Yes let us begin with railways.Last week when the Gatiman Express was launched and proved to be only ten minutes faster than the quickest of trains we already had, I groaned. That’s it?
Kabir from Ki and Ka would have been amidst those who would have complained about the ever reducing experience of the rail road or how forms of transportation seem to be converging based on just one parameter: speed.
Ki and Ka is one of the most well written films in recent history, it pays to notice that their back stories don’t seem like one liners scribbled in the corners of a script; but that which actually lends character.
A standing testimony to “two good characters and it’s a movie!”
Since we have already begun with railways, let us stick with Kabir; the one who is seen crying for his dead mother in transit, no he is not the spoilt-Singhania (Bansal actually) heir but a deeply sensitive man who misses his mother whom he feels has been thoroughly under recognized for the work she has done.
So we have a mama’s boy, trying to tell the world(and his father, no mainly his father; world comes later) that home making is an under appreciated art and that women almost daily have been denied of this credit while their men work away to corporate glory which has historically been called ‘work’. If women are truly the pillars to a man’s success, then in real time they are rusting only.
Kabir also likes trains, ‘likes’ here is a severely subtle description.
Son thinks he is continuing mother’s good work (also the story of Psycho, oops!) and combines his mother’s passion with his own (art meets art) and what we get is a dinner table served by a locomotive and a bed room that resembles an 80s waiting room (wow), see layers. A really fleshy character, i mean fleshed out character.
An act of God, in Bollywood land.
It would also help to notice that Kabir also thinks, his actions are driven by thinking.
Kia doesn’t want to be a pillar, she wants to be a CEO; at first she does seem like the one who would do anything to get ahead, and her back story is not as detailed as that of her better half and depends entirely on how Kareena(brilliant) plays it, she is genuinely curious and visibly tired of meeting the same old men who are seeking pillars, so meeting Kabir on an aircraft was indeed godsend.
Good movies are about two people talking and they become better when what they are talking about is more interesting than who is speaking those lines, the first set up in Ki and Ka is genuinely engaging. The characters need not be yugapurush-es( I dont know the stri-ling equivalent of yugapurush) when they are created and any sort of character development that happens during the course of a movie is like the well mixed flavored popcorn that one encounters when one reaches the very end of the basket.
Ki and Ka is a modern film for a truly modern audience, does it play around with stereotypes? Yes, but only to get to the point, I could not see this as a regular gender/role reversal film, I felt the film had risen above these problems; because it would have become a Ramany vs Ramany* episode otherwise.
To further strengthen my point, the problems that Ki and Ka puts forward are solved without much issue or drama. This film is not about career driven women trying to not have a baby without guilt because this problem gets solved within minutes.
Films are a reflection of what our society is or what society is moving towards, there could be people like Kabir out there who needs a Kia to function and there could be many Kias running away from becoming pillars and yearning to be architectural structures of beauty by themselves. (Kia ends up becoming the CEO of a construction company, nice touch there)
Ki and Ka is not about role reversal and it is definitely not a broad comment on man and woman, but an intimate look at two individuals post marriage. This is not about who gives up what or which profession is better; this Ki and Ka is actually Yin and Yang.
A well made modern film for the modern Indian, hopefully should inspire more Kis and Kas in real life as well.
Also officially now Arjun Kapoor is my favourite Bolly hero, the kind of restraint he brings to a character that would have become a caricature is absolutely magical.
Hey! Yes, they take the train back home, so finishing with railways as well.
*Ramany vs Ramany a tamil sitcom on recently married couples.