Raj Kumar Hirani’s films are entertainingly preachy and clever, cinematic versions of Chicken Soup for the Soul. That’s a given. What makes them all unanimously popular are the endearing lead characters and their own lingo.Munnabhai MBBS’s “Jaadu ki Jhappi” and 3 Idiots’ “all is well” have firmly made their way into every cinema goer’s dictionary.
Hirani’s heroes are basically quite formulaic. They all have a heart of gold which makes you simply fall for them. They come armed with a dozen ways to entertain, to make you laugh and without exception, make you cry. They are all gurus in the guise of Aamir Khan (of late) who leave behind a much-needed message so powerful, that it draws claps from the audiences, without fail. In PK, the line that did the magic was,” kaun Hindu, kaun Musalmaan, kahan hai thappa, dikhao”.
By now, you must have guessed the subject that the PK team kept a mystery. The entire secrecy game and gimmick, right from Aamir Khan’s nude poster to the release; made it quite tiresome. But thankfully, Aamir’s performance, made up for the silly big ears and wide, saucer eyed look.
So the speculations were right .Aamir does play a nameless alien who acquires the name PK (drunk) because of the kind of questions he raises about God. His Bhojpuri dialect has the most bizarre explanation that involves some hand holding with a prostitute. There are several such unbelievable glitches that run through the screenplay. Yet, the ongoing thread of strong sentiments of the perception and corruptive business of religion, makes one overlook the liberty taken in storytelling.
The film opens to Anushka’s voice telling us how PK lands on the sands of Rajasthan, from a spaceship. A shiny, big, blue locket around his neck, is his only accessory. The locket is his remote control, which he can use to call the spaceship to get him back. He belongs to a planet where there is no need to cover the naked body or to lie. A local guy robs his locket and runs away. PK wants his remote control back. Once he has learnt how to speak and dress (starting from a jacket and ghaghra to Rajasthani turbans to unmatching shirts and pants found in ‘dancing cars’), he lodges a complaint with the police. He is told by one and all that only God can help him. PK now starts looking for God, which brings him to the journalist, Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) looking for a ‘breaking news’ story better than that of a depressed dog.
When she spots PK, he is wearing colourful clothes, several rudraksha malas and a bright yellow helmet, hoping to be noticed by God. His bizarre appearance catches her interest and soon his childlike innocence, implausible stories and hard, honest questions, draw her into helping him find his remote control.
Hirani’s favourite, Boman Irani is less interesting as Anushka’s boss, than his previous two films. A couple of his bum jokes fall flat. A throwback to a previous Munnabhai movie, besides a charming and old Sanjay Dutt is the involvement of masses through the media, while PK and Jaggu do some preaching and arguing on the approach to God. PK comes up with a ‘wrong number’ explanation in order to fight against the belief system spread by the likes of Godman Tapasvi (Saurabh Shukla). Incidentally, Tapasvi is also the villain in a brief love story between Jaggu and Sarfaraz (Sushant Singh Rajput).
Some nice songs with great lyrics… “love is a waste of time”, “bhagwan kahan hai tu” and “chaar kadam”, complete the sweet and relevant theme.
Aamir Khan, takes only the first two silent minutes of the film, as walks and runs in the buff; to make a place in one’s heart. His remarkable ease of slipping into childlike innocence is more instrumental in involving you into the otherwise repetitive and over simplistic film. Anushka Sharma’s equally empathetic response to him, is a delight to watch. Her emotional response to a discovery in the end, is touching in particular. The scene, though, is straight from Love Actually.
PK with its few flaws, does dial the right number that reaches the heart. A special appearance in the end, will even make you whistle.