa” and Guddu who stammers at the drop of a hat; the Bengali brothers who are a psyched out lot; or Bhope (Amol Gupte) the regionalist Maharashtrian gangster with political ambitions.

More than Shakespeare, there’s one obsession Vishal cannot do without — the underbelly. Call it what you may: mafia, gangsters, goons or the corrupt politician. Vishal has an eye for perceiving the dark side of human nature and brilliantly depicts this dark side through his characters with grit, honesty, and humour. Where he misses out is in the intensity of these characters. Unlike his previous flicks (Maqbool and Omkara), the Kamineys in Kaminey fail to impress.

Although Kaminey is nowhere in league with Maqbool and Omkaara it does not fail to entertain and sets new standards in Bollywood filmmaking — both technically and screenplay-wise. Let me answer the question on whether you should see it or not like how Charlie would: “Don’t Mi’ff’ It. ”

This review was originally published as the prize winning reader’s review entry in Filmfare, September 2009

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