STORY: Kia (Kareena) is an ambitious career woman in New Delhi who doesn’t want marriage to come in the way of her dream. Kabir (Arjun) prefers to stay away from the stress of a working professional. The foundation stone of their relationship is laid on this arrangement.
REVIEW: In the Hollywood comedy The Intern, Anne Hathaway heads her own ecommerce fashion company, while her husband Anders Holm is content with being a stay-at-home father. Similarly, in Balki’s Ki and Ka; the role of the woman and the man are refreshingly reversed. Right at the start, you’re told through a convoluted monologue that Kia doesn’t want to be a man’s `support system.’ So when she meets the sentimental Kabir, who doesn’t aspire to be like his billionaire-builder father, instead wants to be like his homemaker-mother, you’re ready for the sparks. Kia downs expensive scotch with Kabir who is three years her junior. Soon, he proposes marriage and even agrees to wear the mangalsutra!
Her mother (Swaroop Sampat) is in tandem with their thought process, his father (Rajit Kapur) is aghast. He wants his son to do a “chaddi check” to find out if he is `alright.’ After all, which man wants to stay home and live-off his wife, the boorish dad asks. But Ki and Ka are blissful. Post marriage, they’re happy canoodling. He cleans, cooks and cares for her; she earns, yearns and yells at him.
Over time, the role reversal puts the spotlight on Kabir. Though many continue to view him as an aberration, few also want to emulate him. Kabir becomes fodder for gossip, the hero for commercials and women’s-day seminars. He even finds admirers in the Abhimaan couple Jaya and Amitabh, who show up in a cute cameo!
Kareena is terrific, Arjun, endearing. But Balki’s writing is inconsistent. A few scenes leave you misty-eyed, but for the most part, the stock situations are banal. Yet, Ki and Ka is worth a ticket because it tells shows how there is nothing wrong with the man wearing the apron and the women wearing her ambition.
The problem is the film’s unwillingness to go the mile and really explore what that ‘nikamma’ could do to the male ego. Ka, poor fellow, is a victim of confusion. He may say he wants to be like his mummy. He may adorn his wrist with a ‘mangalsutra’, hoho, but has no problem in using his legs to kick louts. He is shown hosting kitty parties and urging fat aunties into shape: huge stereotypes, dear director and writer, connecting all your jolly housewives and ‘kitties’, and stay-at-home ladies and bulges; tsk.
When Ka is not doing all of the above, he is busy wheeling his trike (yes, trike) up and down certain heavy-traffic bearing Delhi roads – these are roads, any Dilliwala will tell you, where only trucks and buses and cars carrying passengers will traverse. Couldn’t they find a residential colony? Ki is better drawn. The director is an ad man, so Kareena’s character is spot on. She plays it familiar but is svelte and lively enough. The office is just so, but I could not shake off the feeling that the Ka-Ki home was basically an overdressed set. Plus, Arjun and Kareena give off precious little steam, despite all the canoodling on display. That takes some off the edge of the couple. Or is all that sibling-like matter-of-factness a thing these days? And then there is the incessant chatter about men and women, and this is what ‘they’ do, and this is what ‘they’ must not do. All too message-y. Good to see the premise– send a woman out, keep a man in, and reverse gender expectations- on screen: it just needed to have been sharper and deeper.
Kia(Kareena) is attending a friend’s wedding. However she is not enjoying and dancing at the wedding like most of her friends because she is not happy to be a part of the scenario. Her whole logic is that once married a woman loses her identity.
When she meets Kabir on a plane from Chandigarh to Delhi, she warms up to him. Kabir is weeping because it is his late mother’s birthday and he is missing her badly. In the course of her conversation with Kabir(Arjun), Kia discovers he is a nice sentimental guy whose father is a multi-billionaire builder called Kumar Bansal.
Yet Kabir is not keen to inherit his father’s wealth. Or to even be a working professional. Instead he wants to be a home-maker like his mother. Kia and Kabir are opposites and they are attracted to one another. Both share a birthday April 15 and they discover Kabir is three years younger than her. But that doesn’t come in the way of them wishing to get hitched. After marriage she works at her job as a marketing professional scaling heights. He keeps the home in perfect condition, cooking for his wife and mother-in-law. The outside world doesn’t understand their unusual reltionship but Ki and Ka as they call themselves love each other and are blissed out.
At first everyone is envious of Kia because of her continuous success. But after a while the focus shifts to Kabir. The outside world realises that he is actually’s Kia’s asset. By being the man behind her, he has paved a way for her super-duper success. Slowly the world also wakes up to Kabir’s strengths and his charm. They realise that when a man chooses to sacrifice his own independence and work at being a house-husband, he is actually doing a commendable thing. Kabir becomes the local hero. All the neighbours want a piece of him. They envy Kia for getting such an understanding and hands-on man.
But Kia herelf starts becoming unreasonable. On one occasion, she thinks she is pregnant and blames Kabir for being careless. When she realises her mistake, she apologises. Then she bags a scholarship programme to New York. But Kabir refuses to accompany her because he doesn’t want to just hang around while she is studying. When she is away her mother gets hospitalised. Kabir is away in Mumbai at that point.
Having spotted him on a woman’s-day seminar; Jaya Bachchan expresses a desire to meet him. So Kabir flies to Mumbai to meet Amitabh and Jaya.
When he flies back Kia has arrived from New York. She is angry with him for not being around her mother. Again she accuses him of being careless and even accuses him of living off her. She is jealous of his newfound celebrity status where people want him for magazines, ads and as a speaker at seminars. Kabir is hurt and packs his bags.
However Kia’s mother drills sense into her head. She tells her that Kabir is a gem and Kia should never let go off him. So Kia chases Kabir and brings him back home.
This time around even Kabir’s father Kumar joins Kia and her mother.
Kabir’s dad suggests that Kia would be the perfect CEO for his company.
The film highlights that it is not gender equality that we are often fighting. It highlights how people who are the bread winners of the family often treat the ones at home(the home-makers)rather shabbily.
Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor’s romcom ‘Ki & Ka’ recorded a decent opening at the box office on the first day by earning approximately Rs 7.25 crore.
The R Balki film that released on April Fools’ Day has performed better than the already running ‘Kapoor And Sons’.
|Rs 7.25 crore approx.