Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kismat Konnection, or, I Swear I Watch Movies That Don't Star Shahid. Sometimes.

The kouple in question.

Kismat Konnection isn't nearly as bad as most have made it out to be. Even taking into account my tendency to excuse egregious errors in film-making when those films star mah honey (i.e. Paisa Vasool's Official Mascot) it's still a decent little romcom that's fun enough to spend a couple hours in front of the screen without feeling ripped off.

Raj Malhotra (Shahid, naturally) is a young guy from Toronto who had bright prospects in college but now is able to afford a kickin' apartment and fantastic electronics while soaking up the dole. In his place, I'd consider my ship to have come in, but Raj has bigger plans. Along with his best friend Hiten (Vishal Malhotra, otherwise known as That Guy Who Was Akshaye's Friend in Salaam-e-Ishq), he dreams of landing a big architectural job. Unfortunately, fate and/or God seem to be conspiring against his success.

Raj finally realizes that he just isn't going to succeed without some divine intervention, and turns to a fortune-teller (Juhi Chawla, utterly adorable--I don't care what she says in interviews, bring her back as a heroine). She's obviously making up her stuff as she goes along, but she tells Raj to find a lucky charm in order to turn his luck around.

Enter Priya (Vidya Balan) a woman who apparently is an activist for a living? Or something. Anyway, her big thing is that she works in a community center that only hosts desis and really doesn't want it to be torn down to make room for a new shopping mall. (Malls are the enemies of Indian culture!) This shopping mall is the big contract that Raj and Hiten want to land--Raj to prove he's not a loser, Hiten so he can finally get married. Unfortunately, Priya also turns out to be the lucky charm for Raj, ensuring that he lands the contract but also necessitating that he hang out with someone who really annoys him at first.

There were a lot of good things about KiKo. It showed the gradual growth of Raj and Priya's affections for one another, hampered at first by her involvement with some other guy. Both Shahid and Vidya turned in good performances. I don't really think it's fair to compare Shahid with Shah Rukh Khan; I would say, rather, that his performance does evidence some standard Bollywood romcom hero tropes that SRK has also been known to use. However, that's more of a Hindi film thing than an SRK thing. And of course, Vidya brings believability and warmth to almost any role she plays, including Priya. There were a couple of cute nods to Vivah and Parineeta. Another bonus is a guest appearance by one of my very favorite Hindi film actors. And the final scene was really, really sweet. I totally bought the konnection at the end of the day.

The story is just okay, and the songs along with their picturizations are a little below okay, with the exception of "Aai Pappi" and "Soniye Ve." Lots of Hinglish and gora girls in VERY short outfits. I kind of cringed whenever they came on, and the subtitles kept on rendering the English in the wrong order, which I can certainly understand since my attempts to conjugate Hindi are pretty pathetic, but then again no one's paying me to write subtitles either.

There were also some real errors in depiction of Canadian life, which particularly offended me because we NEVER get ANYTHING wrong about India in our movies! Ever! Okay, honestly, it didn't bug me, but here are the things I happened to notice:

1. Um, Canadian police aren't allowed to smack people's butts with their batons. Ever. I'm not saying police brutality never occurs, but if it does it's usually a huge scandal and someone's recorded it on their camera phone and the victims get massive compensation from the city, which would've solved Raj's nonexistent money problems right there, I guess, but then the movie would have been way different.

2.Which makes it really unlikely that everyone would scatter in apparent fear when the cops showed up.

3. Although there's a big desi population in Canada in general and Toronto in particular, I don't really think that all the white people speak Hindi too. Or even all the desi people.

Overall, though, it was pretty darn cute. I'm not sorry I bought it, especially at Induna's prices.

Oh! And let me take this opportunity to totally pimp Induna.com if you haven't heard of it before. I bought: Aaja Nachle 2-disc edition, Chak De! India, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Salaam-e-Ishq, Saawariya, JTYJN 2-disc, Tashan, Don (SRK), Chup Chup Ke, Refugee, Pinjar, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Kismat Konnection, K3G (gift) and Bride & Prejudice (yet another gift) and paid less than $100 including 3-day shipping from DHL. They arrived well-packed and in perfect condition. I lurve them with hearts, flowers, and a marigold garland attached. Also perhaps a thaali waved in front of them.


  1. You mean Canadian police cannot resort to police brutality EVER?!!! Great. I am off to join all kinds of protests now (hard to find any in Calgary, though). ;-) And hey everybody speaks Hindi if they want to be in a Bollywood film - remember that in your next audition! lol

    I found the movie cute enough but rather un-engaging - had to stop watching half way through for some reason and just never got round to finishing it.

    And I love induna too (excellent service, great collection and prices) but DHL always charges insane amounts (like 40% of the goods' value) as "customs brokerage" in Canada! So a $1 DVD ended up costing me more than $7 in shipping and miscellaneous charges. :-( I tried getting them to ship through regular post but they refused. I've had better luck with Rhythm House who ship through FedEx and have an even better movie selection.

  2. I really need to understnad the Shashid-effect- maybe with "Kaminey"- it may happen yet. I started seeing this movie, but couldnt get through it- [sigh]= dont hate me pls :P

  3. I heart Induna as well, their prices are fabulous and thank God for Moserbaer and their beyond reasonable prices. I always kinda passed this movie over, but i'll definitely check it and i so agree with this quote of yours

    'I don't really think it's fair to compare Shahid with Shah Rukh Khan; I would say, rather, that his performance does evidence some standard Bollywood romcom hero tropes that SRK has also been known to use. However, that's more of a Hindi film thing than an SRK thing'

    I personally hate when all the comparing occurs, Shahid is his own person.

  4. Why don't you put your mascot on header??
    Humm...I haven't seen this. Cause I heard bad review from a friend. But let me rethink about it now.

    And don't you wanna put this on your blog? Are we going to get double?? And I loved he says 'F' in place of 'S'

  5. Hey, thanks for the Induna link. They have cheap deals!

    About Kismat Konnection, I found the movie really "thanda". Shahid was awesome though, he really can make a song look brilliant on screen! I loved the choreography..specially of Aae Paapi and Is This Love!

    I wish the movie was a little bit more mushier. lol! I miss candyfloss cinema ;)

  6. I have this movie at home but haven't had the heart to watch it yet. Right now, I'm on a Southie filmfest. I'm so behind in allll my movies! (including Hong Kong and Korean cinema)

    I have never ordered from Induna before...but maybe I should. :)

  7. OMFG, if I knew you didn't have Pinjar, I would've sent you a brand new DVD right away! Manoj Bajpai = my baby, and Pinjar shows why. LOVE HIM!

    But yeah, I plan on watching this movie. I've been known to like movies I gave low scores to, so we'll see what happens. ;)

  8. bollyviewer--I've never heard of Rhythm House, thanks for the link! And I can see why you'd avoid Induna, how annoying. In the U.S. I didn't have to pay the extra fees though so it worked out to about $6.66/DVD--oooo, they are evil! LOL

    Shweta--if you haven't seen the light yet, perhaps Shahid in a dual role will cause sunbeams to burst into being and birds to twitter about your head in revelation. But I won't hate you even if that doesn't happen. ;-)

    bollywooddeewana: If you do end up checking out KiKo just keep your expectations low. It's a passable film but not much else. ;-)

    Darshit: my lack of technical expertise stops me from putting mah baby up there. LOL And yes! We are totally getting a double! One has a speech impediment and one doesn't. It looks fun, hai na?

    Bhargav: You're welcome! And yeah, thanda's probably right but I'm the first to admit I'm biased. ;-) The choreography rocked (I felt soooo sorry for poor Vidya in the last song, though, she looked really uncomfortable.)

    Nicki: They don't have any Southie films, though! Not even Kandokondain! Can you believe it?

    Shujat: since the desi movies you referenced lead to lots of naked desi girls, I deleted your comments.

    Nae: It's actually because of your ravings about the film that I picked it up sight unseen! LOL I'll be interested to see what your take on KiKo is.

  9. Thanks! I do want to watch Kaminey- so much buzz. AND I know for a fact that it'll play at the nearest indian theatre- yipee!

  10. my lack of technical expertise stops me from putting mah baby up there
    May I help about this? Actually I have made a header for you [not as gr8 as urs]. So can I ask for ur email id so that I can send it over to you??

    [you can delete this comment later]

  11. Shweta, I hope you post about it! I won't be able to see it till DVD release of course.

    Darshit - I e-mailed you!

  12. Ahh, Ajnabi, you know my feelings on this one...lol. wink wink!

    Yet I still enjoyed reading your review. Though I still stand my ground on the SRK thing--I don't like the comparisions between the two, either, that's what frustrated me about this. I felt the producers or directors or whomever was responsible was trying to get Shahid to prance around with that goofy demeaner and those quirky gestures SRK does. And I think your baby does so well when he is being himself!

    Ok, so maybe I'd rewatch this-In fact, I know I would-if I got it supercheap. Perhaps I could give another try-But only for you (And Shahid)!:)

  13. Yaaaayyyyy, Nida found time to play online! And dude, I still have to stick by *my* statement--the mannerisms you're referring to are ones I've seen in older Hindi movies, utilized by Dharmendra and a host of other heroes. ;-) I agree with you that, um, oh geez I can't remember who directed this--Aziz Mirza? could've totally utilized his actors better--they were both prime with less-than-prime material, which seems sad.

  14. Hiten (Vishal)... isn't he better known as Shahid's friend in Ishq Vishk? Or am I the only one that's never seen Salaam-E-Ishq?

  15. Kismat Konnection was quite disappointing for me, more so because of Vidya Balan, her wardrobe, even her acting. There were a couple of scenes in which they made her act like Kareena from Jab We Met (don't remember the specifics of the scenes), and it didn't work at all :'( Besides, any filmmaker that manages to do *that* to Juhi deserves to (edited for content, LOL).

  16. b-wood fan: I dunno; I have no business saying what he's better known as because I've only been watching these films for a little over a year. ;-D

    TBF: I can see why it'd disappoint you; still, I bear a mild affection for it. And I thought Juhi was the brightest spot of the movie! LOL What'd you hate about it?

  17. Ok girl,
    I saw it anyway and did a little post and linked yours into it here:

    Sorry we had to watch it, but someone had to. :)
    All the best!

  18. Sita-ji: Those girls? They are ridiculous. They look like they rounded them up from a bunch of Vegas promotional flyers, and I think you can guess the ones I mean. LOL


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