Friday, April 1, 2016

Movie Review: Ki & Ka

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The Story Frame:

Ki and Ka is written, directed and produced by R Balki. The film talks about gender role reversal that happens in a couple's life - Kabir and Kia. It raises certain issues in regard to family stereotypes which chains a woman to do household chores and man to play the role of a bread winner. It is a welcome change in terms of introducing a novel concept in Bollywood to experiment with. Kareena  Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor are the lead pairs in Ki and Ka.

Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan (Kia), Arjun Kapoor (Kabir), Rajit Kapur (Mr. Bansal), Swaroop Sampath ( Ki's Mother), Amitabh Bachchan (cameo), Jaya Bachchan (cameo)

Genre: Rom-Com Drama

Direction: R Balki

Written by: R Balki

Produced by: R Balki, R K Damani, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Sunil Lulla

Production Companies: Eros Entertainment, Hope Productions

Cinematography: P C Sreeram

Edited by: Chandan Arora

Music: Ilaiyaraaja

Songs: Ilaiyaraaja, Mithoon, Meet Bros Anjjan

Theatre Release: 1st April, 2016

Language: Hindi

Duration: 126 Minutes

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Reviewer's Thumb Mark

A great plot which really had the strength to question and challenge the age-old male-centric society went kaput this Friday just because of its shaky execution. Ki & Ka treats a much debated topic of gender role reversal and role equality too superficially, wasting an opportunity of exploring it much deeper historically, politically and socially. Balki rather reduces such a serious issue into a laughable film. It is too preachy from the very beginning and it seems to be a long discussion between Ki & Ka figuring out the Ki & Ka in themselves. Balki has been able to rope in the industry's veteran couple Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan on reel to play their real life by playing host to Ka at their home. Though, there presence in the movie has nothing much to offer, still it's good to see them on screen together.

The film begins with Kia attending one of her friend's wedding reception and talking about her menstrual cycle when asked to dance  and giving a long speech on why women are asked to be the Khamba (pillar) of successful men in their home. Nothing wrong in the message but the way it is weaved into the plot and the way it is executed appears to be planted, shallow and pop-corn gender equality.

I was trying to figure out what actually Balki wants to convey? Is he trying to say that Ka becoming Ki and Ki becoming Ka addresses gender equality? No actually, he gets it further confused when Kabir tells no it's not about Ka becoming Ki or visa versa, but it's all about the choices they make to be what in life. The message becomes more murkier when the Mom (Sampat) tells Kia that actually it has nothing to do with Ki and Ka or visa versa, rather it is all between who the bread winner is and the dependent. Well, whatever it is, let's leave this issue to Balki and his team to decide.

What is Ki & Ka's story? Kabir (Ka) and Kia (Ki) meets on a Delhi-Chandigarh bond Vistara flight seated in the same row with a middle seat vacant between them. Ki is moved and a bit surprised to find a co passenger (Ka) beside her in tears and sobbing intermittently because he miss his mother on her birthday. The son of a successful Realtor (Rajit Kapur) Ka wants to be like his mother. He believes that his mother was an artist who built a home. He doesn't want to be in the rat race of life. On the contrary, Ki is an ambitious daughter of a single mother (Swaroop Sampat). Ki is a marketing manager in a FMCG company eyeing to be at the helm of affairs within a couple of years. She is backed by her mother who herself runs a couple of NGOs.

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Like every episode of a TV serial that leave the audience with a question to know more, Ki & Ka also keep meeting to figure out whether they need each other. What follows is a marriage of convenience - Ki wants to concentrate on her career and Ka wants to be a homemaker - the deal is solemnized in the marriage registrar's office exchanging garlands and Ka willfully wearing the mangalsutra (Balki's revolutionary idea of equality, I guess?). Their married life which is full of love, lot of cuddling, smooches and lot of happenings beneath the bed sheets fail to create the required on screen chemistry between the two - Ms. Kapoor Khan and Mr. Kapoor.

Well, when the corporate workaholic, Ki shuttles between home and product promotions and marketing campaign discussions, Ka manages the home front taking care of the dishes, meals, mom-in-law's health, provisions etc.  Rest everything is same like any other clichéd Bollywood movie - financial crunch, dream of owning a flat, dilemma whether both need to work, housing loan, fear of getting pregnant, conflict on 'you don't understand my dream', insecurity, jealousy etc. The only add on is Ki is Ka and Ka is Ki, ahem, hope you got it.

The movie which has a sluggish start slowly becomes dramatic. A concept film which actually had the power to convey a lot becomes frivolous in its depiction. The overly decked up customized home with an obsession for trains and railways make it far from reality. A bulky Ka all of a sudden becoming a gym trainer and always finding the most busiest, overly crowded road of Delhi always deserted for him to ride his Segway is bizarre. I feel, if Balki could have made a short film or an advertisement for a product on this concept it would have been more powerful, striking and crisp.

The music of Ki and Ka has been composed by Meet Bros Anjjan, Mithooon, and Ilaiyaraaja with lyrics by Kumaar, Amitabh Bhattacharya and Sayeed Quadri. Songs like 'High Heels' and 'Most Wanted Munda' fail to impress. Foolishq and Ji Huzoori are to some extent good. The presence of Ilaiyaraaja did increase expectations but doesn't live up to Ilaiyaraaja's track record of fabulous compositions.

In short, Balki's Ki & Ka has nothing special or out-of-the-box to offer. If at all, the concept of role reversal fascinates you and pulls you to a nearby cinema hall then please do a 'Chaddi Check' in advance to understand Balki's 'Stree-lling and Pul-ling' better.

Life Connoisseur Movie Rating: 1.5/5