Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A KAN(K) of worms or just hot air?

On 12th Aug afternoon, I noticed an SMS from one of my friends:
'Watching KANK. Re-inforcing stereotypes'

Damn, I thought, KJ is at it again like he shaped up the character of the righteous arrogant father in K3G, or the tomboy-turned-feminine female who finally managed to hook the guy with her saree tantrums in KKHH....
I was wrong...very wrong...and then realized that stereotypes were better than confused, self-pitying individuals. At least, they either endear or anger the audience....and not confuse or frustrate them and spoil the rest of their day.
Also, the tag line - For those who have loved and lost...is wrong...it should rather be 'For those who have married and might be contemplating divorce' or something like that. Saying this because the group of guys in the row before mine stood up at half time and said,'Just can't understand what's wrong with abhishek and preity that their spouses want to leave them'. Apparently, the director wanted to show that even two wonderful people can have a unsuccessful marriage. However, most of the audience, esp the unmarried ones can never understand and appreciate the concept of compatibility, and the director makes it even more difficult by making the respective spouses even more gorgeous, funky and filled with highly-caffeinated-energy than the straying partners.Most people who have not been in marriage or live-in relationships will need a stretch of imagination to realize that 'gorgeous and happy partners' don't necessarily translate to 'happy relationships'.

So, the intentions were good, and I am happy that the respective spouses of those who 'strayed' outside their marriage were not shown as incarnations of vampish-Bindu or cynical-and-psycho Arbaaz Khan.
I was also happy that the loose characterisation left space for different people with different nature to interpret the characters in their own way. Over the Indian blogosphere, I found people giving different adjectives to the characters (for e.g. some thought the leads were losers, and rani was a fool to not like someone as charming as abhishek, while personally I found abhishek good for being a son, friend, lover or co-worker, but as husband...naah), and for a KJ movie, which usually has strongly defined characters, with no room for interpretation, this was different.
However, what put me off was the characterisation of the 'straying partners'. Two people, who were unhappy with their spouses, come together, and remain unhappy, except, maybe, at the last scene, where I could barely make out a smile on SRK and Rani's face and one tiny scene where SRK brings Rani flowers and they talk over the phone.
What's the use?
The intention now seems to be that as extramarital affairs are a sin, the ones indulging in it can never think about being happy. All right, point taken.
But if so, then why portray them as great lovers and star-crossed soulmates, and try to manipulate audience reaction by showing the last scene at the train station where Rani tries to locate SRK, and the train slowly pulls out of the station?
If love between them was not great enough to overcome the guilt and unhappiness, then how great was it?

Is this film a love story? A moral preaching? A thought-inducing film? Or simply exhausting?
I was left confused, exhausted and frustrated at the end.
As someone who admits openly that she thinks too much, it is very difficult for me to pin-point why I am feeling the way I am....so in those times, I turn to my husband to be led by his unerring clarity of thought. This time was no exception. My husband, on replying to my query about the movie, said, in his limited vocabulary, that the movie was SICK. For a while I wondered if he was alluding to his condition for the last ten days, when he was in and out of fever, cold and allergies, but he repeated the word when he found me staring at him - SICK!
Sick - because Rani was behaving like a glorified sweeper who only wanted to weep, sweep and keep house, and then blame herself some more, and weep and sweep...ok, you got it.
Sick - because Shahrukh was a person who can never be happy and can never make anyone happy with his grouch and big ego.
Sick - because Preity had massive swings of priorities depending on the situation - now career, now family... and also a nice chip on her shoulder as to how it is difficult for 'ordinary' people to meet her, etc.
Sick - because however suave, hunky, madly-in-love Abhishek was, he really was an oversized kid....who seemed to bulldoze over others opinions, except his dad's.
And finally....
Sick - because of Bachchhan's characterization.
My husband is a HUGER than HUGE fan of AB sr., and had taken his screen persona in this film pretty badly. And what put him off more was AB's talk about missing his wife and also, later, advising Rani.
(Pssst....I enjoyed it, he provided the only relief.)
So, that was it....Sick...according to hubby.

According to me? Well I would prefer to say - MESSY....in every way.
And that's including the remaining evening's conversation when we discussed the movie and also including the way my nose ran due to the high AC in the movie theatre.

As an afterthought - Ms. Zinta's red gown was mmm...delicious...wish I had it. Wrong - wish I could fit into it and look as good. Is my hubby listening?

Update:
As per general consensus, mostly girls, Abhishek was a great model husband in the movie. Overheard by my friend in the office shuttle:
'Abhishek was too good yaar - handsome, well-dressed, rich, brought her flowers, loved her madly....come on what more did Rani want?'
(How about Rani being in love with him? Clothes, looks, flowers and love doesn't always beget love, right?)
However, guys have not been that forthcoming about Preity's character. A case of the male ego put off by a highly successful woman? Or is it simply that Ms. Zinta is not attractive enough?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Wed Aug 16, 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger Tanushree said...

You are right, Amitabh was the only relief in the movie. And Preity's clothes. As for what your friend overheard on the shuttle, here's my take. To most Indian women, who get married to someone based on thier parent's idea of "a suitable boy" who has a stable job and a "good family", the concept of love doesn't enter the picture at all. For them, it is enough that they are clothed, fed, not beaten, and notified of their husband's decisions as relevant to them, to pronounce their marriage as successful. To them, leaving a man like the character portrayed by by Abhishek would be unthinkable. I am not saying that the lady who voiced those thoughts in the shuttle is in such a relationship. I just feel that in a lot of Indian marriages, even if the woman is financially independent, the whole "pati parmeshwar" concept still reigns, and men can get away with anything in a marriage, including poor physical hygiene, uncouth habits like lack table manners, grouchy personalities, and so on. Hence LittleB=Prince Charming.

And yes, I agree again, that a lot of the male viewership probably thought Preity deserved what she got.

Wed Aug 16, 03:01:00 AM  
Blogger V N said...

All I would say is I loved ur review. And I hated the movie!!

:)

Wed Sep 06, 04:57:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm with Velu - I loved your thoughts too. I haven't seen KANK yet - it comes to our little art theatre in two weeks, but my mind is already swirling with everyone else's thoughts. Can't wait to see for myself! I'm particularly interested in the Preity character, from what you say - the more Indian movies I watch (all Hindi, I should admit), the more intrigued I am by the portrayal of women and the different stock characters there seem to be. I'm not sure I've seen much of the career-hungry girl yet. And how can Preity not be pretty enough? Boys are weird.

Wed Sep 06, 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Aparna said...

@Velu: Thanks :)
I am sure many would say that I took quite-not-so-strong a view of the movie...but the movie was too vague for me to dissect.

@Beth: Preity was pretty, though she had much too short-and-tight clothes so that she looked fashinable. I suppose it jsut put off the indian men, because she was so outgoing and strong...I loved her character though she was nothing like me!!!

Wed Sep 13, 11:58:00 PM  

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