Katti Batti Movie Review
Cast: Imran Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Vivan Bhatena
Director: Nikhil Advani
If media reports are to be believed then the makers of Katti Batti wanted to go with the title of ‘Saali Kutiya’ initially, and now I wonder why, because the film fails to instigate any emotion, leave aside loathing for its female protagonist. On hindsight, it was a good decision to stick to Katti Batti because this rudderless drama has at least one interesting thing: its title.
Anyway, let’s get to the basic premise of Katti Batti.
So, we are still living in an age where 32-year-old Imran Khan can pass off as a college student Madhav ‘Maddy’ Kabra. This Mumbai lad is in Ahmedabad to study architecture and for that all he needs to do is to carry a paper holster. After all, the film is about his never-lasting affair with Delhi girl Payal (Kangana Ranaut), so what’s the point in emphasising uselessly on the milieu? It’s ok if most of his mates are busy preparing for inter-college drama competition where they’ll perform Devdas because that’s the greatest love-story ever written. Logic behind it? There is more than one film based on Sarat Chandra’s book unlike DDLJ which is just one film.
Kangana Ranaut in a still from Katti Batti.
Somehow Maddy and Payal get into a live-in relationship, but one day the girl leaves him, forever, and the guy is shattered. But, he is not scarred for life because somewhere deep down in his heart he knows that Payal can’t be so heartless. And this realisation brings him back to life, but what if Payal is actually merciless? What if she was just toying with the idea of love? What if she was never in love with Maddy?
We’re told in the beginning that Maddy is battling post-split depression in a really bad way. His life is a mess, his friends are sympathetic but juvenile and his boss is nothing short of a caricature. After a few really bad gay jokes and suggestive scenes, we meet Ricky (Vivan Bhatena) who has a history with Madhav. This rich Delhi brat describes Payal as a ‘man-eater’ and then goes on to woo her for marriage. However, he is not the only confused character in the film. Madhav’s parents couldn’t guess his friends’ bluff when they organise a drama scene to hide his inebriated state. Imran Khan keeps coming in and out of his drunken condition as per his convenience. He delivers a dialogue in a firm voice and then goes back to his previous self. Ironically, a secondary character describes it as method acting. bestfriend so graphic? (At one point, he hooks up Maddy with a big bosomed girl at their workplace saying – Mita le apni desperation – by making an obvious physical gesture hinting at her assets. Ofcourse, hot women who crush on their colleagues are loose and hence easy rebounds preys) Why is Maddy’s sister so shrill? (She screams all through the film in her annoying bossy voice, which makes her the least likeable character in the film). When the story moves to Delhi, Maddy befriends a bogus musician-cum-lovegyaan group called FOSLA (which has the legend-wait-for-it-dary acronym Frustrated One-sided Lovers Association). They inspire Maddy to wage the Ishq-wala jung which lands in jail and causes his sister to shriek in higher decibels – such grief!
The overwhelming prurient thinking can’t be missed. In one of the first dialogues of the film, Maddy asks Payal, ‘Tujhe aise shaadi ke bina live-in mein rehna ajeeb nahin lagta?’ And then it doesn’t even hinder people from labelling her as ‘chaloo’, when she dumps him without any apparent reason. Old boyfriends walk in from oblivion and college animosities prevail even after five years. Clearly, almost everything wrong with this morose tale.
The incoherence of the story becomes more blatant due to the past-present, flashback-now, shifts. Had Nikhil taken up an uncomplicated tone to narrate his story, this film would’ve turned out so much better.
Probably, the only memorable scene in the film is when Maddy clasps Payal’s hand, when his mother’s body is put inside for burning in the crematorium and the only gag that works is that of a customized 5 lac worth commode which dispenses perfume and gives a soothing massage, once the job is done. Yes, a tortoise named Milkha, too made us smile. But that’s about it. Though, Nikhil expects us to find humour in a man pinching a baby to get to his ex. But frankly, that’s stooping too low for laughs.
Using humour as a garb clearly didn’t work in the film’s favour. Advani’s affinity for loud, outlandish comedy has always been evident and in this film there are superfluous gay jokes, racist South Indian ones poked on bosses who are overtly physically affectionate and speak with heavy twang, emphasizing on their alphabets too much. The most ridiculous gag in the film is a drunk-as-dead Imran Khan enacting lines from Devdas for his parents. We laughed our hearts out. It was funny, the so-bad-that-it-is-good variety of funny.
The fatal mistake on the film’s part was overusing its weaker actors ( read Imran) over its stronger ones (read Kangana). But then again, actors can only go a certain extent to lift up their films. With a dated, idiotic, boring and logic-deprived script like this, even Academy Award winners hardly had a scope to save it from being a disaster.
Since the makers claimed that the film’s climax has a heartwrenching twist, here’s word of caution : the best thing about Katti Batti’s ‘gloomy’ ending is that you can finally go have aspirin for that nagging, hammering headache the film gave you.
Similarly, Payal, whose parents are conspicuously missing from the story, keeps struggling between the two sides of morality. She is college’s notorious pranksters and doesn’t think twice before befooling boys with her charm. But, she also has a super active conscience, so she wouldn’t do ‘that’ thing before entering into a live-in relationship. She has too many options in life and thus she hasn’t zeroed on any single hobby or pursuit yet.
And, don’t even think for a bit that these characters are confused because they’re written this way. These are developed without any imagination. Madhav and his friend Vinay keep fighting in the middle of their office and nobody reacts. They keep referring to a girl from the same office as ‘someone nice to sleep with’, but nobody cares. But, the world turns upside down the moment Payal gets mentioned.
Maddy comes to Delhi and meets a complete stranger Roger who later turns out to be a pop singer. This guy heads a band called FOSLA (Frustrated One Sided Lovers Association) which has an expertise in organising guerilla musical concerts. Yes, I know, you have heard that term before. It was Dil Dosti Etc in case you haven’t recalled it yet.
Katti Batti fares badly in almost every department and the writing is the worst hit. The characters are shoddily written and it’s difficult to feel for any of the lead actors. The actors look clueless in absence of a coherent story. Consider this dialogue: Agar tumne zyada ungli ki toh taange tod ke haath me de dunga. You see the inconsistency? If not then try speaking this dialogue aloud and you would know the problem. Tushar Kapoor’s stunning cinematography gives some solace though.
Advani has used good transition tools, but they are ineffective because of average acting by both Imran and Kangana. The literal toilet humour of the second half makes life more difficult for the audience who witnesses a really prolonged climax for no apparent reasons.
First Hero and now Katti Batti, director Nikhil Advani has delivered two back-to-back duds in consecutive weeks. In fact, Katti Batti makes Hero appear like a good film.
It’s a terribly bad film. A rehash of old Bollywood hits, Katti Batti is far from perfection. All the claims of a fresh love-story were false, it doesn’t offer anything. Two lines from Roger’s song sum up the essence of Katti Batti:
Pyaar karne waalon ki jala de lungi
Pyaar ki pungi, pyaar ki pungi.