Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of Ki & Ka

Image Courtesy: Facebook Page of KiAndKaFilm 

Cast: Kareena Kapoor Khan (Kia), Arjun Kapoor (Kabir), Rajit Kapoor (Mr. Bansal), Swaroop Samapth (Kia’s mother), Amitabh Bachchan (Cameo), Jaya Bachchan (Cameo)
Directed by: R Balki
Written by: R Balki
Written by: R Balki, RK Damani, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Sunil Lulla
Music by: Illayaraja
Cinematography: PC Sreeram
Edited by: Chandan Arora
Release date: 1st April, 2016
Language: Hindi
Duration: 2 hours 06 minutes

Ki & Ka is a romantic comedy-drama film by R Balki. With successful films to his kitty in the past viz. Cheeni Kum and Paa (Shamitabh did not see great success though), expectations were bound to be there out of his latest film Ki & Ka. When I had seen the trailer, I had felt that this film is based on the concept of gender role reversal, which is so much relevant to our society. Off late, lot of discussions happen, and articles / books are written that talk about women empowerment, women and their careers. These also focus on gender roles that limit their options and how difficult it is for an ambitious woman to grow in her professional life without making compromises on the personal front. These also talk about how challenging it is for women to balance their personal and professional lives. In our society, men are traditionally seen as the providers while women are seen as the ones who take care of things, be it home / family. Society expects men to be ambitious and to perform as the primary breadwinner. Boys are taught from their childhood to be strong personalities, to take on leadership and protector roles. Boys are always encouraged to be career-oriented, extrovert, go-getters. The trailer gave the impression that the film is going to deal with the concept, what if a man does not want such roles? What if a man chooses to be a homemaker and take care of the household chores, whereas their wives go out and work? Another question mark is how acceptable such males are in the society ? The trailer made me feel that the film revolves around gender role reversal, but when I watched the film, it talks beyond gender role reversal. Rather the film talks about the concept that how a financially independent person or the one who earns in marital partnership becomes the dominant figure. The film highlights, how the breadwinner of the family, be it ‘Ki’ or ‘Ka’ (female or male figure) feels that the family survives or thrives because of her / him, whereas she or he ignores the contribution of the support system of their partners. Marriage is a partnership, which can be successful only when both the parties believe in this partnership and live this togetherness without being insecure or jealous of one another’s achievements, be supportive of one another’s journey, and be tolerant enough to handle mistakes of one another. A marriage will not become successful, if ‘I’ dominate. Ki & Ka talks about ‘We’ predominating than ‘I’ and to be instrumental in the growth of one another and henceforth further evolve in marital relationship. Such a beautiful concept could have been handled with more depth. I felt that the flavour of comedy has made the film shallow. Especially a director of great caliber like R Balki could have added lot more pathos to various scenes in the film.  

Image Courtesy: Kia (Kareena) and Kabir (Arjun) in the film

Ki & Ka begins with a marriage party, where Kia (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a guest, who is reluctant to join the dance. The very effort of picking up every incoming call shows her disinterest towards the party. She ends ups expressing during one of her conversation that marriage for a girl is equivalent to her death since her dreams, freedom, desires everything die with marriage. She just becomes ‘the support’. This scene itself makes it very clear that Kia is fiercely independent ambitious girl. Kabir (Arjun Kapoor) enters in the next scene in a flight sequence, where he is seen to be sobbing about his mother’s absence in his life on her birthday. Kia, the passenger next to him, finds him weird, but strikes an instant chord with him, which leads them into a series of further meetings. Kabir, in spite of being IIM-B topper and son of a business tycoon Mr. Bansal (Rajit Kapur), doesn’t want to be part of any rat-race in profession / business, and just wants to settle down with Kia as a househusband, proposes to Kia. Kia, who is three years elder to him, ultimately accepts his proposal and gets into matrimonial alliance with him. Kia’s mother (Swaroop Sampath) approves of their marriage whole heartedly, whereas Mr. Bansal humiliates Kabir for choosing to be a househusband. According to Kabir, he always wanted to be like his mother who was a housewife, a great artist in Kabir’s language (knew the art of managing home beautifully). Kabir and Kia do court marriage.

What happens after their marriage? How Kabir becomes instrumental in Kia’s successful journey in the corporate world ? How does ego, insecurities, jealousies play part in the screenplay ? Is Kia able to handle the fact that her husband is actually just a househusband? Does Kabir’s male ego come in the way of their relationship? Is Kia able to balance her personal and professional life? How Kabir handles his financial dependency on Kia? Is Kabir able to handle Kia’s professional success? Does Kabir ever think of moving out of her shadow, if yes, how ? How does Kia respond to it ? Watch the film to explore further…

Kareena Kapoor Khan as Kia has done justice to her role. Arjun Kapoor as Kabir could have done better. Probably his body language did not work in his favour. Rajit Kapoor as Mr. Bansal is not very natural, whereas he is a veteran and such a fine actor. Swaroop Sampath has justified her role.  

The surprise element is cameo by real couple Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan. Let me not reveal, how they fit into this cameo.

The script had indeed so much of potential. I felt, the comedy angle made the film lose its depth. The scenes, which could have directly hit the audience’ hearts, fell flat due to humour making them trivial. Probably Balki wanted to keep the film light-hearted. Certain scenes were not well executed viz. Kabir’s expressing to Kia in regard to his desire to be like his mom, his troubled relationship with his father, his mingling with the housewives’ gang etc. Even the court marriage scene had only one witness as Kia’s mother, whereas generally witness from either side is required. The last scene was indeed not a show-stopper scene. Kia does feel at one point of time that Kabir used her, but Balki’s thought behind this scene was not clear. Also, I did feel that through gender role reversals, Balki wanted to show how people caught in unconventional roles are treated by the society at large, but he did incorporate scenes to showcase both Ki and Ka in their conventional / expected roles, viz. Kia emphasizing that she is emotional (like other girls) and Kabir fighting with people passing comments on them i.e. role of a protector. Were these scenes required?

Overall, Ki & Ka is a decent watch. You would be able to enjoy this film if you could overlook certain flaws of the screenplay. And if you strongly feel in the traditional concept of men being providers and women being careers, you may just not like this film. Females may envy Kia’s professional status, since they secretly desired to be in her shoes, and so, they would like the film.

‘Ji Huzuri’ song is very nice. Though I felt that Illayaraja’s music is good, but could have done more wonders.

Ki & Ka starts with gender role reversal, but grows beyond this concept to convey that a marriage partnership evolves only when both Ki & Ka appreciates one another’s contribution. A home becomes happy home with the feeling of ‘We’ predominating than ‘I’. Though the screenplay turned out to be a bit shallow, overall, it is an enjoyable film. Watch the film for its concept.   

Rating : 3 / 5 (Good)