Director: Rajkumar Hirani
While watching movies, I often wonder how the germ of the idea for the story came about. It must have started as a thought, and then more ideas added to it. Characters devised around which the story can revolve, scenes and situations imagined and finally dialogues put in. A similar thought struck me while enduring PK. The writers would no doubt have read about the spate of spiritual / religious babas going bust like dot com companies of late. So why not make a movie about it? The movie shall deliver a sucker punch to the concept of organized religion. But wait…hasn’t it already been done by Paresh Rawal in OMG: Oh My God and the play it is based upon? Hmmm, yes. But that’s where a human exposes the sham of blind faith. We shall bring a wholly original twist to it. Import an extra-terrestrial, throw him into the muck and let his naiveté bring out the God fraud.
And so enters the alien, Aamir Khan, on this planet. In the exact same fashion as all Hollywood aliens do. A circular spaceship from the clouds drops him at a desolate location. He is unclad like The Terminator but figures out a way to put on clothes. He will soon learn a language and gel amongst humans. When we see the spaceship, we know there is some hokum we will have to swallow during the movie. Then why waste our time explaining how he got his gab and garb? It may work as a short scene played for humour, but a long drawn out sequence is just unnecessary clarification.
Cut to Anushka Sharma, who is in Bruges (get the reference?) and falls for a Pakistani dude (Sushant Singh Rajput). Their family guru (Saurabh Shukla) who is shudderingly anti-Muslim predicts he will leave her because “that’s what these people do”. Sure enough he does, but we know that a lovable chocolate boy cannot turn out like this. It’s only a case of miscommunication and he will return for the last scene.
A few months later, Anushka is a TV reporter in Delhi (yes, giant Hanuman idol seen) on the lookout for a story, any story. She runs into AK, by now called PK, who is distributing “Missing” pamphlets with photographs of Indian Gods on them. Looks quirky, so she follows him into prison to get a story out of him. Learns that his pendent, his contact with his planet has been stolen and he has been given to believe that God and his “managers” on earth can retrieve it for him.
After this, the film launches an in-your-face assault into everything that we have been brought into thinking is holy. But instead of a subtle, thinking man’s approach, it’s a tactless, garish treatment that appeals to front-benchers but disappoints the viewer expecting better stuff from Rajkumar Hirani. Religion almost becomes a soft target in the movie, a free for all enterprise that can be flogged at will for a few laughs. Speaking of laughs, they are a little difficult to come by. I may have smiled at a few instances but most of the schoolboy jokes fell flat for me.
The first half of the movie is a little tolerable but the second half is the scriptwriters’ graveyard as it moves from mediocrity to nonsense. The same motif is played endlessly until you are exhausted. I would have walked out if I wasn’t planning to write this review. Maybe I could have and still managed to complete it!
PK the character is needlessly cartoonish and defies logic. He imbues his Bhojpuri accent and everything he knows about this world from a prostitute. Everything but common sense and a few key emotions. Why were these basic element not transferred? To push ahead the feeble plot, what else. Aamir Khan may be a good actor but there are certain kinds of roles where he is out of his depth. Mostly where a loud performance is required of him. Think Ghajini and Dhoom 3. PK is more on those lines than, say, Sarfarosh. He is a shade better here but yet not completely convincing. Anushka Sharma is also just OK, keeping the spunk that she is known for in check. Abruptly, a romantic angle is developed between her and PK to maybe insert a song. Saurabh Shukla is wasted in a one-dimensional role as the godman who will be exposed in the end. Hirani regulars Sanjay Dutt and Boman Irani are given brief roles. Now if only Irani was given more screen space like in Lagey Raho Munnabhai.
Every Hirani movie has a catchphrase that becomes popular along with the movie but outlives its popularity. The first Munnabhai had “Jadoo ki jhappi”, the second introduced “Gandhigiri”. 3 Idiots ushered in “All is well”. Now with PK, its “Yeh wrong number hai”. I doubt if it will match the other three in terms of longevity but it easily gives competition to “All is well” when it comes to irritability.
As I moved out with the crowd, as per my usual practice, I tried overhearing what others had to say about the movie. “Not as good as 3 Idiots” said one. Another one dejectedly said, “Ok for a one-time watch”. One particular group was still laughing, repeating dialogues from the film. How I wished I could share their moment of ecstasy. It was just another lousy outing at the movies for me.