Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saswata Chatterjee

Classification: 13 V

Running time: 115 minutes

Rating: ****

Hindi cinema has never been as edgy with its storytelling as it is right now.

Kahaani injects sensibility into a simple formula meant to entice audiences with something experimental rather than attract them purely on commercial value.

This is the story of Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), who is seven month pregnant, and her daunting struggle to find her husband in Kolkata. The only substantial proof of his existence is their unborn baby.

It is to the credit of the film-makers that they have not resorted to Bollywood melodrama.

The scriptwriters have taken good advantage of the spellbinding story by developing it with the necessary intrigue and emotion and placing it against a dynamic background.

Director Sujoy Ghosh has created an entrancing portrait of a brave and compassionate woman, allowing us to feel as if we are a part of her journey.

Balan’s calculated portrayal of Vidya is worthy of another Best Actress award. She effortlessly becomes the film’s most dramatic highpoint with explosions of grief that never register as false or forced. Her performance as a woman of resolve is laudable. Her character has the strength to defiantly move on despite the crisis at hand, thereby emphasising honesty and courage as the main virtues of Kahaani.

Bengali actors Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Dhritiman Chatterjee strongly support Balan.

This is not your typical summer popcorn flick. It’s a heavy drama that is also engaging.

Vishal Shekhar’s abstract musical score features a top-notch rendition by Amitabh Bachchan that lends thematic exuberance to the storytelling.

The score signifies moments of despair from the extraordinary coldness of the setting to the web of lies surrounding the central character.

• Journalist and media personality Varshan Sookhun is the producer and presenter of Bollywood Billboard and Midday Spice on Lotus FM (87.7-106.8)