Let’s be brutally honest. There’s no business like showoff business. Kambakkht Ishq (KI) has plenty to show off about. Fabulous Hollywood locales, Hollywood icons like Sylvester Stallone and Brandon Routh pitching in sporting cameos in spot-on scenes written in a completely endearing ‘con’ text . And above all KI has cracking hissing snarling and smoldering chemistry between the film’s luscious lead pair.
Is there a more glamorous couple than Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor in filmdom today? Nah! Forget it. Not possible .Even when they’re ready to bite off each others’ heads, call each other canines, and scream like a double-banshee delight at a horror festival, there is just no way the compatibility of the combo can be encored, even by them.
Indeed if the supreme silliness of the plot in KI works it’s because of Akshay and Kareena’s glorious goofiness. The lead pair, never in better form shape size and looks, gets into the grandly caricaturish groove fearlessly effortlessly and convincingly, creating the kind of blitzkrieg of belligerence that was last witnessed when Harry met Sally. And they heaved happy ever after.
For Akshay and Kareena it’s hate at first sight. They pass sexist remarks about the opposite sex loud enough for the other to hear. They bitch and carp about the vices of being of the opposite sex in a world polluted by bigotry and gender bias. Goodness, these two despicable creatures deserve each other!
KI is the kind of gender-bender that never embraces the tender. The battle of the sexes is loud and aggressive, designed to create a cacophony of conflicts that leave us reeling in stupefied embarrassment.
Sure, we’ve seen other films about a goofy man and stuck-up woman who can’t stand each other. But none so engrossed their own self-serving hemispheres
Seemingly rudderless, often risquÃ© and coolly risky in it audacity KI is a film that doesn’t endear itself with its plotting. It’s all about the money, Honeyji. It’s all about the styling often at the cost of what most moviegoers think of as substance.
But there is no real ‘substance-abuse’ in KI, trust me on that. The wispy slim storyline matches the female cast’s waistline while the gasbag gags are as top heavy and cheesy as the goofy grin that Akshay wears like a second skin. The veneer of vicious vivacity seldom falls off, though admittedly some episodes wear us out with their svelte stiletto-in-the-art jibes at that old and baffling thing called the man-woman relationship.
The film is a no-holds-barred gender war, tangy spicy and supremely smug in its silliness. And as Akshay’s character comes to a realization that there’s more to love than scoring and scr..ing (he played a far less aggressive though much more toxic cad going down the same caddish Casanova’s road in Heyy Baby) we the audience come to the realization that films about cads with claws who get entrapped in a love clause (remember Ranbir recently in Bachna Ae Haseenon) have their utility when you’re looking for an evening of farce and fun with no strings attached (to the bikini binge that eventuates, that is).
The farce fest miraculously manages to sustain the mood of zany fun most of the way. Some episodes like Boman Irani’s cameo appearance as a shrink whose couch gets into an ouch mode, are flatter than Kareena and Amrita Arora’s tummies.
But as far as eye-catching locales and protagonists go, KI goes a long way. The Akshay-Kareena pair just makes you stare. And if you are into clothes shoes and accessories you could spend an evening with KI just checking out what Kareena wears, and how well she carries it off.
Akshay Kumar’s comic timing has now been honed to a fine art. He invests his completely caddish character’s personality with a frank and fearless arrogance that borders on megalomania but finally settles on being plainly outrageous. Kareena matches him step by step, Jimmy Choos and all. Just because she looks like a million bucks doesn’t mean her performance is cosmetic too. Kareena satirical expressions as a man-hater are to die for.
Debutant director Sabir Khan knows how to being out the ‘beast’ in his characters. He milks the outrageous situations for all their mirth and then moves on heaving and panting, to the next level of buffoonery. Somewhere in this jokey jugglery binge of gender wars and slender storytelling Sylvester Stallone pops up for two of the film’s most arresting sequences.
But ‘Superman’ Brandon Routh is utterly wasted. May the ‘farce’ be with him.
Where else but in Bollywood would Routh come across such a farcical feast designed in a slick-flick format where the completely obnoxious hero is operated on by a super-model who moonlights as a surgeon and leaves a watch in the hero’s stomach?
The watch chimes a Hindu mantra into Akshay Kumar’s ears ad nauseum.
He’s of course maddeningly annoyed. We’re by then beyond that point.
Applaud this film for its audacity vivacity and energy. And please don’t look for a reason behind the comic chaos. Some things are not meant to mean anything beyond what they seem. This film is a marvel of packaging.