Aamir Khan in “PK.”

Bollywood blockbuster PK has reportedly earned Rs. 600 crores and still going strong. Unfortunately, the movie does not work for me despite the efforts of Rajkumar Hirani and the great Aamir Khan, who have delivered blockbusters and laugh riots such as Munnabhai MBBS and 3 Idiots in the past that I, and most others I am sure, have thoroughly enjoyed. As is his manner, Hirani tries to mix up the serious with the comic. In my opinion, both attempts fail, writes Siddharth Srivastava.

The initial portions of PK I liked. To begin with, there are sequences where Anushka Sharma cycles in a short skirt along a river in the spic-and-span Europe in summer, which can only be pleasing to the eye. As I realized, this was actually going to be one of my high points of the movie.

Perhaps the cycling scene could have been much longer. I say this in hindsight, obviously. I also liked the track “Char Kadam,” though I am not so sure Virat Kohli did, given the chemistry between Sushant Singh Rajput and Anushka, which actually does not matter as long as the present and future Indian cricket captain continues to hit centuries.

I liked the Aamir-Sanjay Dutt Rajasthani number. That was peppy and groovy. These are opening portions of the movie. The closely guarded mystery of an almost naked Aamir in the promos with just an outdated music cassette player for cover, is also solved quickly. As Aamir is an alien, that everybody knows by now, he disembarks from a huge spaceship that could have passed off as a computer generated Titanic as well. The ship, incidentally, operates via a remote that I think looks a bit like the pendant that late Lady Diana wore during her wedding or some such occasion.

Makes one also wonder why an army of ISRO scientists are needed to manage one satellite launch. Of course, we are talking about Bollywood here, so the discerning viewers have over the years learnt to ignore such nuances. Sadly, just as I was feeling comfortable and beginning to forget about the Rs. 2,000 I spent on multiplex tickets, popcorn, coffee, cola, parking and fuel, the movie progressively deteriorated. Was there a need for Aamir to be an extraterrestrial in the first place? He looked human in every way, with or without clothes and seemingly endowed with very low IQ.

Given that Aamir’s character is on an important mission to earth, one would expect him to be among the bright ones, maybe cleared the alien world equivalent of an IIT exam. PK could well have been an innocent 8-year-old kid getting to know the world and its ways.

It would have been believable and cute. Knowing Aamir he would have pulled that off too with élan, like he did as the adult “PK.” Unfortunately, even Aamir can do so much to a script that falls woefully short. The comedy barely works.

Right wing activists protesting against Aamir Khan-starrer “PK,” burn the film's posters outside a movie theater in New Delhi. (Shahbaz Khan | PTI)

Right wing activists protesting against Aamir Khan-starrer “PK,” burn the film’s posters outside a movie theater in New Delhi. (Shahbaz Khan | PTI)

Poking fun at insolent and rustic Delhi policemen has been done a million times before. So has Boman Irani appeared in a formal jacket, track pant or shorts combo. The “dancing cars” in the village scenario is anachronistic. Such making out happens in cities. Unless I have missed something, fields and rooftops are locations of most action in villages.

Remember, expectations from a Hirani movie are high unlike say a Salman Khan film where the humor is bound to be non-cerebral and one accordingly makes the mental adjustments.

Getting on to the serious parts: ignoring other aspects, the fundamental problem with PK is that the sensitive and profound matters of religion and faith are overplayed, simplistic, clichéd, repetitive and just too preachy, bordering on a shoddy documentary produced by Doordarshan past and present, irrespective of existence of competing TV channels.

Only imbeciles can take offence to the events portrayed in the movie, and surely the infamous right wing goons in our country, always on the lookout for some violence-backed cheap publicity, have done so.

Matters of faith, as we know, are not so simple. They can make people kill as happened in Paris recently; at the same time they can be the calming influence that keeps individuals and communities sane and bonded.

One needs to delve further to understand the nuances. Sadly, Anushka returns from Europe to become a TV journalist and essays her role mostly in faded jeans. I would have been in a much better frame of mind if Hirani managed to make her character go back to Europe and cycle in shorts again.

Still, PK has reportedly made more than Rs. 600 crores. That is no doubt mind-boggling, a record unmatched, which goes to prove what might sell due to powerful branding, marketing, sheer expectations and simultaneous release in multiplexes across the world may just be very average content. That’s the way I see it.