Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Imran Khan
Director: Nikhil Advani
Rating: 2 stars
“Just hold the little soldier and aim” --- this line said by Kangana Ranaut to Imran Khan may have led to a few chuckles while watching the trailers of Katti Batti, but in the film the scene doesn’t even come close to being cheeky or witty or whatever its purpose was. And that could well apply to the film on the whole --- you don’t know its purpose and what’s much worse is that the film tries too hard to convince you that it has one.
Katti Batti directed and co-written by Nikhil Advani follows close on the heels of Hero, the other film he made that released last week. But while that film had some solid Salman Khan power, albeit behind the scenes, Katti Batti has to make do with Imran Khan, an actor reeling from the string of flops. Even though he puts his all in this film, in an author-backed role, and delivers a very earnest performance, it’s not enough to save a limping storyline and very poor characterisation.
If trailers are meant to convince the audience to buy a ticket to watch the film on a Friday, then full marks to the makers of Katti Batti, who ensured the trailers made it seem like the film is a breezy rom-com, with a hint of tragedy. It takes only 15 minutes into the film to burst that bubble. The tag line reads: It’s not a love story. Forget love, we were left looking for the story in its two-and-a-half hour run time.
Shot in a non-linear format, the story of Maddy and Payal is like a roller coaster ride with more lows than highs. Kickstarting the film is Kangana taking a video of Imran as they are cosying up at home where they live together. She playfully calls it an MMS. And then boom, a quick cut to a frothing-in-the-mouth Imran on a stretcher inside a hospital. Director Nikhil Advani clearly intends to juxtapose the sad reality of these lovebirds with their college romance past. But in doing so, he leaves us completely confused about the timeline. After a point we see no difference between the past and present and the easily predictable future, except that the characters become more obsessive and psychotic with every passing scene. The first half has very few chuckle worthy moments as you are easing into the story. And after some highs and lows, a broken hearted Imran sets off to win back his lady love after breaking up with her in a fit of rage, when the film pauses for interval.
Kangana doesn’t enjoy as much screen time as Imran, but she does impress and emerge as a clear winner. Her role is a complex one, the kinds that the actress has now become synonymous with. Payal may even remind you of Tanu at times. As far as performances are concerned, the lead pair does a good job. Imran’s easy boy-next-door charm pitted against a firebrand Kangana. It’s the story telling and the writing that is a major let down. It’s clear that things were done in a rush, the second half is a reservoir of loose ends. Some details are just obnoxious. Like for instance Imran’s office where he has a dramatic boss who calls him and his college bestie turned colleague his "Ram and Lakhan" Jodi, which appears to give them the occasional licence to run around in office during work hours and often end up in kicks and blows. Maddy's life is flooded with overtly dramatic friends who come to his rescue whenever he's in a spot. Set in present times, this representation is hard to digest. As the film progresses, Imran's character seems more and more obsessive, compulsive, someone who almost fanatically believes in love and marriage at first sight. Even though Maddy is made to look geeky, with his glasses and an overall boring appearance, he is never seen studying or even carrying books. Payal, on the contrary is a rich, spoilt free spirited girl, bitten by the travel bug.
The music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy is without doubt catchy and the songs have already made their way to the party anthems of the year. For those waiting for the 'Lip to lip' song, rejoice as it comes in the first ten minutes of the film.
Over all Katti Batti does have a few surprises and not all of them are pleasant. The production values are very high, the film is well stylised and a very good looking product on the whole. If you like a string of beautiful visuals with good looking people and don’t care much for a story, then you could try Katti Batti. But don’t say you weren’t warned.