Kabaddi gave a story of unrequited love of Kaji (Dayahang Rai) for his soltini Maiya last year. As it was a good film with ample humour, the thoroughly entertaining film got all the love from the audience. One year has passed in Naurikot, Mustang and Kaji is back with Kabaddi Kabaddi. His love for Maiya has not changed, but Maiya is no different. She doesn’t reciprocate his feeling. She has a new admirer, Kaji’s rival — Bum Kaji. Both the Kajis compete with each other to win Maiya, but who will Maiya choose? The nearly two-hour-long entertaining journey unveils the winner.
Kabaddi Kabaddi takes you on a fun comical ride filled with laughter, laughter and more laughter. The film tickles your funny bone to the most but without compromising the story and performances which is very rare in Nepali films.
Kabaddi Kabaddi is the continued story of Kabaddi’s Kaji and Maiya. Retelling the same unrequited love story and romance of the two could have been dull but Rambabu Gurung has written the story brilliantly and articulately, and with intrigue and has directed with the same passion. As such the story has evolved along with the characters. The screenplay by director Gurung and Upendra Subba is also noteworthy.
The character of Bum Kaji, politics and sub-plots of Kaji’s two friends with tidbits of music and action have been mixed to the love story. This nice mixology brings life to the film and thumbs up for it!
Also, the nuanced message of how politics works and how a husband and wife should be is a breather.
However, there are a few things that don’t add up. Maiya is the same and hasn’t matured despite going through a lot in the first film. Bibek’s character (Nischal Basnet) again makes an appearance as Bum Kaji’s friend but their relationship hasn’t been explored to rest the curiosity of the audience. Perhaps, there is room for another Kabaddi film.
But Kaji is as lovely as before. You will feel for him and love him despite knowing how useless he is. This role is proof that Rai is the king of comedy — bringing diversity in comic roles, he has the knack for executing his act with ease.
Malla as Bum Kaji is the icing on the cake. The brilliant actor has pulled off his quirky character of a musician who is also a lover boy. He has shown great comic timing.
There is not a single dull moment to yawn in the film. In fact, the first-half is a laugh riot in which you will need extra energy to laugh. The second-half may not be as hilarious but it feeds you more than laughter.
Nonetheless, the film’s USP is humour — right from the first scene where one of Kaji’s friends is writing a love letter for Kaji with blood (of chicken!) to Maiya while another friend roasts the same chicken with the beautiful backdrop of mountains till the end of the film. Humour is not just limited to dialogues and activities but expressions and demeanour. The take on humour is very natural and has the touch of everyday life which makes the scenes more relevant.
Once in a blue moon, you come across a great Nepali film that is complete. Kabaddi Kabaddi is one such movie. Not to be missed!
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Rambabu Gurung
Cast: Dayahang Rai, Saugaat Malla, Rishma Gurung, Bijay Baral and Buddhi Tamang
Being screened at QFX Cinemas
A version of this article appears in print on November 28, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.