23 December, 2014

PK … and my sober review of the film.


I’m confused. Does the director of PK want us to use our heads to make our own decisions or does he not? I mean on the one hand the filmmaker wants us to realize that we should not dictate our like for a person based on their religion and country of origin, but on the other hand the lead actress wears an extremely short dress when the weather is clearly wintery because she is wearing a jacket and our hero too moves around in sweaters.

Let’s face it folks, PK is preachy for the sake of being preachy, just like that kiss in the beginning, I swear that’s not a spoiler, is there for no apparent reason, unless you think that because we are all so modern that we now need to show lovers kissing and half undressed to explain the status of their relationship. By the way, I am not against kissing and find it quite enjoyable on the contrary. Getting back to the film, PK has nothing to tell that we don’t know already. And those of you who have been going Ga-Ga over the message; you might tweet about it, write blogs about it, discuss it, but then you WILL go back to doing what YOU think is right. So let’s not make a big deal out of it. There is no revolution that is going to arise from this so sit back and think about the movie with a clear mind and don’t get carried away in just the message. It is a film, not a three hour long piece on how we should live our lives. Oh! and if by the end of all that is written below, you’re only comment is that “this is a movie after all”, then I guess we shouldn’t be friends anymore. 

The story revolves around an alien called PK, played by Mr. Consistent Aamir Khan, who visits India to study the people of earth, but since on arrival his remote, needed to call back his spaceship, is stolen, he spends the remainder of his time here looking for it, rather than really studying humanity. Well, okay I guess you can say that he understands human nature through the quest of finding the remote, but then it’s only a part of this vast human temperament that he studies. Anushka Sharma’s Jaggu is a reporter that stumbles upon PK and takes upon herself to help him recover the lost remote. What we then get is a lesson on religious tolerance and accepting things as they are and not as they are made out to be. In case you are thinking that the story with the religious context seems familiar, I must congratulate you on your film knowledge for the movie Oh My God already tackled this issue in half the time and with much bravado.

There is no denying that the heart of the film is in the right place and it tries really hard to push the idea behind the story, so much so that it treats the audience as adolescents, spoon feeding every minuscule detail about everything, even the most basic of stuff. As a result of this, inconsistencies arise. On top of that we are bombarded with humor that is simply juvenile and fails to entertain. Okay fine, if you thought that the whole “dancing car” episode is funny and needs to be mentioned quite a few times throughout the film then we obviously are on a totally different wavelength here. What further bothers me is that while the humor is childish, it is not exactly a family film considering some of the scenes that play out, which includes moaning every time the dancing car makes an appearance.

I talked about inconsistencies above and this is what bothered me;
While I understand that PK’s original mission is side-tracked due to his remote getting stolen, but wouldn’t a person with higher learning, someone who can read minds simply by touching another person, find it easy to grasp his surroundings. And wait, wouldn't someone as fit as him be able to outrun the thief who is clearly twice his age in the first place? He struggles a lot, and I mean a LOT which makes me wonder if he is as smart as he is meant to be. I get it, it’s a satire, don’t you all love that word, on the duality of humans, that they say one thing and mean another, but what about hitting the books and maybe learning a little about the planet and how it functions. I find it weird that throughout the film PK is never seen with a book in his hand, his curiosity is high when he wants information on how to get his remote, selfish of him don’t you think, but other than that he doesn’t spend any time trying to learn anything. It’s all about discovery, but never about learning. I would have imagined that someone of his caliber would be able to speed read numerous books in one go and be up-to-date with how things function on our little planet.

Take the entire episode of having to hold someone’s hand to learn the local language. While he goes from one person to another, holding hands and in the process getting beaten up, how do you think the people he is with stop him… by holding his hand of course. Yes, I know he needs 6 hours to learn the language, but come on already, did we need a 15 minute song and dance sequence and act for just this? If you are one of the few, and I say this because apparently the movie is doing good business, who hasn’t seen the movie, my babbling might seem confusing and that should say a lot about the movie.

Fine, let’s leave all that and look at some other inconsistencies that take place, and this is just because the film was so adamant that I use my brains in everyday life, that I decided to use it to make sense of what I was watching on screen, or try to at least. There is supporting story of Anushka Sharma’s character being left at the altar by her boyfriend, which is supposed to provide an end twist in the film, but when the time comes, everything just seems too simple and incidental and I was left wondering what are the odds that all these events took place just the way they did? Or then take Anushka’s dad, a highly religious person, who is disappointed with her daughter when she brings PK on TV and says so to her in an SMS. Yeah, sending an SMS to you daughter that says “I am ashamed of you” is nothing short of parental emotional blackmail. Maybe we need a whole movie on that alone. A reverse Baghban if you may. Or when Anushka decides to make some money out of her experience, unless it was for charity, but we don’t know that, with PK and writes a book. The book cover is that of PK walking back to the spaceship (sorry spoiler of sorts, but you knew this would happen). But then, did she have a camera with her at that time? I mean she seemed quite emotional at that very moment and don’t think she was busy taking photos of PK as he walked back to the spaceship. And then there is the latest trend of all social issue films; public outrage. It’s in here too, getting people to take a stand collectively, as if everyone’s dimag ki batti just lit up simultaneously.   

Moving on, there is nothing much I can say about the acting. Aamir Khan is dependable as always and somewhat makes for an okay alien. Anushka Sharma still in my books is amongst the best actresses working in Indian cinema. She walks through the role with ease. But here is where the problem lies, it’s a role she could have done in her sleep. I’d love to see her take on more challenging and different roles. The supporting cast is the backbone of the film and deserves a big mention. Everyone performs well, and even though there are no standout performances, in terms of acting, everyone is good and to the mark.

As for the actual discussion regarding religion, this is what I have to say; Religion, along with politics, is something that I hold very close to myself. They are both extremely personal to me and I have my own believes, faith, thinking, and while some of it might be termed superstition, depending on how you look at it, it is something that I am comfortable with. So I don’t intend to speak about it in public, as simple as that.
  
What PK does is play with human emotions. It makes the audience feel bad about the decisions they might have taken in their lives. That is a good thing as it is always excellent to retrospect on our actions and if a film makes you do that, good for you. But, in the end there is a thin line between opening an issue for discussion or forcing your opinion on to others, and that line is crossed a few times during the film.

As a film PK makes for a rather average watch. The good moments are far and few, with Sanjay Dutt surprisingly providing a much needed break whenever he is on screen. It’s a film that lingers between a social issue film and an entertainer and Raju Hirani is good with that since 3 Idiots, and the two Munna Bhai films too are products of the same factory (Note: I am not a fan of  3 Idiots, but love the Munna Bhai films). Still, with PK his plotline falters and seems disjointed and that could possibly be due to the sensitivity of the subject.

You can and should watch PK for a number of reasons, but would I go running back to the theater for a second viewing or even buy it on DVD; Right this minute, after giving it a thought, not really, or maybe just record it when it comes on TV and fast forward it to that brilliant guest appearance at the very end.  



Rating 2/5

6 comments:

  1. Oh man, I'm not so sure about this now. My theater just opened it, and I thought about it because I've never seen a film from India, but maybe this one isn't for me. Great review!

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    1. When I think about it, the film might work a bit for someone who is not from India. I don't know how much you are aware of Indian culture, but in case the knowledge is limited, the film just might work as an introductory lesson and from that point of view might just work... might.

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  2. Ahha! This review has a few refreshing pointers, considering how everyone is going gaga over it. I am one of the few people in the country who haven't watched it yet!

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    1. Hopefully I didn't spoil the film for you. Do let me know your thoughts when you do watch it.

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  3. Raghav, thank you for saying what I wanted to :) Yes! PK makes you feel bad about your choices and that just feels weird to me. My personal beliefs are personal, for a reason. Nobody should make juvenile comedic satire to get a point across. Ah well. Looks like Aamir has fallen. And how!

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    1. It's basically having the heart in the right place, but the way they try and get to their point is just long, childish, boring, and not different at all, and yes I am aware that they bring in an alien, but the same could have been achieved by other means. Cheers

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