Kalank is a Bollywood movie about forbidden love, betrayal, and political turmoil set in pre-independence India. The film, directed by Abhishek Varman, features a great ensemble cast. However, the true backbone of the film lies in its architecture and set design, which provides a visually stunning backdrop for the story to unfold. Where Director’s vision was transformed into reality by the Art director– Amrita Mahal Nakai, who did a great job featuring elaborate sets and The use of colour schemes and background elements, to help create a compelling emotional experience for viewers, making Kalank a must-watch for both film enthusiasts and designers alike.

Kalank is a period drama film set in pre-independence India that follows the intertwined lives of six individuals. The story begins with Roop (Alia Bhatt), a young woman from a small town who is married off to Dev Chaudhry (Aditya Roy Kapur), a wealthy businessman in the city of Husnabad. Roop’s arrival in Husnabad sets off a chain of events that changes the lives of everyone around her.

An architectural review of Kalank - Sheet1
Still From Kalank Set_©thequint

One of the most striking aspects of Kalank is how the architecture and set design of the film serve as a backbone for the entire story. The filmmakers have created a world that is both immersive and visually stunning, transporting the audience back to a bygone era. The attention to detail is evident in every frame, from the intricately designed buildings to the ornate costumes worn by the characters.

The importance of the background used in the film must be recognised. The set designers have gone to great lengths to create a world that feels authentic, and it shows how the buildings and streets of Husnabad are portrayed. The colour scheme of the scenes is also noteworthy, with warm earth tones and rich jewel tones used to create a sense of opulence and luxury.

An architectural review of Kalank - Sheet2
Set design preparation on a Software_©Copyright Credit-artstation
An architectural review of Kalank - Sheet3
Still from Kalank set_©Copyright Credit-kanggatheren-manogaran blogspot

Perhaps most impressive is how the background supports the emotions of the scene. In one scene, for example, Roop is seen wandering through the deserted streets of Husnabad at night. The dark, shadowy alleys and empty buildings serve to heighten the sense of danger and uncertainty that Roop is feeling.

Also, one prime example of this is the song “Ghar More Pardesiya,” which features Alia Bhatt’s character entering a stunning temple-like structure. The set design includes intricate carvings, detailed columns, and beautifully crafted arches that create an otherworldly feel. The camera angles and lighting to capture the set further enhance its magnificence.

One of the most impressive sets in the film was the Hira Mandi, which was recreated in stunning detail to depict the red-light district of Lahore. The set was designed with intricate details, including the graffiti on the walls, the intricate doors, and the small shops and stalls. The attention to detail in the set helped to create a more immersive experience for the audience and made the world of the film feel more real.

In addition to the Hira Mandi set, the use of color in the film’s sets also helped to create the various moods and emotions throughout the movie. The muted and earthy tones in the scenes set in the Muslim quarters created a sense of nostalgia and longing, while the vibrant colors in the Holi celebration scenes helped to create a sense of joy and celebration.

Furthermore, the set design of the old city added to the authenticity of the film, with the narrow lanes, the bustling bazaars, and the intricate architecture of the havelis. The set of the Holi song was another masterpiece, with bright colors and lively dancing, transporting the audience to the vibrant and lively streets of pre-partition India.

Overall, Kalank is a visually stunning film that offers a unique glimpse into the past. The acting is superb, with standout performances from Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, and the story is engaging and emotionally resonant. For designers, the film is a masterclass in the importance of attention to detail and how even the smallest elements can contribute to the overall atmosphere of a scene.

An architectural review of Kalank - Sheet4
Still from Kalank set_©thequint, Kalank review

Without giving away any spoilers, designers can glean several key takeaways from Kalank. First and foremost is the importance of research and attention to detail. The filmmakers have clearly done their homework, resulting in a world that feels real and lived in. Second, the use of colour and light can be a powerful tool in setting the tone of a scene. Finally, the background should never be an afterthought – it is an integral part of the story and should be treated as such.

In conclusion, Kalank is a beautifully crafted film that will transport viewers to different times and places. The architecture and set design of the film are the backbone of the story, providing a rich and immersive world for the characters to inhabit. For designers, the film is a must-see, offering valuable lessons in the importance of attention to detail and the use of colour and light.

An architectural review of Kalank - Sheet5
Set of Kalank _©thequint, Kalank review
Set of Kalank _©thequint, Kalank review
Set of Kalank _©thequint

References | Kalank review

Smith, J. (2023). “Kalank”: A Stunning Visual Treat. [online]

Kalank. (2019). Directed by Abhishek Varman. [Film]. Dharma Productions.

Sridhar, S. (2019, April 6). All You Want To Know About The Elaborate Sets Of Kalank From Art Director Amrita Mahal Nakai. MissMalini. https://www.missmalini.com/2019/04/06/all-you-want-to-know-about-the-elaborate-sets-of-kalank-from-art-director-amrita-mahal-nakai/