Friday, January 16, 2015

PK (2014)

"Peekay ho kya?" is a question I feel like asking Mr. Rajkumar Hirani. Even a four year old can see that it's a grammatically incorrect sentence. However in Mr. Hirani's world, everyone makes the same erroneous choice of words while asking the confused, moronic looking alien (Aamir Khan) if he is drunk. Now the correct way to frame that question would be "Peekay aaye ho kya?" or "Peeye ho kya?" But no...everyone says it like a C-grade grammar pupil just for the sake of creating an age old pun and somehow giving the eponymous character his name in a poorly contrived, lame joke!

Anyway, so this PK arrives on the planet, to do some research! And yet, he isn't with a team. He is alone, stark naked (a nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger's entry in "The Terminator" (1984))?, with just one trinket around his neck as the only means of contacting his planet or his ship. This is a life-form emotionally, physically and physiologically similar to human beings, yet far more technologically advanced and intelligent.

Hell, they even have special powers by which they can read minds, and download an entire language database from a human being by simply holding their hands. They can even transfer their writing skills, language no bar. Such marvelous beings, and yet, they are dumb enough to send a single organism from their planet, wearing a removable remote control! Because if they allowed any backup contact mechanism on his person, then the rest of the plot would fall flat on its face. Fine...this contrivance excused, but with great hesitation!

Moving on, this sweet, emotional, sentimental alien finds himself lost and depressed when his exotic looking trinket gets stolen by a local countryman somewhere in Rajasthan. His only means to contact his planet or his species is gone! What amazing security measures for their research scientists. There is absolutely nothing else that he can use to communicate. Hell even the beastly "Predator" (1987) had some push-button gizmo built within his arm!

The alien struggles to survive on planet earth, by stealing clothes from dancing cars, which are shockingly in abundance in small Indian towns in Hirani's world. The dancing car is basically a visual result of couples having sex in cars. I mean, whatever happened to motel rooms and dingy bed and breakfast lodges? There's a limit to which you can repeat the same gag. It loses not only its humour quotient, but also any logic if at all...for not all of them make out in cars, and not all of them have to start dancing!

Later, fate lands him in the company of Bhairon (a bloated Sanjay Dutt) who takes him to a brothel, from where the alien finally picks up an Indian language (Bhojpuri in this case) and is able to convey that he is looking for his "Remote-wa"! (No wonder the film was made tax free in Uttar Pradesh!). And guess what Bhairon does? He merely infers that it is likely the trinket has been sold off in Delhi! That becomes the alien's first clue and he travels to Delhi. No surprises for guessing that that is where he eventually finds the trinket! What a small world, eh?

Nevertheless, it is in Delhi that his quest for the trinket lands him his name and also gives him his new mission: the search for God! Why? Because as the Indian colloquialism would have it, whenever he asks someone they all reply with either "God knows" or "Only God can help you" or "Trust God".

But little does the alien, now christened "PK" know that what he is dealing with is the land of a multitude of Gods and religions! Who shall he seek out? And who will ultimately return his trinket? The quest ultimately lands PK in a quagmire of organized religion and fake Godmen. Unbeknownst to him, he finds himself becoming a media created icon out to expose fakers acting as messengers of Gods, taking advantage of the poor and the ignorant and playing on their faith. One of these Godmen is Tapasvi Maharaj (Saurabh Shukla), who also happens to hold P.K's trinket, claiming it to be something that belonged to Lord Shiva!

P.K, in turn, is manipulated by a duck-billed Anushka Sharma, who one may easily confuse for Donald Duck had it not been for the lack of the sailor hat. A bird nest wig makes up for it, nevertheless. The spunky journalist is the only one who knows of PK's true identity.

And thus, Mr. Hirani and team manoeuvre their puck with so many ridiculously forced situations in order to manipulate the plot in their chosen direction, that you lose count. The entire film follows the Hirani textbook formula. Add loads of cheese, schmaltz, some unnecessary romance, uninspired song and dance numbers, a messiah-like hero, and touch upon pertinent issues with lots of sugar on top in the form of humour, and voila! You got a perfect weekend mega blockbuster, with the 1000 crore currency notes showing and fluttering all over the place AND a tag of being offbeat.

Speaking of romance, there's a poorly written romantic subplot revolving around Anushka's character and her Pakistani beau Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput, who's awful to say the least; one wonders how he even got this far). This romantic subplot comes full circle in a sickeningly contrived and ludicrous, laughable climax, where the subplot becomes the main plot and on its weak foundation rests the denouement that should actually have been magnanimous, cathartic and earth-shaking.

But Hirani chooses to chicken out and screw it all up with a cheap conclusion, while poorly putting across an India-Pakistan harmony sentiment. And sure enough, that scene takes away any credibility, or weight from the plot that boasts of being brave and audacious, taking on organized religion, causing hullabaloo amongst right wing protectors of various religions and whatnot! But the truth is, there is about one teaspoonful of mature, meaningful ideas sprinkled in a bucketful of utter rubbish that borders on juvenility.

The ideas of religious dogmatism, the middlemen in religion, and their questionable practices are barely touched upon. The rest of it is purely an exercise in silliness. The attempt to make a trendy new catchphrase, 'Wrong number' in this case, is forced and rather inchoate, compared to the earlier more popular catchphrases like 'Gandhigiri' and 'Jadoo ki Jhappi' in Hirani's Munnabhai films. In essence, the film bears a resemblance to the poser Godmen it attempts to expose, for it is nothing more than overcooked fluff, donning the garb of intelligence, trying hard to be intellectual and socially relevant, and claiming to be a clever satire.

Mr. Aamir 'Perfectionist' Khan mostly hams it up as expected, except in a few scenes where he shines with his authentic Bhojpuri accent. It is that one sequence surrounding a stage performer in the garb of Lord Shiva that brings in some good laughs. That, and the attempt to exchange a Gandhi image for food. Anushka is okay, and Mr. Boman Irani who had been the other star in Hirani's Munnabhai films is reduced to a thankless and forgettable role here.

Just when you think the senselessness may have passed as the film enters its penultimate moments, you get a sappy exchange between a love-lorn P.K (yes, this alien falls in love too!) and Anushka's character. In this scene, we learn that PK is carrying a huge trunk of Duracell batteries (yeah!) with him back to his planet for he doesn't get them there, and wishes to play some audio tape! So here's an alien species that has made and powered spaceships to fly across planets, but they lack the technology to play audio equipment? Sigh!

Score: 3/10


  1. You seem to be someone who just wants to stand apart from the rest So that you can flaunt your childish intellectual skills but you are nothing more than a bigot who thinks his opinion matters

    1. Umm..not really. If you go through the rest of my blog you would know. All I "want" is to watch films and write about my opinion. Whether it matters or not is an individual concern. And for your information, I am not really "standing apart from the rest". There are a lot (and that's a huge number) of other "bigots" who agree with me in this case (Not that that really matters either, but just saying). Please get a reality check before you make such hostile and ignorant comments. In fact, from the tone and content of your comment, it appears that YOU are the bigot who couldn't stand that my view isn't in tune with yours.

      And if you want to discuss like a true cinephile, then please pick on specific points in my review or from the film and have a meaningful discussion. Challenge my views if you really are a serious man who knows what he is saying. Don't just post empty criticism without backing it up.

    2. Hello Suman, it's time for you to start watching some real movies.