A few minutes into ‘Katti Batti’, my jaw dropped. I collected it, with great difficulty, only after the film was over. Because the question—just what IS this?– which popped into my head almost with the first frame got into such a loop that it chased all other coherent thought away.
College kids Maddy aka Madhav Kabra (Imran Khan) and Payal (Kangana Ranaut) slide around each other, he smitten from the first moment he sees her, she busy being flighty and fancy-free, looking for ‘time-pass’ temporariness. He is square and sentimental. She is equipped with masses of curls and a curled lip, and a designer determined to re-write the manual of How To Dress A Quirky Bollywood Chick.
They spend the rest of the film engaged in the most inane of doings, and waste our time most comprehensively and completely. In 2015, we get a professional college ‘in Ahmedabad’ where the students are to be seen doing everything but being taught. The only lines they know how to draw is on each other, which would be fine if they did other stuff which made any sense. But no, what we get is a string of nonsenses.
He quaffs a bottle of pesticide when she disappears. Say again? Is that still a thing, when there are so many more modern, convenient ways of offing yourself? She tries to Make Him Hate Her, because she has a secret she can’t spill for fear of hurting him. Whaaa? Who are these people? Are they for real? Are we seriously expected to believe that these two are potential lovers, and what we are watching is a this- day-and-age rom com?
Can we get people who write dialogues where we do not hear the characters think in English when they are speaking in Hindi? Who says : “woh aagey badh chuki hai”, when you know they mean :” she’s moved on”? Why can’t the character just speak the line in English when we all speak in a Hindi-English-Hinglish mix? Can we get supporting acts that are not so laughable? Can we get, at the very least, a couple that genuinely sparks?
Imran Khan is pleasant and earnest, but saddled with the silliest of situations. He has been known to lift off the screen when he gets smart one-liners and something to play with, which has happened only in his debut ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ and, to an extent, in ‘Matru Ki Bijli’. Is this all he can get to prize him out of the professional slump he is in?
Kangana Ranaut has knocked it out of the park a couple of times while playing feisty, and is capable of mining real emotions even in the fakest of films. So it’s no surprise that the couple of bearable moments are hers, toplining a welcome sexually-unshackled spiritedness, and also when she, and the film, turns unexpectedly serious. But does the rest of it have to be so bubbly-‘thodi-si-paagal-ladki’ clichéd?
Tell me, just what IS this?
Cast: Imran Khan, Kangana Ranaut
Director: Nikhil Advani