After an excruciatingly painful first half of 60 minutes, which could have been shorter or craftier, the film really kicks in. KCK is the story of Karthik (duh), a timid man, bullied around by everyone who gets much needed help by therapeutic phone calls from himself. As bizarre it may seem to be getting calls from himself, which have no existence on his phone records, he decides to go with the flow and trust the caller. His life turns around in a few weeks. But all good things come at a price, and when he accidentally lets slip the secret of his success, everything starts unraveling. It’s up to his girlfriend and his psychiatrist to figure out who is this mystery caller and is Karthik all right in his head. The execution of the second half of the movie is pretty good. If only the same effort and class was applied to the first half which is full of clichés, lame songs and over the top acting by both Farhan Akthar and Deepika Padukone. I have always like Akhtar, but he has some major dialogue delivery issues in this movie. For a role that was this emotionally intense, a good voice actor would have done a better job.
I am beginning to notice this new trend in Indian movies that I find really disturbing. Characters switch to lengthy dialogues in English, where the movie does not provide subtitles for it. I understand that “English” has become part of the spoken urbane language in Indian and the producers may be targeting the multiplex audience but it’s almost disrespectful to everyone else. If it’s a Hindi language movie and extensive phrases are being used of a different language, then subtitles must be used.
The other thing that I found really strange was Padukone’s character development. The idea, was I believe, to show her as an outgoing, modern and independent minded girl. She smokes and knows her scotch. I am not getting into a discussion if that is the true interpretation of a modern woman, which I think warrants a separate discussion, it is the way it was portrayed in the movie that was so juvenile. Padukone’s character, Shonali, walks into her office (which like most modern office spaces has transparent glass walls) in the morning, sits backs in the chair and takes out her cigarette and smiles and smokes. I have never seen anything sillier. I don’t smoke but am sure any smoker will tell you that if you do that in today’s workplaces, that’s bound to set off the smoke alarm, and if you wanted to smoke the first thing in the morning, you would have done it outside. The second incident is that Karthik and Shonali and are a pub, and Shonali asks for a drink, and they have an extended discussion on why her drink is not a juice or a soda but alcohol. It’s like hitting the viewers over the head with a hammer and saying – “Look she is so modern – she smokes, she drinks”. Why do Indian directors insist on repeating these clichés and shoving them down our throats in such unsubtle ways? Why?
The movie was not short on stupidity on a whole but somewhere in the last 40 minutes it became a psychological thriller which made the experience of watching it marginally worthwhile.