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Kalank Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAbhishek Varman
Produced by
Written byStory:
Shibani Bathija
Hussain Dalal
Screenplay byAbhishek Varman
StarringMadhuri Dixit
Sonakshi Sinha
Alia Bhatt
Aditya Roy Kapur
Varun Dhawan
Sanjay Dutt
Kunal Khemu
Music bySongs:
Sanchit Balhara
Ankit Balhara
CinematographyBinod Pradhan
Edited byNamrata Rao
Distributed byFox Star Studios[2]
Release date
  • 17 April 2019 (2019-04-17)[3]
Running time
166 minutes[4]
Budget₹150 crore (Note: includes print and advertising costs)
Box officeest. 146.31 crore[5]

Kalank (transl. Stigma or Blemish; Hindi pronunciation: [kələnk]) is a 2019 Indian Hindi-language period drama film directed by Abhishek Varman and produced by Karan Johar, Hiroo Yash Johar and Apoorva Mehta under Dharma Productions and Sajid Nadiadwala under Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment in association with Fox Star Studios as presenter and distributor. Set in the pre-independence British era, the film stars Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur and Sanjay Dutt.[6][7][8] Principal photography of the film began in April 2018 and the film was released on 17 April 2019[3] on 5,300 screens worldwide making it the widest Bollywood release of 2019 as yet.[9] The worldwide gross collection of the film is ₹146.31 crore.[5]


Satya Chaudhry is told by her doctor that she has cancer and will die soon. She goes back to her native village in the Rajputana area and requests her childhood acquaintance, Roop, to provide companionship to her husband, Dev Chaudhry who runs a liberal newspaper. Roop agrees on the condition that she will marry Dev to which Satya agrees. Once married, Dev tells Roop that he still loves Satya and that their relationship will only be cordial and platonic. A depressed Roop takes solace in music, which she begins by learning from the madam of a brothel, Bahaar Begum. She also begins working in her husband's publishing house, to use her education to her advantage. Roop expresses interest in writing about the condition of the locality in which the brothel is located, during which she meets with a womanizing blacksmith named Zafar.

Zafar wants to exact revenge on his parents, Bahaar Begum and Balraj Chaudhry (who abandoned Zafar after ending his extramarital affair with Bahaar) by seducing Roop, as she is married to Balraj's legitimate son, Dev. Roop misconstrues Zafar's intentions and falls in love with him. She also begins to develop a friendship with Dev, much to Satya's pleasure and sadness. Satya dies after urging Dev to give Roop a chance and to forgive Balraj for his affair. In another effort to humiliate Balraj, Zafar instigates communal hatred in his friend, Abdul Khan, by demanding for the partition of India on religious lines, which Balraj and Dev do not support.

When Balraj becomes aware of Roop and Zafar's affair, he confronts Bahaar and Zafar. Bahaar, who disagrees with Zafar's approach, warns Roop. Heartbroken, Roop consummates her marriage with Dev but insists that she would never be able to love him. As Abdul's political stance gains leverage, riots against Hindus and Sikhs in the city take place, during which the Chaudhrys decide to flee to Amritsar with the help of Zafar, but not before Saroj, the benevolent maid is brutally stabbed to death. Zafar confesses to Roop that he eventually fell in love with her, despite his early intention. While boarding a train, Zafar is stabbed in his stomach several times with a dagger by Abdul, as Roop and Dev escape.

Ten years later, Roop and Dev are interviewed about their experience by Aditya, a journalist documenting the partition. The story ends with Roop remembering Zafar and Roop's inner voice saying that the colour of love and hate is red, but it's love which often gets stigmatized or blemished.



Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt promoting the film


The film was conceived of by Johar and his father Yash Johar about fifteen years prior to its release.[21] Actress Sridevi was initially signed for the character role played by Madhuri Dixit.[22][23] Production designer Amrita Mahal was brought on board to work on the set's design and structure that represented old Delhi mohalla with a mahal in Film City, Mumbai.[24] Sajid Nadiadwala, owner and producer of Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Karan Johar were present during the clap shot of Kalank.[25] The cost estimate of the set was reportedly ₹15 crore.[24] Sajid Nadiadwala and Sanjay Dutt come together after 24 years with Kalank.[26]


Principal photography commenced in Film City, Mumbai on 18 April 2018.[27] Madhuri Dixit and Aditya Roy Kapur joined the cast from 31 May 2018.[28][29] Filming of an introductory song featuring Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Kiara Advani[30] with nearly 500 backup dancers was completed on 7 May 2018.[31] Rehearsals for a second dance number featuring Dhawan, Kapur and Kriti Sanon began on 31 May 2018.[30] On 2 June 2018, a few leaked stills from the film showed Dixit donning an anarkali outfit and pasa/jhumar (hair jewellery).[32] Sonakshi Sinha joined the cast from 14 June 2018 for a fifteen-day filming schedule.[33][34] She is paired opposite Kapur in the film.[35] The third schedule of filming was postponed due to injuries to Bhatt, Dhawan and Kapur and was rescheduled to commence two weeks later.[36] Sonakshi Sinha has finished filming her part in Kalank.[37] Alia Bhatt announced the film wrapped on 19 January 2019.[38]

The film's budget has been inconsistently reported. The producers announced a budget of ₹150 crore,[39][40] which includes print and advertising costs[41] not typically included in budget figures. Other sources published budget estimates in the 80 crore range.[42][43]


The music of the film is composed by Pritam while lyrics are written by Amitabh Bhattacharya. The first single track "Ghar More Pardesiya" was released on 18 March 2019, followed by the second single "First Class" on 22 March 2019 and the third single "Kalank – Title Track" on 30 March 2019. The fourth and fifth songs, "Tabaah Ho Gaye" and "Aira Gaira" was released 9 April 2019 and 13 April 2019. The entire soundtrack album was released by Zee Music Company on 14 April 2019.[44]


The film was scheduled for release on 19 April 2019, but to get benefits of extended weekend the release date was changed to 17 April 2019.[3] A special screening of the film was organised for selected audience on 14 April 2019 prior to its release.[45] Kalank was certified by British Board of Film Classification and Australian Classification Board with runtime of 166 minutes and was released worldwide on 17 April.[46] The film was released on 5,300 screens worldwide making it the widest Bollywood release of 2019.[9]

Home video[edit]

The film was made available as VOD on Prime Video in July 2019.[47]


Critical response[edit]

Rachit Gupta of The Times of India finds, "Kalank a true labour of love that tells you a story laced with beautiful moments that will tug you at your heartstrings." Praising the acting of ensemble cast he rates it with three stars out of five.[48] Taran Adarsh rates the film with two stars out of five and though he praised the star cast for their acting, he finds the film 'disappointing'.[49] Writing for NDTV Saibal Chatterjee praises Madhuri Dixit and Alia Bhatt for their screen presence and concludes her long review as, "Kalank has unmistakable contemporary resonance because it celebrates the transformative power of love and reconciliation in a time of rampant discord. It is worth a viewing not only for what it says, but also for how it says it."[50] Writing for The Indian Express Shubhra Gupta gives it one and half star out of five and says, "Kalank doesn’t really lift off the screen. The whole feels like a giant set, stately and ponderous and minus impact; the characters all costumed and perfumed and largely life-less, sparking only in bits and pieces."[51] Raja Sen writing for Hindustan Times rated the film with two and half stars out of five and praised Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Madhuri Dixit for shining in stunning but soulless film. He feels that 'it is a stunningly plated meal, but needed salt.' He says, "Directed by Abhishek Varman and shot by the masterful Binod Pradhan, the makers of Kalank not only want every frame to be a painting, but every dialogue a proverb, every scene a portent. The result is beautiful but tedious, an opera that needed a stout songstress to warble through it midway."[52] Nandini Ramnath writing for the Scroll.in points out that the movie glamorised the partition by replicating kitsch aesthetic, and added, "The sets that are meant to enhance the big-screen experience end up creating a distance from the messiness of the emotional conflicts".[53] Anupama Chopra of Film Companion rating it with three stars out of five opines that Kalank is likely to be the most visually stunning film of this year. She says, "The film is an operatic fantasy filled with staggering sets, swirling fabric and heartache, but to enjoy it, you must wholly suspend disbelief.[54]

Box office[edit]

Kalank's opening day domestic collection is 21.60 crore. From overseas markets it grossed ₹50.66 crore and from domestic circuit ₹95.65 crore. The overall worldwide gross was ₹146.31 crore.[5] It had a good start at the box office, collecting ₹21.60 crore on opening day. It also became the biggest opener in the careers of both Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. But the film could not maintain the momentum, and soon saw a decline in revenue, finally was declared as box office failure.[55][56][57]


Kalank was nominated in six categories at the 65th Filmfare Awards held on 15 February 2020 in Guwahati, Assam. Out of 7 nominations, it won two awards, for Best Playback Singer (Male) and Best Choreography.[58][59]

Event Date of Ceremony Category Recipient Result
Filmfare Awards 15 February 2020 Best Supporting Actress Madhuri Dixit Nominated
Best Playback Singer (Male) Arijit Singh for Kalank Nahi Won
Best Playback Singer (Female) Shreya Ghoshal and Vaishali Mhade for Ghar More Pardesiya Nominated
Best Choreography Remo D'Souza for Ghar More Pardesiya Won
Remo D'Souza and Saroj Khan for Tabah Ho Gaye Nominated
Best Lyrics Amitabh Bhattacharya for Kalank Nahi Nominated
Best Music Album Pritam Nominated


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  3. ^ a b c Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (9 March 2019). "IT'S FINAL... #Kalank to release on 17 April 2019 [was slated for release on 19 April 2019 initially]... Will be a 5-day *extended* opening weekend... Teaser will be out on 12 March 2019" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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  9. ^ a b Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (17 April 2019). "#Kalank screen count... India: 4000 Overseas: 1300 Worldwide total: 5300 screens* #Kalank is the widest release for Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt. *Also, #Kalank is the widest release of 2019 *so far*. *#MahaveerJayanti [Wed] and #GoodFriday [Fri] holidays will boost biz" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ "She would walk alone in darkness than follow anyone else's shadow. Bahaar Begum✨@MadhuriDixit #WomenOfKalank #Kalank". Twitter.com. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  11. ^ "She symbolises the elegance & grace of a woman. Presenting Satya.@sonakshisinha #WomenOfKalank #Kalank". Twitter.com. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Resilient at heart but everyone has a chapter they don't read aloud. Here's Roop!@aliaa08 #WomenOfKalank #Kalank". Twitter.com. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Fate loves the fearless and he's the most favoured. Presenting Zafar!#MenOfKalank#Kalank @Varun_dvn". Twitter.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  14. ^ "A sprinting mind with a noble heart. Presenting Dev Chaudhry. #MenOfKalank #Kalank #AdityaRoyKapur". Twitter.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
  15. ^ "The head of the table with a formidable iron fist. Presenting Balraj Chaudhry. #MenOfKalank #Kalank @duttsanjay". Twitter.com. Retrieved 7 March 2019.
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  23. ^ "Madhuri Dixit replaces Sridevi in KJo's upcoming film 'Kalank' – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
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  30. ^ a b Coutinho, Natasha (31 May 2018). "Kalank: Kriti Sanon to grove with Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur in a special song". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
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  32. ^ Hungama, Bollywood (30 May 2018). "LEAKED! Madhuri Dixit's look as a courtesan from the sets of KALANK – Bollywood Hungama". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  33. ^ "Sonakshi Sinha joins 'Kalank' cast after wrapping 'Happy Phirr Bhaag Jayegi' shoot". Deccan Chronicle. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Sonakshi Sinha joins Aditya Roy Kapur in Abhishek Varman's Kalank – Mumbai Mirror -". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
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  41. ^ adarsh, taran (19 April 2019). "Is it ₹ 110 cr? Or ₹ 140 cr? Or is it ₹ 160 cr?... There's tremendous speculation about the cost of #Kalank... Various numbers are floating on social media... Let's clear the doubt... The makers had officially shared the costing on the day of release: ₹ 150 cr [CoP + P&A]".
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External links[edit]