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 bySenior Journalist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan