|Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla, Om Puri, Vishal Malhotra|
|Kumar S Taurani, Ramesh S Taurani|
I had been waiting for this genre to come into our films—and now it has, through Kismat Konnection. Unfortunately, the film, which has a superb, breezy first half, goes downhill from there on.
What in the world is wrong with these filmmakers? They’re capable, clearly, of making a superior and unusual film, but they fall into the clichéd mode eventually. My point with Jaane Tu was the same—lack of reality and taking the safe, tried and tested route.
As for the story, Canada-based Raj Malhotra (Shahid Kapoor) was an exceptional architecture student, such that his classmates had his face put on the cover of a faux Time magazine certain that this would indeed happen within a few years. Burdened with these expectations, Raj hunts for work with friend and partner Hiten (the usual hero’s sidekick stereotype who is less good-looking and less bright) played by Vishal Malhotra. The two try hard, but don’t get a break.
Raj realises his bad luck is unrelenting. So luckless is he that water runs out when he’s taking a shower (and he uses the water bottle from the fridge), his card wont’ be accepted at the ATM when he needs it the most, the lift won’t work when he’s late for a meeting.
There are some really endearing scenes like the one where the two buffoons are going to meet an important person for work and Raj tells his partner Hiten: “act cool. Only we know we are broke.” In a rather touching moment, Raj compares himself to his less capable college-mates who are doing far better than him. He needs “just one chance” but has now given up his fight against his kismat. This is where the fun begins (and ends pretty quickly, too).
He sees an advertisement of one Haseena Bano, only to find out that she’s an eccentric, gypsy fortune-teller (Juhi Chawla, dependably chirpy). She tells him that a lucky charm will come his way that can help resurrect his kismat. A few chance meetings later, he realises that this charm is a person, a girl Priya (Vidya Balan) he keeps meeting under the unlikeliest circumstances. He is determined to change the first few not-so-pleasant meetings to more agreeable ones and asks her out for coffee the next time her car hits him.
Priya helps out at a community centre for aged people (Lage Raho Munnabhai, remember?) and requests Raj to help in her fight against a new mall coming up. Coincidence—this is the project that Raj was pitching for.
The romance between Shahid and Vidya is wonderful to watch, especially their flirtations when she teasingly says she wants a 6-foot tall guy or when she accidentally catches him looking at her. But that’s where the party ends. Barring these moments, the second half is a disappointment. Clichés abound leading to a finale full of emotional melodrama and a preachy monologue that leaves you feeling zilch.
Vidya, an excellent actress, gives yet another endearing performance, but is made to look downright drab. The haircut is unflattering, the make-up too plain, the clothes usually in off-white or brown. Plus the character is repetitive and reminds us of the one she played in Lage Raho Munnabhai. Plus she has no career or job, how is she sustaining herself?
Shahid does his full-of-beans act yet again and his character is reminiscent of the simple yet ambitious Raj Mathur in Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. He’s particularly good in the comic scenes. Vishal does the hero’s friend bit exactly like in Jannat. Om Puri with his walrus moustache is over-the-top at times.
The cameos are all interesting—Amit Varma does well as Priya’s over-ambitious fiancé, which has shades of Aditya Panscholi’s character in Yes Boss. Himani Shivpuri is a delight as the tycoon Gill’s wife Manpreet, who commands him to lower his voice. Karnvir Bohra mainly glowers as Raj’s professional rival.
Binod Pradhan’s cinematography is superb and I loved director Mirza’s random shot taking of Canada’s stunning buildings, showing off some brilliant architecture. Songs by Pritam are just about ok, with the usual mix of romantic numbers and noisy, danceable tracks. And there are too many of them, the songs.
Had the film sustained its light heartedness through the second half, it would have been an easy watch. This is Mirza’s first film in five years, but he’s still hung-over on his past films and its memorable characters. Having enjoyed them all in the past, one wishes Mirza took up a fresh palette on which to work his future story and characters.
Recommended only if—for a few laughs, some sentimental scenes and the chemistry between the lead actors—you don’t mind the formula taking over the quirky premise.
Rating: Two-and-a-half stars