Director: Sahil Sangha
Cast: Sharman Joshi, Mona Singh, Mikhail Gandhi, Vivan Bhatena, Zarina Wahab, Mona Vasu, Preeti Jhangiani, Mukesh Chhabra
Where: Streaming on SONY LIV
Rating: 2 stars
The need to address pressing issues regarding abuse and trauma in today's insensitive times has become a lot more pivotal now. In such a scenario, your expectations are bound to dial up when director Sahil Sangha offers to present the disturbing concern of child abuse in an Indian setting. Inspired by the British series 'Dark Money', 'Kafas' attempts at deep-diving into the causes and effects of unpleasant life-altering experiences following instances of assault and abuse.
Starring Sharman Joshi, Mona Singh, Mikhail Gandhi, Vivan Bhatena and Zarina Wahab in key roles, 'Kafas' begins with Sunny (Gandhi), a child artiste who is dealing with a traumatic experience from the sets of his film 'Superdad', which he films with the reigning superstar Vikram (Bhathena). The unsuspecting child has been repeatedly abused by his powerful senior and he confides about it to his parents Raghav (Joshi) and Seema (Singh). He has a video shot on his cellphone to back his claim. When the parents file a case against the actor, his lawyers offer compensation and a non-disclosure agreement that will disallow the family to discuss the said incident anywhere in the public space. Given their cash-strapped circumstances, the parents accept the compensation in order to secure a better future for their kids. But, the guilt of having let their son down weighs heavily on their conscience.
From the plot itself, you can gather that a subject like this instantly piques your interest, but unfortunately Sangha and writer Karan Sharma execute weakly written characters that lack conviction and a solid ground to justify the questionable actions of the parents is denied. It also does not help that several characters are tossed in between only to add further weight to the narrative, but none register a lasting impression. For those who have seen Dark Money, will vouch for the fact that the original wasn't a knockout show in itself, but with an Indian adaptation, you are bound to expect better, if you're aiming to reach a wider audience. Unfortunately, that does not stand true for 'Kafas'.
A still from Kafas
What's worse is even the central performances don't necessarily connect. Except for Singh as the conflicted and ocassionally selfish mother, everyone else stick out like sore thumbs. Particularly jarring is Gandhi as Sunny as the young actor lacks emotional range and sports exactly one singular expression throughout. Joshi could pretty much be Raju from 3 Idiots, who got married and is now living the family life. You can't tell the difference.
Eventually, 'Kafas' comes across as a wasted opportunity. Give it a chance if you may want to, just don't raise your expectations.