Is Pankaj Tripathi’s Kadak Singh Inspired by Real Life?

Helmed by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Zee5’s thriller drama ‘Kadak Singh’ is a story about perseverance and patience in the face of hardship. The Hindi-language film follows Arun Kumar Shrivastav AKA Kadak Singh an officer working in the Department of Financial Crimes (DFC). An honest and righteous man, he attempts to unravel a chit-fund scam while battling retrograde amnesia and trying to unveil the inconsistent stories from his past. The narrative further unfurls around a dysfunctional family trying to grapple with the father’s determined attempts at solving a crime and the crumbling secrets he’s worked hard to confine within himself.

‘Kadak Singh’ deals with an array of human relationships being played against one another and all sorts of raw emotions that come to the fore even as mysteries begin to tumble. The film’s stellar casting, with Pankaj Tripathi in the titular role and some prominent supporting roles in Sanjana Sanghi, Jaya Ahsan, and Parvathy Thiruvothu, coupled with the brilliant writing and intriguing story, leaves viewers engulfed in it right till the end. Given the realistic and poignant themes and nature of the plot, one can’t help but wonder whether the story of AK Shrivastav aka ‘Kadak Singh’ is real.

Is Kadak Singh a True Story?

No, ‘Kadak Singh’ isn’t based on a true story. It is a work of fiction driven by a screenplay penned by Ritesh Shah, with a story by producer Viraf Sarkari, director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, and Shah. In an interview with ETimes at the 54th International Film Festival of India, the film’s producer Viraf Sarkari mentioned that he was the one who initially conceptualized it in 2011 before going on to collaborate with Shah and Chowdhury. It also had initial inputs from acclaimed writer Pooja Ladha Surti. Sarkari revealed that a bit from his personal life formed the basis of the script. He said that he initial thought of the film came to him when his daughter was leaving to pursue a career in filmmaking.

The fear of not having his daughter around for 3-4 years, wherein she will be miles away from him, was what gave the idea for the story. He further reiterated that though the film was way darker during the initial stages, it was toned down to make it more realistic and suitable for the audience. The makers actually went through several titles before settling upon ‘Kadak Singh,’ and the story behind the same is quite an interesting one. Talking about it, Sarkari said, “The original title was Father. Then somebody suggested different names like Oh Father, Dear Father etc.”

He added, “As we were writing it we saw that the kids were calling their father Kadak Singh because he is a very strict father. At his workplace too he was a very ‘Kadak’ strict, non-corrupt man. I picked up on this Kadak Singh and decided that it was the title for the film.” The story deals with the delicate themes of memory loss, mental health, and the handling of human emotions and how each relationship ends up having an impact on several others. AK’s daughter Sakshi is left to look after their family, which includes her depressed brother in rehab because of his inability to be the father his kids need him to be.

After the accident, AK finds himself getting visits from a flurry of visitors, none of whom he clearly remembers. To bring some semblance to his jumbled memories, he tries to piece together the bits shared by these visitors, hoping to make sense of how he landed in the hospital. It is informed that AK tries to commit suicide, but a chance of fate sees him make it out alive, although, like everything else, he can’t remember why he had chosen to take such a step. When he sees his daughter, he struggles to recognize her, leading Sakshi to have an outburst followed by a confrontation which poses as the story’s fulcrum around which the rest of the narrative revolves.

AK’s fearless investigation into his past also brings several aspects of his present face-to-face with each other. A moving scene in the film happens when his daughter meets his secret lover in the hospital. Even though the two women are dealing with predicaments of their own that are linked to a common thread, they decide to turn into each other’s allies in this time of need. The realistic acting performances, courtesy of some fine names, have been top-notch in the film. Sakshi as the tired and frustrated daughter struggling to get her father to remember her and recollect how he ended up in the hospital while attempting to get a grip on the mental baggage of her own, will have you feeling emphatetic to her plight.

Meanwhile, with her sympathetic yet helpless gaze, Naina, AK’s quiet lover, makes one feel for her being the hidden woman in the life of his lover who fails to recognize her. Although not based on a true story, the narrative of ‘Kadak Singh’ possesses several bits of realistic elements, including the incorporation of themes that are quite common in real life, such as dysfunctional relationships, mental health and memory loss. Coupled with that, the brilliant writing and stellar performances manage to leave the audiences captivated and compelled to ask about how realistic the fiction is.

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