Writer – director R. Balki’s films are known for their unique concepts. The first two films directed by him – ‘Cheeni Kum’ and ‘Paa’, dealt with a subject that was unique, fresh and paved the way for a riveting film. ‘Shamitabh’, too, had a novel theme but the screenplay was not strong enough to help the film sail through. His new film ‘Ki & Ka’, starring Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor in principal roles, arrives at a time when filmmakers are encashing on the feminism wave and are limning the importance of gender equality. Though several films, television shows and commercials have dealt with this subject in recent times, Balki’s film (or at least the concept) still comes across as fresh because it shows a man willing to be a house husband while the wife goes about fulfilling her career ambitions.
Kia (Kareena Kapoor Khan) is a career driven woman who is wary of getting married as she feels, like millions of women in the country, she would be bound by the responsibilities of the household and would be forced to let go of her dreams. On her flight back to Delhi, she comes across Kabir (Arjun Kapoor), son of a wealthy businessman who has no career ambitions despite being an IIM topper. They strike a friendship which soon culminates into love. They tie the knot soon enough and enter into an unconventional union wherein Kabir decides to take care of the house and Kia scales greater heights in the corporate ladder.
The film has a very interesting concept but to incorporate conflict and drama in a plot like this and to stretch it for two hours could turn out to be an arduous task. Balki fails to rise to the challenge and in a desperate bid to create tension in the narrative, lends the film a kind of superficiality that, to a large extent, robs the film off its charm. The film has some terrific moments between the lead characters, the dialogues are witty and there are several instances when you root for the quirky couple. However, right from their fight in the hotel room in Dubai (silly and abrupt) to the conflict towards the end of the film, everything seems like a forced effort by the filmmaker. You cannot help but wonder as to why two individuals, who come across as very mature, would fight over trivial issues.
Kareena Kapoor Khan is seen in an author backed role after a long time. She looks gorgeous in every frame and performs with effortless ease. Arjun Kapoor does not make much of an impression and comes across as being worn out in several scenes. Swaroop Sampat, as Kia’s progressive mother, gets some interesting scenes and lies to deliver. She must do films more often. Rajit Kapoor is good in a brief role.
R. Balki fails to exploit an interesting idea to its fullest potential. Also, there are times when he pushes things to the extremes. While the protagonists proclaim that it is okay for man to do things one normally associates with women and vice-versa, Kabir asks Kia to tie the mangalsutra to his neck while getting married and in a scene prior to this sequence, she tells her mother that “Yeh meri wife banna chahta hai” (“He wants to become my wife”). So, if a man takes care of the house, he has to wear a mangalsutra and is referred to as a wife? The film is filled with several witty lines and they contribute significantly towards uplifting the light moments. The unconventional camera movements, directed by P.C Sreeram, are in sync with the mood that a particular scene conveys in the film. The editing (Chandan Arora) is alright. Certain dramatic moments could have been prolonged for a better impact. Barring “High Heels” (Yo Yo Honey Singh, Jaz Dhami and Meet Bros) and “Ji Huzoori” (Mithoon), the rest of the songs do not make much of an impact. The background score (Ilaiyaraja) is functional.
With an interesting central idea and several engaging moments, ‘Ki & Ka’ turns out to be a fun watch but the message that the film tries to convey does not come across very effectively. The conflict between the protagonists does not seem convincing and that stops you from taking the film as seriously as the director would want you to. Watch it for some fun candour between the two protagonists that could bring a smile to your face and a strong performance by Kareena that stays with you long after the end credits have stopped rolling.