Truth is in the documents
Producer: Salman Khan Films with Satish Kaushik Entertainment
Director: Satish Kaushik
Writers: Satish Kaushik, Imtiyaz Hussain, Ankur Suman, Shashank Khandelwal
Cast: Pankaj Tripathi, Monal Gajjar
That India lives in multiple centuries simultaneously is proved yet again in Kaagaz set far
beyond the cruising metro and blazing neon lights of cosmopolitan. A satirical comedy based in Azamgarh, UP, tells the story of a man declared dead on official papers and his journey to prove himself alive, a comment on the flawed system of land resources in India and the struggle of a common man for his self-respect.
Can a living man be dead and the answer is yes, on paper everything is possible and once a document becomes official it is an uphill task to reverse facts. Bharat Lal/ Pankaj Tripathi is a musician who plays band at village weddings and is content in his ordinary life but his wife Rukhmini/ Monal Gajjar wants him to expand his business and so a reluctant Lal seeks a bank loan and in the process of obtaining guarantee discovers that his relatives have robbed his land declaring him dead on document.
From here on begins Bharat Lal’s struggle to prove himself alive. He provokes his relatives, cries to the villagers, pleads with the sarpanch and with the help of an able lawyer/ Satish Kaushik fights a never-ending battle against the system. He files affidavit after affidavit to Tahsildar- Talukdar- Corporator- Governor- Chief Minister including the Prime Minister of the country but there is no response.
When the legal route fails, Lal resorts to illegal plans, kidnaps the child of his oppressors, sits on a protest in the middle of a campaign trail, forms a union of the ‘dead alive’, fights election with a skeleton as the party symbol and in the climax resorts to contempt of the court but nobody arrests him because filing an FIR against a dead man will prove him alive and no authority – police or judge can risk that.
Years pass by, Bharat Lal has a second child now and even though his home is barren, his business shut and pockets empty, his fight for justice continues. The positives of the film are the writing, music, humour, casting and most important, the issue. The negatives are the inconsistencies, as the issue progresses the humour diminishes and so does the detailing. The powerful climax compensates for the lapses and so do the performances. Monal Gajjar is a natural and Pankaj Tripathi once gain makes a place in our hearts.
With more actors like Salman Khan endorsing issue -based films, we can transform our villages forever. Satish Kaushik, director of Roop ki Rani proves that he is a Kaagaz ka Raja.
Kaagaz is for everyone who is concerned about society and self-respect. You can catch the film on Zee5 Premium.