Five minutes into PK, you feel a familiar sense of joy.
There are very few filmmakers in India who transport you into a different world like Hirani does. Of course, there is Bhansali, but the worlds he attempts to transport you to seem like the shreds of a bad MDMA trip.
Hirani, meanwhile, is a good tab on a sunny winter morning, where you can feel the chill on your skin, and the warmth in your eyes. And as you look around you, everything in your vicinity transforms into a joyous, delightful utopia.
Hirani’s films are distinct in their imagery – you could tell a Hirani film just by looking at a frame. The skies are blue, the clouds carelessly white. The buildings blemishless, the people good natured. And amidst the wonderland, is a hero who sets out to make you think.
I shall waste no time in going through the premise, as most reviewers and channels must have done it for you. What I’d rather say is that PK grips you from the very first frame. A joyride that barely lets you take a breather, PK is a winner all the way.
Watching it in a single screen theatre in Bhubaneswar, PK reminded me of the magical quality of films. There is no director in present day India who elicits the whistles, hoots, applause, laughter and tears in the way Rajkumar Hirani does.
Watching PK was cathartic for me. A throwback to the days when films could move an entire audience in a tidal wave of emotions. In a time of such attention deficiency when even two free seconds mean a quick message sent over the phone.
The person sitting next to me had his phone out in the beginning of the movie. But ten minutes in, he couldn’t do it anymore. He slipped his phone into his pocket, and his abnormally large elbow on the arm of the chair.
Every few minutes, his elbow would jiggle. And somewhere in the climax, he moved his elbow, ran his fingers along his face, and quickly brought the elbow back to the arm.
Sitting right next to me was a living testimony to what Hirani does with the medium of cinema, in a way that only he can.
If you haven’t watched PK yet, please go ahead and watch it.
Please do not read any further if you haven’t watched the movie. I’m serious. It’ll ruin your experience, and a brave, endearing film as PK deserves to be watched for an honest, unbiased first experience. You can always come back to read this section after watching the film, and tell me if it makes sense.
Good. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here is another opinion on the film.
I laughed and hooted and cheered, but deep within, I felt a pang of pain. After the interval, the film slipped into familiar rhetoric territory. Somewhere in the beginning of the second half, I knew how the story would end. In my mind, I drew gigantic story arcs, connecting dots and covering up loopholes.
Deep within, I was fighting the greatest fear I have for a filmmaker – predictability.
In his last four films, Hirani has used a fairly simple but utterly remarkable formula. A charming hero who takes on a gigantic systemic bull by the horns and brings it to its knees in the most humane manner possible. Through the journey, Hirani makes you laugh, cry, and question a few things.
And yet, in PK, even though the theme is a pet peeve of mine, I felt uneasy. An hour into the film, I recognised the villain. Hirani’s villains are not so much characters, as they are ideas that prevail in our society. After that, it was a case of how, and not what.
My biggest fear is that Hirani will turn into a Madhur Bhandarkar – who uses the same character (a vulnerable pretty girl in a bad-wolf world) in different scenarios. Or a Shankar, whose hero singlehandedly sets right cancerous illnesses in society.
There’s nothing wrong in being a Bhandarkar, or a Shankar. Only, it kills the joy of listening to a story. Of having it throw you off your feet.
It was a wonderful film, Mr. Hirani, but may be it is time to show Vidhu Vinod Chopra the finger. He has made crores and crores riding on your immense talent, and spawned off many bastard children with the golden cow you gave him.
May be it’s time, Mr. Hirani, to do a quirky crime thriller next. Or a gut-wrenching epic saga. The pothole is right in front of you, Mr. Hirani, each getting larger with every outing of yours.
Please be a Woody Allen, whose only predictability is his brilliance. Not a Madhur Bhandarkar, who, well, is a bit of an idiot.