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Kalank Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAbhishek Varman
Produced by
Written byHussain Dalal
Screenplay byAbhishek Varman
Story byShibani Bathija[1]
StarringMadhuri Dixit
Sonakshi Sinha
Alia Bhatt
Varun Dhawan
Aditya Roy Kapur
Sanjay Dutt
Music bySongs:
Sanchit Balhara
Ankit Balhara
CinematographyBinod Pradhan
Edited byNamrata Rao
Distributed byFox Star Studios[3]
Release date
  • 17 April 2019 (2019-04-17)[4]
Running time
166 minutes[5]
BudgetSee Filming
Box officeest. 146.31 crore[8]

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, Sajid Nadiadwala and Fox Star Studios. It stars Madhuri Dixit, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanjay Dutt.[9][10] It is a period drama set in 1945 in the pre-independence British era.[11] Principal photography of the film began in April 2018 and was released on 17 April 2019[4] on 5300 screens worldwide making it the widest Bollywood release of 2019 as yet.[12] The worldwide gross collection of the film is ₹146.31 crore.[8]


Lahore, 1946: 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 womanising 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 Chaudhry's 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. The story ends with a sad note. 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, still in a loveless marriage, are interviewed about their experience by Aditya, a journalist documenting the partition.



Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt promoting the film


The film was conceptualised by Johar and his father Yash Johar around fifteen years ago.[24] Actress Sridevi was initially signed for the character role played by Madhuri Dixit.[25][26] 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.[27] Sajid Nadiadwala, owner and producer of Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and Karan Johar were present during the clap shot of Kalank.[28] The cost estimate of the set was reportedly ₹15 crore.[27] Sajid Nadiadwala and Sanjay Dutt come together after 24 years with Kalank.[29]


Principal photography commenced in Film City, Mumbai on 18 April 2018.[30] Madhuri Dixit and Aditya Roy Kapur joined the cast from 31 May 2018.[31][32] Filming of an introductory song featuring Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Kiara Advani[33] with nearly 500 backup dancers was completed on 7 May 2018.[34] Rehearsals for a second dance number featuring Dhawan, Kapur and Kriti Sanon began on 31 May 2018.[33] On 2 June 2018, a few leaked stills from the film showed Dixit donning an anarkali outfit and pasa/jhumar (hair jewellery).[35] Sonakshi Sinha joined the cast from 14 June 2018 for a fifteen-day filming schedule.[36][37] She is paired opposite Kapur in the film.[38] The third schedule of filming was postponed due to injuries to Bhatt, Dhawan and Kapur and was rescheduled to commence two weeks later.[39] Sonakshi Sinha has finished filming her part in Kalank.[40] Alia Bhatt announced the film wrapped on 19 January 2019.[41]

The film's budget has been inconsistently reported. The producers announced a budget of ₹150 crore,[42][43] which includes print and advertising costs[44] not typically included in budget figures. Other sources published budget estimates in the 80 crore range.[45][46]


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.[47]

Marketing and release[edit]

In a series of first look posters characters of the film were revealed on 7 March 2019. It presented the male lead actors of Kalank Varun Dhawan as Zafar,[48] Aditya Roy Kapur as Dev Chaudhry[49] and Sanjay Dutt as Balraj Chaudhry.[50] On 8 March 2019 to coincide with the International Women's Day characters in the film of Alia Bhatt as Roop,[51] Sonakshi Sinha as Satya Chaudhry[52] and Madhuri Dixit as Bahaar Begum[53] were revealed. The official teaser of film was released on 12 March 2019 by Fox Star Hindi. It recorded forty million views since its release.[54][55][56] The official trailer of the film was launched on 3 April 2019 by Dharma Productions. It fetched more than 24 million views since its release on YouTube.[57][58]

The first song of the film "Ghar More Pardesiya" was released on 18 March 2019 and the second one "First Class" was released on 22 March 2019. The title track released on 30 March 2019. The fourth song "Tabah Ho Gaye" featuring Madhuri Dixit was released on 9 April 2019.[59] The song has usual characteristics of Dixit. It is sung by Shreya Ghoshal and liked by the audience.[60] The fifth song of the film "Aira Gaira" was released on 13 April 2019.[61]

The film was scheduled for release on 19 April 2019, but to get benefits of extended weekend the release date has been changed to 17 April 2019.[4] A special screening of the film was organised for selected audience on 14 April 2019 prior to its release.[62] 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.[63] The film was released on 5300 screens worldwide making it the widest Bollywood release of 2019 as yet.[12]

Home video[edit]

The film was made available as VOD on Prime Video in July 2019.[64]


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.[65] Taran Adarsh rates the film with two stars out of five and though praised the star cast for their acting he finds the film 'disappointing'.[66] Writing for NDTV Saibal Chatterjee praises Madhuri Dixit and Alia Bhatt for their screen presence and concludes 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."[67] 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."[68] 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."[69] Nandini Ramnath writing in 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".[70] 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.[71]

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.[8]


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  3. ^ Hooli, Shekhar H. (21 April 2019). "Kalank box office collection: These are the 2 reasons for this multi-starrer multi-crore disaster". International Business Times, India Edition. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
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  44. ^ 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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  63. ^ Taran Adarsh [@taran_adarsh] (16 April 2019). "#CensorNews: #Kalank certified 12A by British censors on 12 April 2019. Approved run time: 165 min, 34 sec [2 hours, 45 minutes, 34 seconds]. #UK #Kalank certified M by Australian censors on 15 April 2019. Approved run time: 166 min [2 hours, 46 minutes]. #Australia" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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External links[edit]