So in the incredibly awesome Jab We Met, a phoney station master opines, "Zindagi ek rail ki patri hai. Ek inch ka bend, aur meelon ki doori.." Funny, but apt. And Ki and Ka visually keeps reminding us of how relationships are like train journeys.. Two tracks that must support a huge vehicle called marriage. Two tracks that are separate yet act as one.. A great thought and a nice premise to make a film on.
Ki and Ka - if not completely novel, is certainly a full blown attempt at role reversals. A guy runs the house so his wife can follow her career aspirations. That's a great idea and that's the best thing about the film. The rest is somewhat incidental and an almost diametrically opposite version of age old stereotypes, that end up making the caricatures - except with genders reversed. Ki and Ka is lost between trying to make a strong point about gender roles one hand and trying to still be funny (and almost gimmicky) on the other. Eventually it is a romcom that decides to get dramatic and in the end delivers averagely on both counts.
Everything about the boy meets girl (or shall we say girl meets guy), is uncoventional. And even as the Kabir (ka - Arjun Kapoor) reminds his new interest Kia (ki- Kareena Kapoor) that he is not gay, he is very clear that he wants to make a home, and not get into a career of any sort. As much as he wants to sound feminist, it is hard to ignore that it really seems Ka's personal choice and it seems to work mainly because his Ki is fine with it. What with the man insisting on wearing a mangalsutra and all.. To each his own.
And after the film has set its tone, there's not of a plot in the first half. Yes, we meet his chauvinist father and her progressive mother - again both extreme opposites. One asks the son to check his genitals to reassure his manliness and the other confirms if the daughter has had sex with her husband-to-be to ensure all' a well before marriage. The supposed slice of life treatment ends up served as episodes of one situation after the other. All in all the first half seems like a feel-good romcom, something that director R Balki excelled in with his debut Cheeni Kum.
Ki and Ka takes a dramatic turn in the second half and treads along the gender reversed Abhimaan track - the yesteryears classic on the shifting balance of ego and self worth in a married couple. That the resolution for Ki and Ka should come from the real life couple - Amitabh and Jaya Bachan playing themselves in an endearing cameo, is another feel good moment in the largely easygoing experience that this movie is. The conflicts, the resolutions and everything in between has a sense of ease, which dare I say, shows somewhat lack of imagination.
All in all, it's a film that starts with, thrives on and ends with a few preachy mini monologues on gender roles. That said, the film is not boring and the monologues are relevant. It's kudos to the team of actors who make these caricatures somewhat relatable.
Arjun Kapoor pulls off the high heeled act with high testosterone and credible sensitivity. Kudos to casting and the actor for accepting a role that makes the message even more strong. He's not the quintessential metrosexual. He's rugged and all brawn and yet a homemaker at heart. Kareena is effervescent as the ambitious yet boisterous Kia, and she is particularly great in the second half when her character starts to feel insecure and ego gets the better of her.
The music by maestro Ilayaraja doesn't have the signature timelessness except for the Ji huzoori track, which has some fine lyrics too by Sayeed Quadri. Technically the film seems average but the art direction of the film is special in that it creates a fantasy like home of Ki and Ka, perhaps a fitting metaphor that a couple like this is just as impossible to find in real as a house like that. And I don't know if the print in the auditorium I saw was bad, but the editing seemed choppy.
In the end, I think you won't regret watching Ki and Ka, but you won't regret missing it either. 2.5 stars. If you spend between 150 and 200 bucks you won't complain :-)