All of us are aware of the sacrifices that Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, or Peter Dinklage made before they found their respective success. Ironically, it was the success that shone light on their sacrifices. What would have happened to their stories if they hadn’t found success? Would their struggles be respected? As a former performing artist myself, I wonder what it is that makes a performing artist go on a tumultuous journey with so little chance of success? Kaamyaab is a story of one such unrecognized performing artist and his journey in the glittery world of Bollywood.
Kaamyaab tracks the life of Sudheer/Babulal Chandola (Sanjay Mishra) and his struggle while he plays the role of a ‘celebrated’ extra in Bollywood. After spending nearly 40 years in the industry, Sudheer retires from acting and has very little to look forward to until the day he realizes (through IMDb) that he has acted in 499 films. Inspired by this and with the help of old friend Dinesh Gulati (Deepak Dobriyal), he sets out of retirement with hope to bag his next role that would help him cross the 500-film mark. What follows is a tragic comedy journey of a performing artist and a portrayal of real vs reel life.
For an actor who has not enjoyed a lot of screen time in his previous films, Mishra carries the entire movie on his shoulders and delivers a flawless performance in doing so. Deepak Dobriyal and Isha Talwar have also given sublime performances in their purposeful characters. This film also has a nostalgic scene wherein you see familiar faces of yesteryear in one frame. Supporting actors such as Avtar Gill, Late Shri. Viju Khote, Lilliput, Manmauji, Birbal, and many more.. This film grabs your attention within the first few minutes and before you know it, you are rooting for Mishra and his success.
Made on a shoestring budget, director Hardik Mehta said that “The budget of Kaamyaab is lower than the cost of vanity vans parked on the sets of big budget films”. However, the fate of the film changed when Shah Rukh Khan’s production company ‘Red Chillies’ saw the film during the fim festival rounds and decided to buy it. According to Khan, “This film touched a chord with the whole team and decided to buy it”.
The film ends on a very symbolic note which explains what compels a performing artist go on a tumultuous journey with so little chance of actually making it. The answer is ‘validation’. The need for validation is a very strong motivation that keeps us going from one failure to another. Many times, we seek validation from external sources such as media, fame and monetary success only to realize that the only kind we need is ‘self-validation’.
Reviewed by Puneet Ruparel