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Ki & Ka  : Courageous Comment On Him & Her
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Friday, April 1, 2016
R. Balki
Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor

Balki’s cinema always celebrates unconventionality. Tabu falling in love with a man almost as old as her father in Cheeni Kum, a son ageing faster than his father in Paa and now a reversal of gender roles. Career-girl Kia is ambitious while rich builder’s son Kabir is happy to be a house husband. Balki takes it further by having her mother stay with them, so that Kabir takes care of his saas too. But the whole idea is so new that it takes a while even for Kia to openly state that Kabir is the homemaker while she brings home the bacon.


So far so good and it’s told with a lot of urban style and light humour. But once the routine is set, Balki tries a reverse-Abhimaan and the unconventional becomes unconvincing. All along, Kabir sportingly stays in the background, never once resenting Kia’s success, not even when he’s completely sidelined. But when he starts getting a wee bit of attention for his progressive lifestyle, Kia’s ego flare-ups look too forced to ring true, especially when she’s still at the top of her game. Her mother’s explanation that irrespective of gender, there’s always a tussle between who earns and who runs the house, isn’t sufficient to justify Kia’s hurtfully untrue charges at Kabir who stays consistently too good to be true.


And so, while Balki presents a theme as refreshing as the zafrani pulao he served in Cheeni Kum, his writing doesn’t keep it real and riveting all the way.


On the other hand, when he introduces Amitabh and Jaya, the real life Abhimaan couple, the comfortable chemistry between them adds cosiness and crackle to Kabir and Kia’s unusual story. Using Jaya Bachchan to iron out the couple’s differences may be too pat but she does have the required image of a senior who can impart wisdom to the young.


However, only a slim percentage of the metro audience will wholeheartedly endorse the role reversal. They may even support Kia’s tantrum over a false pregnancy since a kid doesn’t figure in her career-oriented life. But when she turns unreasonably resentful and hurls churlish charges at Kabir, there won’t be much empathy for Kia.


For all the unconventionality, Balki too succumbs to the need to show that a house-husband is not a wimp by getting Kabir to beat up a trio of goondas. “Like Dharmendra,” says an impressed Kia.


Arjun Kapoor has an endearing charm that works as Kabir and he has to be applauded for unflinchingly taking on a role that goes against all that a hero is supposed to be. Kareena looks gorgeous and plays Kia with conviction. Art director Madhusudan adds quirky elegant touches to the house that Kabir does up and runs. With Manish Malhotra around, Arjun Kapoor sports casuals and semis, and Kareena wears her hair simply with minimum makeup, both looking smart-contemporary, never once going over the top.


And Balki deserves a pat for wading into risky waters with such an unconventional comment on gender roles that will leave many questioning their own antiquated take on Him and Her.  


For a courageously contemporary theme, Ki & Ka gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author


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