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Upperstall Review


Kambakkth Ishq


Hindi, Action, Comedy, Drama, 2009, Color

Viraj (Akshay Kumar) is a stuntman in Hollywood, who lives by the mantra 'women are only good for two things'. Simrita (Kareena Kapoor) is a firebrand who is more than able to stare down the most arrogant male with her caustic wit and sardonic tongue. So what happens when the two people who hate each other the most meet at Simrita's best friend Kamini's (Amrita Arora) and Viraj's brother Lucky's (Aftab Shivdasani) wedding? A wedding that both Viraj and Simrita are violently opposed to and desperate to stop. Sparks fly... the battle of the sexes in on!

Crude, crass, woeful, stupid, loud, unbearable, unfunny and inept are some of the thoughts that come to your mind when you're watching Kambakkth Ishq (KI). Honestly, what a waste of so much money and star power! There is practically nothing worth remembering is this widely tom-tommed battle of the sexes whatsoever, which just leaves you with a rotten taste in the mouth as you come out fo the theatre regretting having thrown your hard-earned money away.

The plot as in most rom-coms is wafer thin. Boy and girl meet - they clash - they detest each other - they try to be one up on each other - boy realizes he loves girl - girl ticks him off - boy about to get married elsewhere - girl comes running there pleading forgiveness - other woman graciously lets boy go - All's well that ends well! Thus, every rom-com depends heavily on treatment and here is where KI falls totally flat. Yes, it's normally great watching the sexes battle it out but a lot of it also depends on the characterisation of the man and woman. The biggest problem with KI is that it makes neither character likeable - he's an obnoxious bastard and she a haughty bitch. So why should one really care about what they go through? As far as you're concerned, they deserve the shit they get. And that kind of mindset in an otherwise predictable and stale storyline doesn't help the film's cause one bit.

The makers claim they bought the rights of the Kamal Haasan film Pammal K Sambandam (2002) for safety's sake as they noticed some similarities to their tale even though KI is actually an original idea. Watching the film with me were a couple of knowledgeable Tamil film buffs who had seen the original and they informed me that KI was actually a total rip-off of the Tamil film right down to the heroine, who being a surgeon, leaves her watch inside the hero while operating him and him being unable to understand where he hears music from! Ah, our original filmmakers making 'hatke original' films, I tell you!

Though money has been spent like water, having two saleable stars alone does not a film make. A proposal, yes, and KI is nothing more than a business proposal with a good script the least of anyone's worries. One is not even going into logical loopholes for let's be honest, films like this actually should not get bogged down by logic however, they should be entertaining at least. But sometimes 'films' like these make you wonder if you should waste time reviewing them at all. Huge marketing blitzes, creation of enough hype and hysteria, release of a record number of prints the world over, all help the film sail through with much of its recovery in the opening weekend itself. And then a film like this gets declared a hit! Sad but true, this is more than likely to happen with KI. Star power would win out again and yes, we're going to see many more such films, sorry 'proposals' in the coming months. Not a very happy scenario.

Just about the kindest thing you can say about the film, where but an odd rare gag works, is that finally on the Indian screen, one sees liplocks between the hero and heroine done relatively naturally and without any self-consciousness whatsoever. But the film draws the line at that. When the obnoxious bastard actually has a chance to sleep with the stuck-up bitch who's sozzled and throws herself at him and is willing to do anything, she finds out later that in true Hindustani tradition he did not violate her that night. Hindi cinema virginity zindabad! And that of course is enough for our heroine to fall in love with the lout. In true sexist manner, the filmmakers ensure he falls for her first so that she's the bad woman when she ticks him off and hurts him and of course it is she who has to be tamed by the end of the film and plead and beg at the boy's wedding. Way to go Indian woman of today, I say!

Akshay tries to breathe life into the film and does create some genuinely funny moments but he's unable to rise above the shitty script. Furthermore, he seems to be trying too hard and there is an effort in his generally OTT performance as he looks much too old playing these sort of overgrown boy roles now. Kareena looks great, carries off her fashionable wardrobe with style, flaunts her zero size body with confidence but forgets that she has to act as well in the process. She is simply awful with no sense of comic timing whatsoever. It is a shrill performance that should give her nightmares should she realistically look at herself in the mirror. Aftab Shivdasani is non-happening while Amrita Arora is unbelievably awful. Kirron Kher has to stop doing these loud Punjabi aunties now as it's beginning to get on one's nerves. None of the Hollywood star cameos add anything to the film with Denise Richards (upperlip not done) particularly embarrassing.

In films like this, cinematography is largely functional just to record the events unfolding on screen. Still, Vikas Sivaraman strives to give the film a polish, frankly, it did not deserve. Musically too, the film is nothing to write home about with the film resorting to the worst tried and tested formula of Punjabi beats to create a 'hit' number. The less said about the Bebo song the better. Other technicalities are so-so.

All in all, totally avoidable.

Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan

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