‘Karwaan’ is a road movie with a spirited driver

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Updated 11 August 2018
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‘Karwaan’ is a road movie with a spirited driver

CHENNAI: It is simply amazing that a first-time film director, Akarsh Khurana, although he has a long record in charge of theatrical plays, could have handled the morbid subject of death and loss in such a breezy, subtly witty way in “Karwaan.” It’s a moving story by Bijoy Nambiar and an utterly believable screenplay by Khurana. The film’s trump card is Irrfan Khan, who proves to be the very soul and spirit of this road movie.

Portraying Shaukat in his usual quiet, lighthearted but mesmeric manner (with some of the best lines), Khan steers his ramshackle van through the winding roads of southern India, criss-crossing the Blue Mountains, calm rivers and picturesque Kerala landscape. But this hides an ominous tale: of a horrific accident on the Himalayas, and two dead bodies, each handed over to the wrong relative. Avinash (Dulquer Salman), who hates his father so much that he cannot even grieve his death, gets the body of Tanya’s (Mithila Palkar) grandmother. And the father’s corpse goes to Tanya’s family in Kerala.

When Avinash finds out about the blunder committed by a transport company, he seeks his friend Shaukat’s help to take the grandmother’s coffin to the right address. On the way, the two men fetch Tanya from her college hostel, and then a hilarious journey begins. Shaukat’s lack of English leads to rib-tickling fun, and his electrifying presence and sharp sarcasm are a marvel to watch.

Salman is wonderful as well as a son estranged from his bossy father who does not let him pursue his passion for photography, but he seems a little uncomfortable in Hindi and often breaks into English. However, he manages to convey cowardice and loss with amazing ease. Tanya is a modern girl for whom sex and pregnancy are no big deal, but her character could have had more substance.

One of the finest films I have seen in a long time, “Karwaan,” while having a novel plot, sparkles all the more because of Khan, whose magnetism rubs off on his co-stars, and we see a delightfully natural and understated performance from Salman, too.


Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

Updated 14 November 2018
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Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

  • This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off
  • The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week

DUBAI: Named after the Arabic word for “doors,” Abwab is an annual exhibition at Dubai Design Week, a creative fair that runs until Nov. 17.

This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off their artistic innovations in Dubai Design District, where the event is based.

Two designers were invited from each place to collaborate and produce works related to the theme “Between the Lines.”

The creations are housed in five pavilions at the heart of Dubai Design District, made up of red twigs and newspaper pulp and designed by the firm Architecture + Other Things.

Visitors crowded around the pavilions at the opening of the fair on Tuesday and explored the five spaces with their unique, sometimes perplexing, offerings.

Amman‘s pavilion at the Abwab exhibit is called “Duwar,” roundabout in Arabic, and is described as a representation of the cycle between chaos and order. The exhibit is a walk-through piece featuring moving images on boards suspended from the low ceiling of the circular space. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the dark circular corridor and take in the constantly flashing imagery above them in the piece that was created by multidisciplinary designer Hashem Joucka and architect Basel Naouri.

Beirut’s contribution to the Abwab exhibit is called “Beirut Fillers” and features a series of suspended words in a constructed sensorial environment, complete with audio recordings of the words “euhhh,” “halla2,” “enno” and “fa,” all of which are linguistic fillers commonly heard in Beiruti conversation.  

For its part, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is showcasing a fascinating piece of work called “The Sound of the East Coast” that pays homage to the tradition of pearl diving in the area with shaking, jelly-like bowls. The installation even features audio recordings of the traditional song “El Yamal,” often chanted to keep the divers motivated.

While Kuwait City’s offering, called “Desert Cast,” uses locally sourced materials and production methods to explore the idea of identity in the country, Dubai’s piece at the exhibit is called “Thulathi: Threefold” and is marked by a protruding triangular section that breaks the natural form of the rounded pavilion. Each corner of the triangle opens slightly through apertures, revealing video projections and silhouette cutouts.

The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week, an event that boasts workshops, exhibits and a trade fair.