“It was my choice because there was no other choice”
In this one line, Jaya Bachchan pretty much summarizes the core essence of Ki & Ka. When pegged by Amitabh Bachchan (as a real life partner) that it was her choice to retire from movies and settle down as a housewife, Mrs. Bachchan sends out a cool reply in this single line. While that sets even the Big B quiet, the message is loud and clear for the audience too – A lady needs to have options to make a choice.
There is good context setting by Balki at the beginning of the film itself. Arjun finds Kareena compatible because he finds her career oriented while he wishes to be an ‘artist’ at home who can run it pretty well. Kareena too nods because she finds dancing in the parties a waste of time, especially when she could have rather worked on some marketing ideas at her workplace.
So while she continues to explore some innovative ideas of upping the sales of ‘Saffola’ oil, hubby Arjun mingles with the ladies in the apartment, gives them fitness classes, impresses her mother in law (Swaroop Sampat) and uses trains for interior design of his rented-and-then-soon-bought apartment. All is pretty much well amidst ton loads of kisses and pecks, though you do know that something will blurt out sooner than later. Oh yes, there is a little bit of bickering in the first two years of marriage, what with Kareena taking time to let her office colleagues know that Arjun is not a writer but a house-husband.
While the entire first half goes into setting the stage, you do find the occasional outbursts a little out of place. Arjun blasting off Kareena at a restaurant in one of their fist dates and Rajat Kapoor (playing Arjun’s father) blowing his fuse within seconds of being introduced to Kareena seem way too rushed. However, an overall realistic manner in which the film’s narrative flows absorbs these blemishes. The maid sequence comes out of nowhere though and doesn’t add anything to the plot. However, it brings on a couple of smiles and you move on to see where does Balki head with this fantastic idea he had in mind.
As an ad-filmmaker though, he beats all previous records of in-film brand placement with Ki & Ka. I started counting to begin with and after about 20 odd brands flashed in front of my eyes, I frankly stopped and began to spend more time knowing about the life and times of Ki & Ka. This happens mainly in the second half of the film once Arjun becomes a celebrity in his own right. The film takes an unexpected twist and while you continue to love the performance of Arjun, you also get to see what Kareena can be capable of when given a meaty role. She justifies her presence as a senior actress and delivers well.
The drama continues once the Bachchan couple comes on the screen and while the two scenes that follow are lead by Jaya Bachchan, you do love Big B’s expressions that say it all. Meanwhile, a wonderful scene at the staircase of the hospital turns out to be a masterstroke as Kareena’s insecurities spill out deep and ugly, something that don’t escape reprimand from her mother (Sampat) either. The film climaxes in the airplane (where it started it all as well) and though one wishes it was a little better written (‘Mera Husband Kahin Kho Gaya Hai’ act is more unbelievable than cute), the good part is that the message is on.
This is a kind of film that could have easily turned preachy or highly melodramatic. Thankfully though, Balki doesn’t allow it all to swing away and while he keeps the first half light, the second half isn’t frivolous either as he brings home the points that do make sense for a larger segment of the audience. Of course, at place there is an overdose of the words ‘Ki’ and ‘Ka’ (hence coming across as a blatant attempt at trying to re-establish its relevance with the audience – especially at the hospital bed scene by Swaroop Sampat). However, what she says has a great meaning to it that sums it up all.
Ki & Ka is one film that has the potential to open up a few conversations, if not a debate, and in that aspect Balki succeeds in driving home the point.