Movie Review: Karthik Calling Karthik

Film: Karthik Calling Karthik

Genre: Romance, thriller

Director: Vijay Lalwani

Cast: Farhaan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Shefali Shah, Ram Kapoor

Rating: 5/10 – A good premise handled badly

I don’t blame Vijay Lalwani for the way he made this film. It’s not really his fault. It’s just that Bollywood doesn’t have the culture of making films based on good scripts. When you are trying to make a romantic thriller (which is a bad combination in the first place), what you need most of all is a polished, tight script without any loopholes. And that is the biggest problem with this movie. But then, that’s the biggest problem with most of the Bollywood movies. The film is hatke, no doubt, considering the kind of films that are released in Bollywood every week. But an experimental concept needs to be treated well. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with KCK.

The story is about Karthik, a shy, reserved, scared guy whose life is in a mess, mostly because of himself. His boss (played by Ram Kapoor) abuses him for mistakes he never committed, his colleagues dump their work on him because doesn’t have the courage to say no, his lanlord takes him for a ride and threatens him for money and the object of his worship, Shonali Mukherjee (Deepika), knows that he existed in their office for four years only when he gets a public tongue lashing by his boss.

So used and abused by everyone, one day he snaps and decides to commit suicide. But just as he was about to pop in all the sleeping pills in his bottle, he gets a call. And that’s when everything changes. Apparantly the call is from Karthik only, in his own voice! And thus starts the reincarnation of Karthik. Guided by his caller friend, he transforms from being a wussy to a real man, in every way. A classic turnaround story, and we all love the underdog winning. The film was enjoyable till then.

Karthik with his Japanese (or Chinese?) phone. A villain phone??

But then Lalwani was reminded that this was not after all a romantic comedy but a thriller and so decided to convert the film into a thriller, and failed miserably. After this point the movie drags and keeps on dragging. Karthik discloses the secret about the caller with Shonali and all hell breaks loose.

What didn’t work

One, the character of Karthik is inconsistent. Actually there are two Karthiks: one who is crazy and reserved and shy and the other who has become the “dude” and there is no smooth or reasonable transition from one to the other. A person who has made himself smart enough to crack the best of jokes, won’t be crazy enough to tell his girlfriend that he gets a call from himself and expect her to believe him.

Two, the plot has loopholes. Since I don’t want to give out spoilers here, can’t explain this point in detail. But, trust me, at the end of the movie, you will ask yourself, so this is what it was all about?? And feel cheated. The climax sucks the most. It doesn’t surprise one at all.   It’s like too much of foreplay and no real sex in the end.

Three, the second half of the movie drags on unnecessarily. There is not enough meat in it to make it last for almost two and half hours, which it does. What could have been a classic psychotic thriller, on the lines of Fight Club (the Hollywood one), became a hotchpotch of comedy, romance and suspense, not making much of a sense in the end.

What worked

Very good acting by the lead cast. This is Farhaan’s third outing in a lead role, and it is his best. The movie seems to be tailor-made for him. But Farhaan’s acting skills can’t replace the need for a taut script. Deepika looks convincing and as gorgeous as ever. Ram Kapoor, and Shefali shah also do justice to their roles.

Cheer up Deepika! It's not your fault.

Very good dialogue. Dbutant Vijay Lalwani may not have written a good script but has done well with his dialogues. The way Karthik speaks when gets back at all those who did wrong to him is awesome. Some of the best moments in the film are the witty one liners Karthik cracks to patao Shonali.

Good cinematography and good music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy. Awesome music in uff teri ada song. But songs in the second half are unnecessary.


KCK is not a bad film. But it’s not good either. Pity, because it could have been great. For me script is king in a movie, and so, in spite of a lot of plus points this movie fails for me. Watch it this weekend only if your choice is limited to this and Teen Patti. Teen Patti is worse, I am told. And if your choice isn’t restricted to Bollywood, go ahead and watch Invictus or It’s Complicated.

Coming up next:

A review of It’s Complicated, an adult romantic comedy (from the writer/director of hit movies like Something’s Gotta Give, What Women Want and The Holiday) starring three veteran Hollywood actors, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.


4 Comments to “Movie Review: Karthik Calling Karthik”

  1. I think I liked this one a bit better than you did, probably the Farhan Factor, but I think it would have been so much more riviting, if sadder, if the director didn’t feel the need to have that last tacked on scene. Would have left it more amorphous and mysterious…sort of like Aparna Sen’s ending for 15 Park Avenue, which I liked, though the ending is, I know, not universally well received in that one either.

    PS. Speaking of endings, and I know I’m in controversial territory here :-)…I like the ending of Dil Se just the way it is… so there… Mani Sir, don’t every think of re-editing it!

    • Jenny,

      I know how the “Farhaan Factor” works on females 🙂 For me though, no other factor works apart from story, characters and script. And I found this film wanting in all the three departments. Can’t comment on how “amorphous and mysterious” (another interesting phrase) 15 Park Avenue was, because, sadly, I haven’t seen it. Though I agree with you on Dil Se.

      You write well Jenny! Would have checked out your blog, but sadly, the endian firewall in my system doesn’t agree with me and has blocked you out.

      And thanks again for the comments.

  2. That’s odd that my page was blocked out…usually there is no problem with another wordpress page. Sorry you can’t see it, I would have liked your opinion. Oh, well…

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