Posted: 05 January 2015 at 11:40pm | IP Logged
Originally posted by Truth10
So I saw PK.
How was it?
TLDR: It's a three-hour long episode of Satyamev Jayate.
For those of you who have not seen this program, which strongly makes me
believe that you are not the kind that stops at a stop sign, Satyamev
Jayate can be summarized as "social activism for those of us that like
to watch Big Boss but feel guilty ". It picks a certain "problem of the
week", like police reforms or corruption or doctors, and then runs
through an hour of over-explaining and music and appropriately
emotioned-up guests. The USP of the program, the reason why people
watch it, is of course Method-Actor Khan (known to mortals as Aamir
Khan) for whom Satyamev Jayate is a perfect prop for his carefully
cultivated image as a socially conscientious superstar. Cycling through
various expressions, "the-oh-my-God-I-had-no-idea" ("Apko police ne
yeh kaha?") as if he is hearing the guest's story for the first time,
Mr. Khan straddles perfectly that grey area between reality and
choreography, between the person and the persona, and if the topic of
the week does not keep you watching, or that sharp prick on your
conscience if your finger goes to the remote control to change the
channel, Aamir Khan's performance sure does.
Like Satyamev Jayate, PK too has a "problem of the week", long passages
of preachy exposition, poking-in-eye messaging, and each one of Aamir
Khan's Satyamev Jayate stock facial expressions. Except being an alien,
his innocent "I-had-no-idea" face makes a little more sense, though for
old-hands like us, there is a bit too much of the Main Kahaan Hoon Tiloo
from "Andaz Apna Apna" and one of the characters he played in Dhoom 3,
for me to be overtly blown away by the acting. Just as Satyamev Jayate,
despite its flaws, is an improvement on the brainless muck that passes
for entertainment on Indian television, PK is definitely better than
the "Bang Bangs" and the "Ready"s, a low bar surely, somewhat like
complimenting a fast bowler for bowling faster than Venkatesh Prasad.
It had a lot going for it, like Mr. Perfectionist's perfect derriere,
though obfuscated by mist, Raju Hirani at the helm, and some funny
sequences involving pee-ing, peek-ing, peekaying and anal-probing, which
I would perhaps have better appreciated if I was nine years old
However it is let down by two major cinematic boo-boos.
First the climax was so god-awful that it made the baby-delivered-by-vacuum-cleaner in Three Idiots seem kind of okay.
And second, Raju Hirani becomes so focussed on the agenda, the moral at
the end, that rather than let the story deliver the message, he had the
message write the story. As a result there is a really weak narrative
and absolutely zero chemistry between the characters, nothing like the
way there was between say Munnabhai and Circuit. Instead of story and
memorable characters, there are lengthy lectures facing the camera,
extremely contrived situations, and possibly the
most-rushed-romantic-tale I can remember, between Anushka Sharma and
Sushant Singh Rajput, reminding one of the Ravi Behl-Divya Dutta romance
in "Agnisakshi", scurried primarily because the only reason it existed
was to establish the message.
The basic problem I believe is that Raju Hirani is way out of his depth
in PK, biting off way more than he can chew. To be fair, it is extremely
difficult to make a movie that is anti-organized-religion without
coming down inordinately on one religion, and unless you are willing to
go fully "equal opportunities offender" like Maher in Religulous, which
again is a very difficult thing to do in a fictional setting, treading
carefully is a must.
Unfortunately Hirani is as subtle as a sledgehammer, a deft touch he doth not have.
Not that I believe Hirani has an insidious bias or that PK is part of a
global anti-Hindu conspiracy, which you would believe if you followed
the boycottPK loony hashtag, but it is true that Hirani exclusively ends
up using Hindu religious practices as his pincushion. Sure, there are
throwaway blink-and-miss-it references to Christian conversions and
Muslims treatment of their own women, but the focus remains firmly on
the Hindu faith. It's the man dressed as a Hindu God who runs like a
coward, it's the Hindu Gods who stand ghoul-like silent as PK prays in
front of them, which happens to be the most powerful scene of the movie.
The villain is a fake baba, a supposed anthropomorphism of
everything-that-is-wrong-with-religion, except that he ends up as a
stand-in for only Hinduism. If it was just one character, it would be
still fine, but then there is another Hindu priest who is shown as a
glorified pick-pocket, taking away Anushka's wallet in a way that is
more like a hood in a dark alley than a man of God. No other religion
has their people in authority get consistently poor treatment.
The explanation for that, I believe, and here is the supreme irony, is
fear. Like most people with a bit of common sense, Hirani knows that
depicting a maulvi as a money-grabbing goonda would lead to
consequences more dire than the mild controversy that is brought on
about by social-media outrage or the isolated court-case they have more
than enough resources to fight, both of which incidentally are good for
the movie publicity-wise. Hirani's consciousness of "those who must not
be angered" is perhaps most evident when PK, the alien, puts up signs of
different Hindu Gods on a wall and, if I am not totally wrong there was
also a picture of Jesus, but even PK knows, from news that might have
reached him billions of light years away, that forget pictures there are
some depictions of deities you do not put on walls, if you want to
keep your head on your shoulders. In that context of fear, the rather
provocative line "Jo Dar Gya Woh Mandir Gya" becomes ironic, almost as
ironic as an actor convicted of Jihadi terrorism in real life being
blown up by a Jihadi bomb on screen.
Personally, I loved the message of PK, mainly because being a
non-observant agnostic with a healthy dislike for rituals and organized
religion, I agree with what the movie is trying to say. The problem is
how they say it, preachy, uneven, hammy and amateurish.
And while a lack of balance may be forgiven or even blatant bias (for are we not all biased), sophomoric film-making cannot be.
This has got to be the most pathetic,nonsensical and illogical review I have ever read.
Edited by Arsal-AK - 05 January 2015 at 11:37pm