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.