Tuesday, December 23, 2014

PK: One for the believer

Still from the film 'PK'. Photo: special arrangement
Still from the film 'PK'. Photo: special arrangement

Coming at a time when faith has becomes a deadly business, Rajkumar Hirani shows mirror to the times we live in. Looking at the world we have created for ourselves through a stranger’s eyes, he exposes godmen who promise to resolve our problems by bringing us in contact with the Almighty. Some ask for monetary donations, some implore to convert and some even ask to lay life. 

“PK” proves the profit motive behind this obscurantism by establishing how these so-called managers have turned faith into a business model which is driven by inculcating fear in the mind of the consumer. It reminds of Umesh Shukla’s Oh! My God but the way Hirani and co-writer Abhijat Joshi have moulded the thought into a screenplay it glides on its own feet. They are not selective in their punches. They are not in awe of any religion but they don’t show disrespect to any faith either as the film stands with the believer in humanity.

Often such subjects threaten to enter the sermon zone but Hirani steers clear of the preaching and pushes for a rational approach through a taut narrative which is escapist on the surface. Hirani is known to blend the two poles and here he manages to do it all over again with a dramatic flourish. Who would have thought that the hero of a mainstream Hindi film will speak Bhojpuri or learn his lessons from a hooker in a film that at one level is a science fantasy where a soul is searching for the God who will take it to the other world? By making an outsider, who doesn’t know the rule of the game we play daily, the central character, Hirani denudes us off most artifices that we wear in day-to-day life without making us realise that we are being disrobed. 

Known to shoot funny situations in the realistic fashion, here in Aamir Khan he has the actor who makes us believe in the outlandish nature of PK. He makes you forget the oddities like green bug eyes, big ears or nudity for that matter with a performance that is endearing and probing at the same time. He plays an important role in making us believe in some of the bizarre aspects of the story. 

Anushka Sharma comes across as a waft of fresh air, as somebody who seems in control of her life but behind her tough exterior there is a soft core. 

Her short crop gives her face a new dimension and her chemistry with Aamir ensures that the surface of the narrative gels with its core. Saurabh Shukla and Boman Irani are efficient as ever and Sushant Singh Rajput doesn’t disappoint in a cameo. Shantanu Moitra’s music may not stand out but doesn’t come in the way of storytelling except for the Rajasthani number that is there to justify the presence of Dutt in the film. 

Of course after three films, a certain pattern has set in Hirani’s storytelling. The film’s magic realism and leap of faith reminds of 3 Idiots. PK is not too far from Phunsuk Wangdu in his curiosity and the will to embrace logic and rationality. According to conventional wisdom, he is as much an odd ball as Phunsuk. And the narrator’s route to introduce him adds to the familiarity. The only difference is, PK is denuded of all earthly knowledge. The strained father-daughter relationship in the film reminds of Farhan’s struggle to make his father understand his aspiration in 3 Idiots

Also, using media as a weapon for change has become predictable now and Hirani rides the same vehicle but fuels it with dramatic punches which keep you glued to the seats. The emotional upheavals come announced, caress your core and leave you misty eyed with lips betraying an unalloyed smile. Very few films leave you satiated these days. PK is one rare gem. Go embrace!

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