Film Review: 'Katti Batti'
Opened: 18 September 2015
Cast: Imran Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Vivan Bhatena, Bugs Bhargava, Manasvi Mamgai
Director: Nikhil Advani
Producers: Siddharth Roy Kapur, Nikhil Advani
Apparently, Aamir Khan bawled his eyes out while watching this week’s big release, nephew Imran Khan’s Katti Batti, which sees him chancing a comeback with the Queen of WTF statements Kangana Ranaut. Rumour has it that the doting uncle that he is, Khan Senior was deeply moved by the romcom as it resembled segments of his own life, but I suspect it was more because he was in mourning after the sorry state nephew Khan’s career will be in after this infuriating slog of a film that can’t quite decide what it wants to be – a light hearted comedy or a tragic romance.
I for the life of me, cant fathom why producers continue to invest in Advani as a director, who despite being supplied with all the goods continues to botch up film after film. Katti Batti, his second attempt at a love story in a fortnight, is as insufferable and frustrating, in fact perhaps a little more so, than last week’s trite remake, which could at least be allowed some leeway due to the fact that it featured newcomers. This film, however, deserves nowhere near as much leniency, purely because of its cast and content which despite being clichéd, at least had some potential even if it wasn't exactly groundbreaking.
Told predominantly in a series of flashbacks, Katti Batti charts desperately seeking Maddy’s (Khan, earnest but woefully misdirected) romance with nomadic and unorthodox Payal (Ranaut, mysteriously absent for huge chunks of the film), their subsequent live-in relationship, and ultimately the breakdown of the same, post which Payal simply ghosts out of Maddy’s life – a trauma which renders him suicidal and turns him into a bit of a stalker.
It’s when he unwittingly stumbles on the truth, is when the film abruptly changes gear into glycerine induced, superficial melodrama, but by this point it’s much too late for us to give a toss about this torturous romance, one that's so amateurish, that despite the film’s unending 140 minute runtime, we never really invest in or empathise with in the first place.
Again, the blame for that lies solely with Advani who fails to add any newness or dimension to the already clunky dialogue and poorly etched characters, and endlessly stretches a screenplay that never really goes anywhere for two thirds of the film, and then out of nowhere, abruptly accelerates into a sob fest, that unintentionally bores the life out of you.
Despite its very poor foundation, Khan at least tries his darnedest to redeem the film by showing a few sparks in the film's quieter moments, but Ranaut doesn’t even bother with that, while she flits around the film with different hair-dos, and renders a performance that reminds us of her pre-Queen days. You know those films where she used to be all smug, squeaky and appeared completely disinterested? That’s the territory we’re back to here. To her credit though, she does add some depth to her character in the climax, but like I said already, its all too little too late.
For some reason, I was excited when the promos of Katti Batti first aired. There seemed to be a hint of chemistry between Khan-Ranaut which felt like it would see the film through and it had a serviceable soundtrack and reasonable production values as its trump cards to make the cut. And despite that, Advani yet again dishes out a soulless and hollow yarn in which the protagonists’ pet turtle probably moves quicker than the pace of the film. Don't say I didn't warn you.
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