A married couple, both good friends of mine, celebrated their wedding anniversary this Friday, and what better gift to the notoriously lovey-dovey couple, I thought, than tickets to Ki & Ka? Directed and co-produced by R. Balki, who also co-wrote this movie with Rishi Virmani, it promised to be a perfect date movie, and I felt rather proud of my gesture. Having seen the movie myself on Saturday, I went to visit the couple today to receive overwhelming hosannas about my idea. And here’s what happened, the story live and real time:
I ring the doorbell, and Ramu kaka, their Man Friday, opens the door.
Me: Hi Ramu kaka, saab, biwi aur ghulam, all in? Ha ha ha!
Ramu kaka (not getting the cinematic pun): I’m a family member, saab. Madam was so small when I joined….
Me (hastily): Yes, of course, of course…..
I walk in and see the wife (whom I will call She for convenience and my safety) lounging in the living room, reading what seemed like a book titled, How to Make Your Husband Cook For You.
Me: Hi She! What’s up? Where’s He? (For my convenience and his safety.)
Ki: Oh hey! Come in, sit!! I must tell you how much I loved the movie!! He?? He?? Darling He?? Look who’s here!
My friend walks out of the kitchen, wearing what must have been a spotless apron once upon a time, but was now a victim of seemingly colorful cooking entropy.
He (looks at me, starts, then gives me an expression that must have been first given by Caesar to Brutus immediately after the former felt a prickly sensation in the small of his back): Oh, you! It’s you!
And this was said not in a welcoming way, but much like the scum politicians of Bankipur greeted Priyanka Chopra in Jai Gangaajal.
Me: Yes, old chap! How was your anniversary? And did you enjoy the movie?
She: Tell him no, baby. It was simply amazing, so cute and beautiful! Just the way I want to lead my married life henceforth.
Me (a little concerned): Erm, what does that mean?
She: He, tell him no darling.
She: Listen, I’ve decided that just like Kia (Kareena Kapoor) and Kabir (Arjun Kapoor), we’re going to design our lives around me going to work while He’s going to manage the household, no my love?
He: Listen, darling…
Ramu kaka (sidling up to me): Saab, coffee?
Me: No darling…I mean, Ramu kaka. (Turning to She): Honestly, you got to be kidding! That was only a movie!
She: Nonsense! I’ve read articles in so many magazines about how the man of the house is just that, and the woman goes out to earn the bread and margarine.
Me (as gravely as I can): She, listen to me carefully, this is insane. That was just Balki’s fantasy gone slightly awry, nice though it was in parts.
He (apron flailing frantically): Yes, tell her! Listen darling, don’t you think the initial courting was a little too amateurish? A dash too contrived too?
She: No, my love. It was cho chweet. I loved how he brought the world cup into the conversation to ask Kareena her age.
Me: I must admit, that part was quite nicely done. But those bar scenes were too….
He: …rushed and a tad too pat.
She: Ooh, I’d love to be courted in that manner.
He (muttering under his apron): I’d love to take you to court.
She: What was that, my apple pie?
He: Err…nothing, nothing my..my….
Me (helpfully): …strawberry strudel?
He (flaring his nostrils): You stay out of this! Humph! What a gift!
Me (changing the topic): I thought the director was in a hurry to get them married, so he could throw all his ideas and possibilities at the audience.
He: Ha! And that mangalsutra bit was a bit too much. Wasn’t much fun.
She: You know what? You guys just can’t see a woman take charge, that’s it.
He: No my love, it isn’t that.
Me: No, really. I loved the scenes between Ki, Ka, and Ki’s mother (Swaroop Sampat). And such a pleasure watching her after ages.
She: So true. She’s such a natural, and she seemed to be literally having a blast. Such fun!
Me: True, and there were some genuine moments between the couple, and all good fun while it lasted. But how soon does Arjun Kapoor’s character chafe at Ki’s supposed slight at the office party scene in Dubai? Much too soon, I think.
He: Ha! For someone who wanted to be an “artist” (read “housewife”) like his mother, Arjun’s character takes offense much too soon – knowing how the world will react.
She: No darling, I think it just showed how sweet and sensitive Ka was. And Arjun was so adorable, and so sweet, no jaanu?
Ramu (sidling up to me again): Fresh samosa, saab?
Me: No jaanu…errr.. Ramu. (Turning to the couple): One of the best scenes to me was the one that also broke some age-old moulds – where Ki discovers that she’s pregnant, and then, on Ka’s insistence, tries out pregnancy kits from different companies, making it a game of statistics and probability. And for once, both of them are praying for the same thing. That was a nicely done turn.
He: I agree. But ha! You and your gift!
She: So sweet that was. And I thought Ki’s ambition was so natural and so instinctive, no darling?
He: Yes, my love. Although why does the ambitious one have to be a shade of grey always?
She: I don’t think you can succeed in the corporate world without that necessary grey shade, my pineapple.
Ramu (reappearing beside me): Juice saab?
Me: No my….no, no Ramu kaka. Yes, She, I think Kareena Kapoor was marvelous in the movie. Her eyes a host to a gamut of dancing expressions – sometimes a tease, sometimes full of passion. But the best part? When Ka begins to make a mark outside his chugging kitchen and chopping board – her eyes turn as cold as ice, her demeanor a frightening shade of jealous.
He: And just as I thought Abhimaan….
Me: There were Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan in that brilliant scene.
She: I know! Such an adorable pair, no? Such class.
He: Yes, darling.
Me: True. To me, the Amitabh-Jaya scene was the highlight of the movie. It was brilliantly done, it seemed as if director Balki took us along with him to take a peek inside their living room. It was so natural, so charming. And the best part? This was the scene where Balki the writer and director killed it without laboring it. And it worked amazingly well on so many levels. It was as if it was a personal take on the famous couple. At another level, when Jaya Bachchan charmingly delivered her coup de grâce, you realize that no matter what, no matter who, and no matter where, the woman usually hits a glass ceiling – whether in an organization chart, in an emotional graph, or when it comes to familial decisions. Both Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan effortlessly stole the show – and just for this scene, it’s worth the price of the movie ticket.
She: Wow! True, true, no darling?
He: Ha! Yes, darling!
Me: Arjun Kapoor’s performance was…
She: So sweet, so adorable, no darling?
He: Yes, my guava custard.
Me: Ramu kaka, stay there. I don’t want custard. Arjun Kapoor was nicely understated and he carried off his role with just the right emotional heft – not too much, not too less. And for someone with his body, his body language was superbly muted.
He: Ha! I liked Rajit Kapur as well. As Ka’s father and a frustrated father and rich businessman, his scenes were fun, his anger and bewilderment at the situation adding to some fun moments.
She: I thought he almost reached the outer circle of hamming it, no darling?
He (firmly): No. Darling.
Me (even more firmly): No, Ramu kaka. So of course, the movie ended predictably, but overall it was light, good fun in parts, ludicrous in others.
She: What nonsense! It was such a nice movie!
He: Ha! Your gift! Next year, send us tickets to the zoo instead.
Me: Not with a leopard on the loose, ha ha ha!
She: What rubbish! And I loved that Ji Huzoori number.
He: Me too, my marshmallow.
Ramu kaka: Kya laow?
Me: Nothing, Ramu kaka. I agree – a nice, semi-qawwali style number composed by Mithoon and sung with verve by Mithoon and Deepali Sathe. But you know what? I somehow missed Illaiyaraja’s trademark, crackling background score. I’m not sure he did those tracks. And it was so disappointing to see him roll out only one song – why, oh why? But what a superb song it is – Foolishq, sung with feeling by Armaan Malik and a velvety sauciness by Shreya Ghoshal. How I wish the maestro had gotten more track space.
She (getting up): Anyways, it was an eye-opener for me. He will learn to cook and be like Ka.
Me: But She! In the movie, Ka wanted to be a homemaker. In your life, He doesn’t.
She (going into the kitchen): Humph! We’ll see about that. Darling? Have you chopped the onions?
He (getting up, resigned): Coming, darling.
Me: He! Can’t you talk some sense into her??
He: Ki sera sera.
Me: What on earth are you blabbering about?
He: Whatever will be, will be whatever the wife decides will be.
Watch the trailer of Ki & Ka here: