Review: ‘Kedarnath’ a visually alluring movie

Director Abhishek Kapoor’s VFX heavy movie Kedarnath which recently hit the theaters was met with ambivalent reactions at the box office.  Amalgamating visually-pleasing cinematic elements against the backdrop of devastating Uttarakhand floods that happened in June 2013, Kedarnath sets its characters amid the turbulent times. The buzz and anticipation have been building ever since the first trailer was dropped. Speculations included parallels being drawn with Bollywood movies like Satyam Shivam Sundaram that bore the similar theme. Starring Sushant Singh Rajput along with the debutant Sara Ali Khan, the movie portrays clichéd inter-religious love-story between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy along with the most unconventional inclusion of the Uttarakhand floods. The calamitous premise of the Uttarakhand floods adds the emotional and surprising quotients to the movie.  The VFX heavy movie Kedarnath takes you to the temple, its surroundings and offers a glimpse into the lives of people residing in the area along with their daily struggles in relation to earning a livelihood from the pilgrims. The visual representation and recreation of the authenticity and reality of Indian pahari culture have amused the viewers including the alluring beauty of the valleys, the mountains, the waterfall and the temple. On the other hand, the enthralling VFX of the natural disaster has that real and emotional essence which might remind viewers of the actual time and mishaps. As they say, good VFX work is when one can’t tell the difference. The VFX blend in the movie is so refined that it will be difficult to figure out what were the actual VFX shots. For example, recalling the torrential disaster, the VFX representation of the giant wave submerging the Kedarnath temple is stunning as it reveals how the wave bounces on temple top and subsumes everything. With the presentation of the water submerging the temple, it is understood that a lot of technicalities would have been incorporated in designing the shot. The flow of the water, the temple bounce and the massive splash that submerges everything are visually jaw-dropping for the audience. As a viewer one wishes the movie was in 3D with a better storyline. Had the story involved more about the calamity and less about the soppy romance, perhaps the movie would have carried more gravitas. Overall, the movie serves as a chilling reminder to the audience of the disaster and pain of losing their loved ones and damage caused as the nature strikes back with its indiscriminate fury. It gives the impression that one clings at the edge of the mountain range which will be swept off by the waters. Honestly, the visual representation of the real Uttarakhand flood on screen has propelled the movie to a whole new level. To get more insights on the VFX front of the movie watch this interview with the Kedarnath VFX head Vishwas Savanoor.
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