One of the best scenes from AK vs AK is towards the pre-climax. Anil Kapoor is in a distraught state, he needs help from anyone who can offer it to him, he steps up the stage in a middle class locality and tries to address the public that has gathered for Christmas revelries. But even before he can actually lay down his problems, the crowd wants just one thing from him.
‘Dance to the tune of One Two Ka Four’!
Cut to ‘dhina dhin dha’ and even as the Lakshmikant Pyarelal’s evergreen song from Ram Lakhan plays on, Anil Kapoor wears his sunglasses in the dead of the night to hide his tears, brings on that artificial energy into play, and does the customary jig. There is a lot of pathos in there, something that director Vikramaditya Motwane captures very effectively in this truly experimental film, and one ends up realising all over again that ‘Anil Kapoor chalees star se star hai’, something that he says verbatim as well in one of the most crucial turning points of the film.
I love films set in Bollywood that have an insider feel to them. Luck By Chance is something that comes to my mind right away. That one was a dramedy, AK vs AK is a combination of thrills and drama with dark comedy interspersed into the narrative. People out here don’t mind spitting out some of the best revealed secrets right on the face. There is mutual disdain but then also desire to add something credible in the repertoire. They know what their strengths and weaknesses are, be it the actors or the directors. Even a secretary/manager/PR person browsing through his cellphone inside a vanity can while being all bored and oblivious to the happenings around him knows that it’s a make believe works that he is a part of. As for a (probable) fresh recruit in an event management company, she doesn’t care who is Anil Kapoor. After all, she has been ditched at the last moment by Sonam Kapoor for a ramp walk and is already wondering whom would she bring in as a show stopper at the last moment.
As a Bollywood aficionado I have read such stories over the years. Not sure whether a regular viewer is as much glued into such ‘insider happenings’. Honestly, I don’t care, as I had loads of fun through the 110 odd minutes narrative of this truly experimental cinema that breaks a lot of rules when it comes to the grammar of filmmaking. Give me one such movie with a different theme, subject and treatment every three months and I am happy. After all, when there can be crime dramas practically every week (especially on the OTT medium) which cater to the youth, why can’t there be a film for Bollywood folks like me who actually operate somewhere on the periphery, if not as a hardcore insider.
Anil Kapoor is one such insider, and the effect is seen in the entire family which eats together. With a special appearance from Boney Kapoor as well, it is like entering the Fabulous Life of Bollywood Families all over again. The senior brother doesn’t appreciate the camera capturing him munching his food and expresses his displeasure quite clearly to the camerawoman (Yogita Bihari). Harshvardhan Kapoor though is mildly amused with the young woman stepping into his mansion like apartment. He is rather mischievous while telling her to call him ‘just Harsh’. He is a man possessed though when he brings out his inner Al Pacino a la Scarface in a crucial scene from the film, even as he curses the filmmaker for giving him Bhavesh Joshi, hence marrying fact and fiction all over again.
That’s the core of AK vs AK too as it tries to bring in a fictional element into a factual set up and then presenting a movie within a movie, which actually is another movie in the wrapper of a virtual world, something that the likes of Christopher Nolan, Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino too would like to have a dekko. Yes, there are portions of the film where things get way too repetitive, especially around the middle when Anil Kapoor goes around the city hunting for a mysterious driver. Also, right though the chase, one does wonder if he could not think of some other creative way as well to come out of the mess that he has been subjected to by Anurag Kashyap’s character.
However, all is forgotten with that iconic scene when he is lying all battered on the footpath wondering if him being a star matter at all when his life is indeed in tatters. He could well have taken an inspiration from his first major co-star, Dilip Kumar, from Mashaal. Not just that as the crowd pleasing finale is the icing on the cake that further reaffirms why ‘Anil Kapoor has been a star for 40 years’.
As for Anurag Kashyap, he does promise a sequel in the last scene.
We won’t mind having a dekko!