Few fun facts before getting into how Ranbir Kapoor has always been a performer even way before he knew it; Karma is a 26-minute short film also starring Sharat Saxena in the lead role. It was first titled ‘India, 1964’ because of the era it’s set in & Arjun Kapoor is the third assistant of this short. This was shot in 2004, i.e. three years before Ranbir dropped his towel in Saawariya.
2021 started with Ranbir dropping one of the best ‘non-visual’ announcement video of all time with ‘Animal’. It hints at highlighting this troubled relationship between a father & a son.
If you’re here after watching both of them, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. Watch Karma and then listen to Ranbir’s dialogue from Animal; I think that might add a little sense to what I’m trying to explain.
Back to Karma, set entirely in the Thane jail, the film revolves around a Jailer (Sharat Saxena) who is known to give a ‘smooth and quick’ execution by hanging to the convicts. The story is about the hardest execution of his life when he faces his son Aryan (Ranbir Kapoor) on the other side of the bars.
Why is Aryan here? Will the jailor turn soft and won’t be able to witness the sight of his son hanging? That’s what Writer-Director Abhay Chopra explores in this short film.
This little stint proves why Ranbir Kapoor was born to be an actor. Till now, we thought a star was born in 2007 with Saawariya, but actually, the same star was prematurely born in 2004 with Karma. The emotional depth he created within minutes of being on-screen back in 2004 is still unmatchable to many celebrities around today.
He had just one emotion (sorrow) to fiddle around with the whole time, but he adds his variation to even the dull required nature of the story. The master of many trades, Sharat Saxena, exudes the character’s vulnerability in a satisfyingly moving manner. He keeps the face of a ‘failed father’ throughout, developing a solid connect with the viewer.
Abhay Chopra & Rakesh Bakshi follow the ‘The Green Mile’ template to pen the screenplay for this one. The dark undertones with an emotion-heavy subject, including a helpless pair of father & a son, say a lot in just under half an hour. It asks some irrefutable questions by the end, leaving things ambiguous. Somak Mukherjee’s camerawork captures the dry & dreary jail in a knifelike rustic way. With the types of equipment of 2004, this is a very acceptable quality cinema. Athul Prashar goes with the only available option of a ‘chilling’ background score perfectly blended with the narration. It neither gets too dramatic nor too silent to make you feel isolated in the jail.
All in all, a brilliant attempt was made by a talented set of people in 2004, and here we are, 17 years later, witnessing it, thinking whether Ranbir Kapoor has come this far or he always was ahead of this time? Karma kind of answers that question but also serves as a deadly teaser to his 2022 film Animal.
Karma Review: Star Rating: I didn’t want to put a number for this, but still, if you are here just for the rating, it’s 4/5 stars (Four Stars)!
You Can Watch Karma Right Below, Thank Us Later!: