KANK

Yesterday I watched this movie for the second time, and was moved by it all over again. I remember when it was released last year, it got a lot of criticism from the mass audience, and probably scared KJo right back into KKKG mode all over again (help!). I think it does a good job of explaining all the things that are going on in modern marriages today, whether people want to accept it or not.

I remember when I was a kid, there was one Kashmiri girl who lived in the house opposite us who was divorced. All of us kids and probably many of our moms used to be intensely curious about this strange creature - a 'divorce'. On Ran Navami, when all the girls in the neighbourhood were invited to go over for the puja and the puri-halwa, we used to keep staring at the poor girl, probably making her highly uncomfortable, because finding a divorce was such an unusual thing in a middle class neighbourhood.

Today, au contraire, divorces and broken marriages are becoming more and more common among the middle class. Most people would know at least one or two people who are divorced, and for many of the reasons that KJo's movie portrayed.

What was interesting about KANK was the way KJo stuck his neck out in the portrayals of the characters. The people who had an extramarital affair weren't the stylish career woman or the party-hopping PR man but the school teacher and the football coach. The career woman was probably amongst the most sympathetic portrayals of career women that I have ever seen in a Hindi film. Here was someone who was shown as being in touch with her son, considerate of her mother in law and in love with and faithful to her husband despite his constant ill-treatment of her. Unlike the usual vamp-career woman who loses sight of everything else but a promotion or a job. At one point, Preity Zinta even asks the million dollar question, "How come no one asks a man who is out working, why he doesn't have time to spend with his child? Why does everyone always ask the career woman that?"

The mother-in-law and father-in-law were interesting too. Here was an MIL who didn't approve of what her son did, chose to stay neutral and actually stayed back with the DIL, so she could look after her grandson. The FIL, far from flinging grandiose rhetoric about the 'maryada of the family' actually gave his DIL sane advise about leaving his son free to find love, and following her own heart. Both these characters weren't the white/ shawl wearing stereotypical patriarch and matriarch who had become fossils after their spouses died, but vibrant, fun people who still took an active interest in living and enjoying life to the full.

The marriages didn't break up because of ill-treatment, harassment or any of the usual reasons cited in Hindi movies. They broke up for a far more contemporary reason - the two people in the marriage had grown apart and had nothing to share. They loved their partners but weren't 'in love' with them - at least, not anymore. While it's scary for all of us married couples to admit that people can fall out of love or grow apart, it's the truth today. And a fact that each of us has to work at our marriage, at preserving the relationship that we have with our spouses rather than turn simply into 'mummy' and 'papa', easy as that is.

I did wish that Preity Zinta too found a partner by the end of the film, but I recognise that's the sappy romance freak in me. And it's kind of nice that the movie showed a woman who felt content being by herself, managing her job and her child without need for a masculine helping hand.

I just had a few cribs with the movie per se - like: the romance between Shah Rukh and Rani didn't come alive with the same passion they have managed to portray in many other movies - even a Chalte chalte or a Paheli. And I never understood why Rani kept calling Abhishek a 'baccha' and why he came and apologised for being one at the end of the movie. And wasn't Rani's wardrobe a bit too sexy for a school teacher/ vacuuming the floor? And why did she try to wear S&M clothing and seduce Abhishek ( though it made for a funny moment) - he wasn't the one with the sex drive problem, she was.

Comments

Nirupama Sriram said…
Reality Bites! Cool write up...
Poppins said…
Hey that's a nice writeup. Although I didn't like the movie because, well I never could figure WHY Rani left Abhishek, especically since she seemed rather reluctant right from the beginning. That and the fact that SRK really hammed and was awful to watch.
This review is giving me a different side to it all though. Came here via DMC
bird's eye view said…
Thanks Nippu.
Poppins - I agree about Rani - in fact she was ambivalent about getting married to him from the start because she knew she wasn't in love with him. And Abhi was so hot in the film, as compared to morose Shahrukh. Whatever presses your buttons, I guess.

I actually thought Shah rukh was less hammy in this than some of his other films ( k3G etc).

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