Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna

Do you love your spouse ? Are you happy with life ? Do you think marriage is a compromise ? What if you find love outside your marriage ? Would you forgive your spouse if they were unfaithful ?

Don't believe the hype....KANK is a good movie, ok in parts, great in some others...nothing more ! It touches upon & raises all the above questions...valid ones, as anyone who has been married more than 3 years, will certify. But disappointingly for me it does not seek to answer them with any logic or probe the thinking of the characters and show why / how they respond to the above situations. And it tries too hard to be a Bollywood blockbuster by ensuring all the key formulaic ingredients are there - whether needed by the main plot or not !

Rishi (Abhishek), cool son of even cooler, swinging widower Sam (a delightful Amitabh) marries Maya after a long courtship. Maya is not sure whether she loves Rishi, has a nervous moment before the marriage and shares her feelings with a stranger Dev (Shahrukh). Dev is a star footballer, `happily' married to Rhea (Preity) with a son, Arjun. Within moments, however, this changes as Dev meets with an accident and is not able to ever play again. This makes him a crabby, irritable, miserable person who yells at everyone - strangers, wife and even son. Rhea is a happy, cheerful person who spends a lot of time at the office due to her job but to say she is a career-obsessed power woman would be pushing it. In the meantime, Rishi, who is a happy go lucky, fun loving person loves his wife deeply but Maya is unhappy...she is 'frigid', not able to respond to her husbands playful love and is upset by the fact that she cannot ever be a mother. She also feels Rishi is a child...not able to sit down and discuss things. The two couples' paths cross several times due to various reasons, the two unhappy people start meeting more regularly - they start by just sharing their unhappiness and then move on to trying to do things to save their respective marriages. And I dont want to spoil the rest by giving too much away - except to say that I feel the end may not go down well with a few people.

The movie is very unevenly paced - it has exhilarating moments (usually featuring Amitabh or Abhishek) but equally some others where you are squirming, looking around the hall to wonder what the others make of it. Most crucially for me, it fails to give a true 'inner' perspective of why Dev and Maya do what they do...what are they thinking ? What do they really think about their respective spouses ? What are they really unhappy about ? We see the two of them meeting about 50 times but we are very rarely privy to what they talk about apart from some superficial stuff. Its almost to the point that, as we don't understand their point of view, Dev and Maya become 'villains'...we feel no sympathy for them. Also, the movie focuses on Dev and Maya...who are not very happy people and too little on Rishi and Rhea - who are the happier ones. I would love to have known how / what Rishi thought of Maya's frigidity, about her obvious unhappiness ? And what kept Rhea going when faced with non-stop unhappiness from Dev everyday ?

For me the movie confirmed Abhishek's growth as an actor - he is amazingly spontaneous and able to switch easily from fun to serious while being equally credible at both. Preity and Rani are both good - they do justice to their roles, in Preity's case as much as the script allowed her and in Rani's case i think as much as she is capable of. Shahrukh - i dont know if its just me but i am definitely in the mode where his mannerisms are too predictable / too unidimensional...the furrowed brow, the 'intense' look, the giggling laugh....surely he is capable of something more ? For an actor who started with really different roles in Baazigar and Darr, i feel he now plays roles which are too similar, dont really stretch him as an actor.

Amitabh is God !!! Dont let anyone tell you anything different. Be prepared to see a very different side of him - a cool, womanising, 'with it' dude...and yet when he is required to be serious he manages it so simply, so naturally, with just a look, a gesture...i've been watching him with wide-open eyes since his Mr Natwarlal days but i haven't tired...i want more...lots more !

Nice try Mr Johar...but i expected something better from you !