PK—The Review



So I saw PK.

How was it?

TLDR: It’s a three-hour long episode of Satyamev Jayate.

For those of you who have not seen this program, which strongly makes me believe that you are not the kind that stops at a stop sign, Satyamev Jayate can be summarized as “social activism for those of us that like to watch Big Boss but feel guilty “. It picks a certain “problem of the week”, like police reforms or corruption or doctors, and then runs through an hour of over-explaining and music and appropriately emotioned-up guests.  The USP of the program, the reason why people watch it, is of course  Method-Actor Khan (known to mortals as Aamir Khan) for whom Satyamev Jayate is a perfect prop for his carefully cultivated  image as a socially conscientious superstar. Cycling through various  expressions, “the-oh-my-God-I-had-no-idea” (“Apko police ne yeh kaha?”) as if he is hearing the guest’s story for the first time, “the-oh-my-God-I-so-feel-for-you” eyes-welling-up-with-tasteful-tears, Mr. Khan straddles perfectly that grey area between reality and choreography, between the person and the persona, and if the topic of the week does not keep you watching, or that sharp prick on your conscience if your finger goes to the remote control to change the channel, Aamir Khan’s performance sure does.

Like Satyamev Jayate, PK too has a “problem of the week”, long passages of preachy exposition, poking-in-eye messaging, and each one of Aamir Khan’s Satyamev Jayate stock facial expressions. Except being an alien, his innocent “I-had-no-idea” face makes a little more sense, though for old-hands like us, there is a bit too much of the Main Kahaan Hoon Tiloo from “Andaz Apna Apna” and one of the characters he played in Dhoom 3, for me to be overtly blown away by the acting. Just as Satyamev Jayate, despite its flaws, is an improvement on the brainless muck that passes for entertainment on Indian television,  PK is definitely better than the “Bang Bangs” and the “Ready”s, a low bar surely, somewhat like complimenting a fast bowler for bowling faster than Venkatesh Prasad.

It had a lot going for it,  like Mr. Perfectionist’s perfect derriere, though obfuscated by mist, Raju Hirani at the helm, and some funny sequences involving pee-ing, peek-ing, peekaying and anal-probing, which I would perhaps have better appreciated if I was nine years old

However it is let down by two major cinematic boo-boos.

First the climax was so god-awful that it made the baby-delivered-by-vacuum-cleaner in Three Idiots seem kind of okay.

And second, Raju Hirani becomes so focussed on the agenda, the moral at the end, that rather than let the story deliver the message, he had the message write the story. As a result there is a really weak narrative and absolutely zero chemistry between the characters, nothing like the way there was between say Munnabhai and Circuit. Instead of story and memorable characters, there are lengthy lectures facing the camera, extremely contrived situations, and possibly the most-rushed-romantic-tale I can remember, between Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput, reminding one of the Ravi Behl-Divya Dutta romance in “Agnisakshi”,  scurried primarily because the only reason it existed was to establish the message.

The basic problem I believe is that Raju Hirani is way out of his depth in PK, biting off way more than he can chew. To be fair, it is extremely difficult to make a movie that is anti-organized-religion without coming down inordinately on one religion, and unless you are willing to go fully “equal opportunities offender” like Maher in Religulous, which again is a very difficult thing to do in a fictional setting, treading carefully is a must.

Unfortunately Hirani is as subtle as a sledgehammer, a deft touch he doth not have.

Not that I believe Hirani has an insidious bias or that PK is part of a global anti-Hindu conspiracy, which you would believe if you followed the boycottPK loony hashtag, but it is true that Hirani exclusively ends up using Hindu religious practices as his pincushion. Sure, there are throwaway blink-and-miss-it references to Christian conversions and Muslims treatment of their own women, but the focus remains firmly on the Hindu faith. It’s the man dressed as a Hindu God who runs like a coward, it’s the Hindu Gods who stand ghoul-like silent as PK prays in front of them, which happens to be the most powerful scene of the movie. The villain is a fake baba, a supposed anthropomorphism of everything-that-is-wrong-with-religion, except that he ends up as a stand-in for only Hinduism. If it was just one character, it would be still fine, but then there is another Hindu priest who is shown as a glorified pick-pocket, taking away Anushka’s wallet in a way that is more like a hood in a dark alley than a man of God. No other religion has their people in authority get consistently poor treatment.

The explanation for that, I believe, and here is the supreme irony, is fear. Like most people with a bit of common sense, Hirani knows that depicting a maulvi as a money-grabbing goonda would lead to  consequences more dire than the mild controversy that is brought on about by social-media outrage or the isolated court-case they have more than enough resources to fight, both of which incidentally are good for the movie publicity-wise. Hirani’s consciousness of “those who must not be angered” is perhaps most evident when PK, the alien, puts up signs of different Hindu Gods on a wall and, if I am not totally wrong there was also a picture of Jesus, but even PK knows, from news that might have reached him billions of light years away, that forget pictures there are some depictions of deities  you do not put on walls, if you want to keep your head on your shoulders. In that context of fear, the rather provocative line “Jo Dar Gya Woh Mandir Gya” becomes ironic, almost as ironic as an actor convicted of Jihadi terrorism in real life being blown up by a Jihadi bomb on screen.

Personally, I loved the message of PK, mainly because being a non-observant agnostic with a healthy dislike for rituals and organized religion, I agree with what the movie is trying to say. The problem is how they say it, preachy, uneven, hammy and amateurish.

And while a lack of balance may be forgiven or even blatant bias (for are we not all biased), sophomoric  film-making cannot be.



91 thoughts on “PK—The Review

  1. Great review.. totally agree!

  2. I felt it was pretty formulaic. A much better movie on the same theme is Deool (Marathi). Do see if you get a chance.

    * If I am the first commenter, I want to stop the silly iPad trend. 🙂

  3. O GreatBong the new followers don’t know the significance of product demands in the opening comment. Forgive them.

  4. I am sure I’ll agree with you once I see the movie. And like you put it, albeit differently, the biggest sensation will be that of relief, that it was not another Bang Bang. Flawed alright, but watchable movies are so few and far between, that many will not be wiling to concede it was bad. I have heard that Action Jackson was made with the express purpose of making PK look good 🙂

  5. @shrigupta I am not a new follower, having read this blog for atleast 8-9 yrs. :). I guess I always found that trend silly but if its become a religious ritual for O Greatbong followers, I will happily step aside. 🙂

  6. for me message is clear, as it was in OMG, rest is the business side of it. Fear is what leads Hirani to cast more on major population masses, in one way I agree.

  7. Well said but the cash keeps flowing in

  8. Great review. Why did Hirani not take the bull by the horns and depict the BS acts of preachers of religion of peace? A smart director would have had PK asking for photos of founder of such great religion and getting a beating in the process. A very mild and effective scene. That he didn’t even do this shows the complete subservience of Hirani, Chopra and company to the almighty dollar and also shows the duplicity of Aamir Khan. These people will sell their souls to become aamir. Of all people Aamir should have had the guts to show flaws in his own religion. All of them obvioisly feared being killed and hence watered down BS thrown at unsuspecting audience. One deserved this in any case if one still took the risk of watching Aamir Khan movies after Dhoom 3 in which the hard working actor tried so hard to look different that he looked out of place and quite ridiculous in the movie just like he did in Ghajini. All for the sake of being different. Because different is better. Sigh.

  9. The title PK – The Review and the last word ‘Disappointing’ was enough. Could have saved the too long words typed and also saved the environment… 🙂

  10. The title ‘PK-The Review’ and the last word ‘Disappointing’ was more than enough. Could have saved the too long, boring write-up… & also saved the environment…

    1. Why couldn’t the gutless director expose the dollar games of christian preachers who claim theirs is the only true religion and who try to convert by showing and shoving false miracles which claim to cure all diseases on unsuspecting illiterate gullible poor .

  11. One of the commentators has bribed Arnab by insidiously suggesting that Arnab use Taran Adarsh’s format of writing reviews. Lets see how it would work if Arnab were to be inspired by the ‘adarsh’ reviewer. The ‘adarsh’ movie would be that whose founder has kissed the most a$$ and provided upfront moolah for Adarsh. Such a movie would get a four and half star rating –
    As noted by previously mentioned commentator Mr. Adarsh Reviewer has only (!) talked about the movie in this review and not at all brown-nosed SRK.
    In conclusion I commend Arnab for being one of the very few honest and intelligent bloggers and request him to do a series on news anchors(bookseller Desai, loudmouth Swamis, waah-gaale lag ja), movie critics (Pan Pasand) and other random loudmouth nobodies like the Seths, Bacchi, Jugs and other assorted TOI-let feeders.

  12. 100% agreed – “Personally, I loved the message of PK, mainly because being a non-observant agnostic with a healthy dislike for rituals and organized religion, I agree with what the movie is trying to say”
    And yes it is preachy, uneven and amateurish – but then I look at people around me and even educated, middle-class junta believes in such insane stupidities that is OK to fall to such levels and put the message across.
    Its like grinding all the food and feeding it to a toddler. You may abhor it but the toddler needs it.
    As far as the bias is concerned, I actually take that as a complement to my religion that you can say such things without any ( potential) fear of dire consequences.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  13. Agree, I also it take as complement, that my religion can take one on the chin and that’s the reason it has survived

  14. Dada, how could you forget to mention about PK showing Pak embassy as some heaven, with angelic employees! That was the scene of the movie for me 🙂

  15. Absolutely top of form review.

    There can be no comparison with Religulous. Maher is terrific in the way he rips apart self-styled godmen while at the same time treating believers with respect and patiently hearing them out. If only religion were full of such people who keep their faith to themselves!

    GB, on an unrelated note, would love to know what you think of ‘The Man From Earth’, a sci-fi movie about a caveman who’s been walking the earth for over 14,000 years.

  16. So nothing about- 1. excellent acting- aamir khan & saurav shukla 2. uselessness of anushka 3. a new way of exposing duplicity of man.
    Also, if you are living in India right now, you should know that insulting the ‘H’ religion is more dangerous than insulting the ‘M’ one.

    1. Are you serious? Are you serious?
      Insulting the ‘H’ religion is more dangerous than insulting the ‘M’ one.???

      Please elaborate…

      1. Elaboration: Filmmakers of PK still have a head between shoulders since “H” was insulted 🙂

    2. This fella can be a good brand ambassador for telecom cos which want to boast of internet connectivity even in remote caves..

  17. I have not seen the movie… so cant agree or disagree with you review. It was as usual an enjoyable read. I am a Hindu Brahmin and a strong believer in the almighty. However, I do not really mind these “blasphemous” references to my religion. My religion gives me sufficient tolerance to take them in a light-hearted spirit. Perhaps that is what is so special about my religion and it makes me proud. Perhaps the same is true for many HINDU people who would watch movies in general (which would explain why Hindu religious derivatives are usually used as villainous constructs in Bollywood movies).
    Perhaps the presence of this tolerance is what makes INDIA work (and the absence makes Pakistan fail). And I am terribly proud of that.

  18. You have written:
    ‘Personally, I loved the message of PK, mainly because being a non-observant agnostic with a healthy dislike for rituals and organized religion, I agree with what the movie is trying to say.’

    And, in your previous post, you wrote:
    ‘But alas in this world, I cannot just be a father. I am an Indian. I am a Hindu.’

    1. Yes because to Pakistan, my only identity is as a Hindu/Indian. Dont see the inconsistency.

  19. Strange inconsistencies.

    So nowadays it’s a fashion to talk of the resurgence and glory of Hinduism in general and bash up those who seem to have pandered to the minorities all these years….for votes money fear or whatever else. The argument goes that the majority religion should reclaim it’s position in India finally and the rest should be shown their right place in history and society…etc etc etc…

    If all this is true, shouldn’t the proponents of majoritism as a principle also realise that when a movie is primarily based on bashing up the stupidity and corruption of organised religions in India, it would have to pick on the one which is also the majority? I mean you really can’t have it both ways, can you?

    The rest I agree with. Pretty formulaic soppy romance interspersed with really funny moments.

  20. I just saw PK and came awy utterly disappointed. It is a very poorly crafted film that reminds me of B grade Hindi cinema in the 60’s.There is not a scene or treatment that stands out for originality. There are are a number of one-liners that impress but the story, script and screenplay are neither fantastical and escapist nor realistic and visceral.
    e all have seen enough Hindi cinema to not expect logic or plausibility in the narrative.For some reason, i expected more from Hirani and Associates, considering that they claim this script took 5 years to develop. A very very poor, uninspired and unimaginative script indeed.
    I saw OMG a couple of years ago when it released. That was fresh, intelligent, funny and memorable. Its the same story but very well told. PK is more like an SMJ episode, patronizing, stretched and dumbed down.

  21. We hindus keep whining why we are shown in bad light by those who don’t like our religion. Whats stopping us from invading bollywood and making movies that show the glorious side of our religion. We have a treasure of mythology, history, epics, plays, fables and philosophical works which can be exploited to make great movies and TV series, but have very few who are talented and resourceful enough to do it. And so, all we do is whine against those who use their talent and resources to promote their ideologies.

  22. no new concept same as omg……aamir did good acting but movie concept is no new if here hirani have potrated abhishekh bachchan even if he would have done good acting this movie would have folped but since its khan movie got muslim viewer hindu region is more targeted it has to be blockbuster

  23. very bed that they mostly targeted hindu

  24. An amazingly narrow minded review this is. I am glad people dont agree with your review or opinion as the movie is being lapped up by the movie lovers, elite, mass and class alike. Go and check it out it.

    1. Rajat, narrow minded in what way? You havent cared to explain.

      If someone belongs to the TODDLER category. he would enjoy the movie. Even Dhoom 3, Krish 3, Happy New Year and Kick were lapped up by the people. Does that mean they were Masterpieces?

      The worst thing about PK is that it falls short of RKH’s own standard. If you hate Bollywood or masala movies, obviously you wouldnt like 3 idiots and PK both. But problem here is, even if you loved 3 idiots, you would still find PK miles short of the mark.

  25. Well, I haven’t seen PK, and I trust your views. However, I do not think you quite understand what Satyameva Jayate delivers. It deals with deeply emotional subjects and it is meant to make us uncomfortable. Aamir takes a big risk and put his head out to experiment with mainstreaming social causes. It has made him unpopular in many circles (doctors who cheat, pedophiles, nri wife beaters, pesticide sellers). I work on farmer suicides (and organic farming), and I have seen the program has got attention like never before to this issue. You have a very tunnel vision driven by celebrity culture, which is fine. But please do not extrapolate your views to make it trivial, because it matters to people who have been screaming to put these issues out there for long. Satyameva may not be the perfect show and we can agree to disagree about Amir’s acting. But it is the first of it’s kind. It shows that social messages can also make TRP/money (which is needed) and you can watch such uncomfortable topics in prime time. Every show evolves, nothing can be the best from the first show. If not anything, why don’t you use your stature to create an alternative show that you would like. thanks!

    1. “Aamir takes a big risk and put his head out to experiment with mainstreaming social causes. It has made him unpopular in many circles (doctors who cheat, pedophiles, nri wife beaters, pesticide sellers)”

      Mriganka, who would Aamir rather attempt to woo? the categories you have mentioned or the ones pointed out by Arnab. The crocodile tear shedding, – lets get rid of our guilty conscious by watching a pretentious and fake tv show, hosted by someone who never actually even walks out of the studio for anything- aam jantaa.

      1. It’s your calling to get rid of guilt – nothing different there! However, people running SMJ is smarter than me, you or Arnab collectively. The issues are based on statistics, and production based on market research of audience. Request you to also see the people in the background involved with the show. Any reason I should trust you more than them, just because you have an opinion?

    2. just one more thing, “first of its kind”. ? really? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      i think what you are saying is actually the reverse of the truth. “tunnel vision” may be applicable more to you than to Arnab.

      About evolution, — you may not have realized, but Satyamev Jayate has done 3 seasons now. Whats evolved? whats improved? can u tell me?

      And one final thought on the “celebrity culture” thing, that you seem to be against. if anyone, it is you who is encouraging such a culture, by worshiping a talk show, just coz it is hosted by Aamir Khan. there have been zillions of such shows before on television.

      1. Exactly my point – zillions of shows with no effect! That does not undermine those shows, except for the fact we would have never discussed them the way we are about SMJ. SMJ gives a direction how a show (in this case celebrity popularity, given that we Indians worship them) can mainstream such social causes. My submission is that let’s not dissect what Amir did in the show. Indians are divided over their loyalties to celebrities☺ Instead lets talk about the content of the show. Let’s talk about how organic farming methods can helps farmers, and not lead them to suicides (for example). Let’s talk about the organizations that are working hard to change things (some of which are mentioned in the show). Why don’t you pick up an issue in the show and present it better than Amir can ever do? I will be your greatest fan. Speaking about Amir undermines the cause. It makes you look like a loser. Hate him all you want and good luck with the misplaced tirade.

    3. firstly i dont have a tirade to shed here :P. and u didnt answer most of my points. about evolution for example. and kindly explain how this show is different from any other show? if its just TRPs then it means its just Aamir effect. by the way, i dont think there is going to be a fourth season of that show 😀 its not as successful as it appears to all u “Bhakt Logs”. 😀

    4. and honestly, do you think people are interested in knowing about organic farming? on television? then they would rather watch the doordarshan UGC programs. (they are free to air, and without ad breaks)

      Admit it, u belong to the ““social activism for those of us that like to watch Big Boss but feel guilty “ category.

      Dont make childish arguments at least. If I dont like a certain show or movie, I have the right to express my view point. You talk about all the noble causes, bla bla bla and you dont have the basic sense of accepting peoples right to freedom of choice and expression. Did I use any derogatory remarks or abuses in my criticism of PK or Satyamev Jayate. ?

      And for the record, I am a fan of Aamir Khan. Aamir the actor.

      1. I am sure you know what you are saying, and will let you be. Just a clarification so that it is not lost – More than 270,000 Indian cotton farmers have killed themselves since 1995 and it is still going on. Organic farming is sustainable method and it help reduce input prices and debt of farmers. This needs to be a national issue and we need to drive the Govt. into action, or more farmers will die. These are mere statistics for journalists that has been reported all along. But no one cares! Unless these type of issues are highlighted in a way people understand and connect (even by getting angry with Amir) we would never know. for god’s sake, i do not care if you are a fan of Amir.

    5. just like u dont care if i am amir’s fan, i m not interested in doing social work.

      m i entitled to that?

      so lets just discuss PK the movie. not other things.

  26. what’s wrong in criticising your own religion? Why should it be perfect and balanced?
    Shouldn’t we focus on improving our fallacies rather than complaining like a small kid that other kids are not being scolded for the same mistake.
    the movie was very clear on it’s message and it was portrayed in an entertaining way.

  27. Give me a break Have you directed/scripted even one movie???????? Very easy to comment on someone else’s work. Do it first yourself then comment. Only then will your comments have any credibility. The movie is well made. Leave it to the audience to decide rather than biasing them.

  28. Okay this was supposed to be a review of a movie. But this c-grade blogger (who by the way has written some trashy novels which are as good as getting a root canal) decides to bash Satyamev Jayate.

    WTF is your problem with SMJ? If you can’t write good about anything stop babbering sh#t about a noble cause.

    This man should to be locked in a room for 5 months with KRK, Arnab Goswami, Rakhi Sawant and Dolly Bindra.

    1. Seriously? A lengthy comment for all these cliches!

    2. Haha. This moron here follows Amish Tripathi. So much for his taste in fine writing. LOL.

      1. Gaurav Joshi (@GauravJ_09) December 30, 2014 — 1:56 am


        SO WHAT???

        I have my own taste. Amish is no genius, but I find his pulp fiction a good pass time. And how does that make me a moron. At least I have the courage to show my identity unlike you, who is hiding himself.

        Now you know who is a true moron!

  29. Pk has been rated brilliantly by all critics, it is being received brilliantly by people all over India but this loser can only enjoy movies like Ra one. And I like the way he begs on twitter “Please buy my Book.” lol.

    1. Please get a medical check up done Mr Gaurav

  30. Wicked GB. But agree that movie did not measure up to expectations from hirani.

  31. Excellent article and very well written! Regarding Hirani the first Munnabhai was fantastic and a classic! But it has been downhill after that…clichéd and full of preaching!
    I suspect that the film makers (and us in general) are either too lazy or too involved in the materialistic life to differentiate between religion and spirituality and to explore the latter. For those of us such movies are a way to lessen our guilt for not doing so and rationalize our actions!

  32. By your own logic Amit, you should have written a popular blog for 10 years plus three books before typing that comment.

  33. Overall, I found this review more entertaining than the 160-something minutes long movie PK.

    Highlights >>
    “Satyamev Jayate can be summarized as “social activism for those of us that like to watch Big Boss but feel guilty “

    “Cycling through various expressions, “the-oh-my-God-I-had-no-idea” (“Apko police ne yeh kaha?”) as if he is hearing the guest’s story for the first time,”

    “though for old-hands like us, there is a bit too much of the Main Kahaan Hoon Tiloo from “Andaz Apna Apna” and one of the characters he played in Dhoom 3, for me to be overtly blown away by the acting.”

    “PK is definitely better than the “Bang Bangs” and the “Ready”s, a low bar surely, somewhat like complimenting a fast bowler for bowling faster than Venkatesh Prasad.”

    “However it is let down by two major cinematic boo-boos. First the climax was so god-awful that it made the baby-delivered-by-vacuum-cleaner in Three Idiots seem kind of okay.”

    “And second, Raju Hirani becomes so focussed on the agenda, the moral at the end, that rather than let the story deliver the message, he had the message write the story. As a result there is a really weak narrative and absolutely zero chemistry between the characters,”

    “the most-rushed-romantic-tale I can remember, between Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput, reminding one of the Ravi Behl-Divya Dutta romance in “Agnisakshi”,

    ” I agree with what the movie is trying to say. The problem is how they say it, preachy, uneven, hammy and amateurish.

    And while a lack of balance may be forgiven or even blatant bias (for are we not all biased), sophomoric film-making cannot be.”

    Keep up the good work.

  34. Great reading… and now I am not sure whether I would be interested in watching 3 hours of Satyamev Jayate!

  35. I have not watched PK but have an opinion to share on the basis of what is going on around the movie. Here it is:

    1. exactly sambaran. in all this hoopla, the main point is lost. for genuine fans of cinema, its a disappointing movie. but people with ulterior motives support the movie, or oppose it. for all the wrong reasons. their own personal agendas and vendettas.

    2. and i dont think Aamir or Raju are stupid enough to include scenes in the movie that may turn out to be controversial. its just a part of their marketing strategy, to provoke people, as much as they can, without crossing the limit. so the film keeps running. religious fanatics keep bashing the film, making it stay in the headlines for the controversies rather than content.

  36. U r a moron.. i guess u dint understand the movie at all… watch again… reality is hard to accept..

    1. rohit, firstly ur moronic comment doesnt merit a reply from anyone. but just as an exercise in SOCIAL WELFARE, i would like to draw your attention to the following portion of his review.

      “Personally, I loved the message of PK, mainly because being a non-observant agnostic with a healthy dislike for rituals and organized religion, I agree with what the movie is trying to say. The problem is how they say it, preachy, uneven, hammy and amateurish.”

    2. you are the only enlightened!!!!

  37. Finally an honest and balanced review. Wholeheartedly agree. I am so relieved to see that there is some sense in this world after all. Until now I was feeling like an alien for harbouring such sentiments about the film. My verdict.
    Disappointing film. Old wine in new bottle. Omg was much more original. p k is a Cowardly not courageous film. There is nothing new or courageous about bashing up hindu godmen. It is like flogging a dead horse and has been done from time immemorial. Why are they so scared to hit the nail on the head and take the bull by its horns? The worst they can say about Hinduism is that people are wasting milk. Why are they not criticising the bloodbath caused by Muslim terrorists who are sacrificing innocent lives?

  38. Agree with this mostly. I guess, there are more hindu traditions/rituals etc are shown ,mainly because of two reasons. 1) As many “sanghis” point out, Hinduism is way-of-life and not just a religion so we can take it as a commentary on Indian way of life and NOT Hindu-the religion. 2) Also, he tired to touch upon points which cater to majority of janta ( 80% population) to make best use of time/resources.

    Agree that it is a mediocre product and was expecting better from RKH.

  39. I haven’t seen the movie. From your review, it seems like Aamir Khan and Raju Hirani have made a movie for the target audience, which is our large youth population. Unlike their parents, today’s youth seem to be concerned about “issues” (which also explains the chosen theme and success of Satyameva Jayate). Also they consider it “hip” to speak out against be spiritual but not pray silently but not visit temples.
    About the movie being preachy, I find that Aamir Khan movies are dumbified more than necessary for the consumption of the “general population”. Any message that need to be delivered is usually loud and direct (not that bollywood movies are known for their subtlety). This clearly works considering the commercial success of 3 Idiots. The message of the movie that Innovation is better than Rote learning is delivered like a electric shock via the urethra. You just can’t miss it.
    Even a movie like Talash (which I think was a better movie than 3 Idiots for excellent acting and direction) has a dumbified ending. An alternate ending could have been more subtle were Aamir sees Kareena’s ghost for a moment on the road and swerves to fall into the sea. No need for the ghost to do his “jaan bachao” from the water and Aamir to consequently become convinced about the existence of Ghosts. Why can’t this be an ambiguous ending where the audience is allowed to reach their own conclusions? Does Aamir think that the Indian audience are too dumb to accept a subtle and ambiguous ending? I for one would definitely have enjoyed an easier ending to the movie.

  40. Lovely post.. came across while looking for PK reviews wondering how it got a rating of 8.8 on IMDB.. Personally feeling, that one scene in “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” where Munna asks the Panditji (Saurabh Shukla again!!) why he doesn’t pick six-hitting batsman for winning the world cup, why he could not forecast Mumbai floods and to tell his own future while Circuit holding a gun to his temple was way more eye opener to disbeliefs than this entire movie..

  41. what i have gathered from all the comments here and elsewhere on the net, is that, people are more concerned about religious stuff, than the entertainment factor. or may be, for most people entertainment equates to watching out your theories and ideologies playing out on screen.

    and secondly, people have no problem with Lagaan where britishers are shown bashing and abusing indians. its ok for them. people have no sense of pride for the nation, or rather, its trivial compared to how they feel for their own religion.

    In a sense, the movie is hypocritical in itself, where they are talking about free thinking and removing bias. when you yourself cant make an unbiased balanced movie, how do you expect the message to come across. Khud ko to sudhaaro pehle, fir doosro ki fikr karna.

  42. its been fun discussing the movie here, this being one of the few UNBIASED reviews, (and possibly the finest one), on the net. I may not come back for further comments, coz to be honest, PK is so overhyped anyway, it doesnt deserve any more of our time or attention.

    So just want to say that …… LOL it slipped out of my mind. what i wanted to say. will need to recollect 😛 I had one very fine thought, but abhi yaad nahi aa raha. hope to post it soon.

    1. Thankfully, yaad aa gaya, within a couple of minutes. I felt like it was going to end up being like one of those things that slip out of our mind, never to come back.

      Anyway, so the thing was, it may appear that we are being too harsh on Rajkumar Hirani, overtly critical of his film. But then, the best always have to face the stiffest opposition. otherwise they wouldnt be the best in the first place. So if a small time director had directed this exact film, we might have found it to be a good effort. but we know what RKH and Aamir are capable of, so it pains more to see a below par effort from them. (or rather, less than optimum).

      We expect nothing but the very best from you, so hope you fulfill our expectations in your next venture.

  43. counter arguments that I enjoyed reading –
    Five things we learned from PK controversy:

    PK: Why the controversy will not affect Aamir Khan


  44. But I like the movie, especially those dancing cars 😀

  45. There’s many comments out there, but I have a question. Is Sunjay Dutt treating his time in jail as a series of picnics. He seems to be getting out as and when he chooses to do so, and even gets time to act in movies – PK being an example. Would a common person, or mango person like one of us be able to have this kind of a prison picnic, I mean sentence ?

  46. Your article lost ground right at the start when you wrote “For those of you who have not seen this program, which strongly makes me believe that you are not the kind that stops at a stop sign,”
    Is it not condescending to assume that for the entire populace who donot want to see the “choreographed” (as you yourself wrote later) tears and oohs and aahs of Aamir in a show that makes people only armchair activists. Real change happens by taking action, watching a TV show does not guarantee civic sense or traffic obedience.

    1. Err…. Was the “for those of you….” line not a sarcasm?

  47. For me more than anything it was a disappointment from Raju Hirani. It was good in parts but not great overall, for the first time he has not bettered his previous movies.

  48. found another great review, in line with what you have said. wish there were more people who felt this way.

    i was not offended by PK the movie. i was not offended much by the controversial scenes in the movie. i do feel offended by the “PK the legend” and “PK the best indian movie ever” chants. cant understand at all. only consolation is that PK, by becoming the highest grossing movie, has broken, only Dhoom3’s record. Not that of DDLJ, or Sholay or Mughal-e-aazam, or even Gadar. 😀 😛 😉

    Anyway here is that great review.

    PK…. – Bas Theek Hai…
    Author: kapil-nanchahal from Los Angeles, CA

    But is that good enough to be “great cinema”. I vehemently deny, for these fundamental problems with PK:

    1. Performance by lead actors: Much has been talked about this being Aamir’s best, method acting, vocabulary learning and all. I thought the performance was good, but hardly anything to compare with much more accomplished and lesser popular actors. I am not even talking Nasir, Balraj Sahni, Dilip Kumar, Nawazuddin. You want ‘real’ looking performances, go watch any 20 mins of GOW. If you don’t know what is GOW, then….google it :). As for method acting and diction, just google what Ben Kingsley did for Gandhi, or what Daniel Day Lewis does for every movie he acts, or how Pankaj Kapoor a sworn teetotaler did a top drunkards role in Matru, and what Aamir did will look like final year exam of junior acting school.. that’s it. Unfortunately the only other serious actor in the movie Saurabh Shukla is such a caricature, he must have done this only for his paycheck..

    2. Lopsided debate on religion: By choosing to base the debate with Tapasvi, a one color character, the director / story writers kind of made it a high school debate competition level discussion. There was no thought process on why so much of this ‘religious buffoonery’ exists, what extent is ‘truly required’ in today’s times. The risk from such debate is, it gets whistles in shows but cannot trigger any intellectual discussion – I doubt it intended to. It was as if the whole system has 1000 wrongs and not even 1 right, and an alien who is completely oblivious to our world’s compulsions, complexities, stresses can point answers to it.

    3. Tries to pack too much: Good looking people check, media indulgences check, popular jokes check, cross border love check, love story-uniting etc check, terrorist bomb blast check. Great cinema sticks to it’s theme and doesn’t need love story threads, converged in a stomach- achingly funny climax. Phone call, live, around the globe, discussing personal problems, which has hardly anything to do with the serious theme, sobbing viewers on the Veer-Zara uniting.. Why…Raju, you delivered a masterstroke by making Gandhi current for a whole generation, that was genius. Take a bow for that. But alien showing way of life, was addressed by the Roshans in a series for mentally challenged viewers. Bettering that is not good enough for your calibre. Single theme movie for the 10-70 age bracket, try watching ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, the best message and movie about Christmas – made in 1947, I bet you will be shocked how relevant it will look to you today.

    4. Very Straight Characters: All characters are one color, like a school play. Bad, good. No complexities in characters. Kind of similar to those college stage skits, which end up with some nice theme and a few sobbing front rows. Fundamental flaw there – PK himself confesses he comes from a land where everybody is simple and can read each other’s minds. So no lies, no cheating, no deceit, no sin, no bad, no charity, no evil, no nothing.. dear friend, human beings live on this ‘gray’ not ‘black and white’ planet where all these realities exist and in abundance. Religion has nothing to do with their existence. How do you know if these complex humans don’t need ‘any’ amount of ritualism/rules. This alien learnt lying and cheating in his short stint, these humans have 5000 years of recorded history to learn non-sense from.Yes the masses won’t understand a Garam Hawa, or Satyakam (a masterpiece that deserves much more praise than it got), but do we have to be dished out this simple straight good-bad people talk in the name of ‘best movie’ of the year.. No please…

    5. Too much of ‘Go Watch It’: This bothered me so much, that I woke up early on a day when I have a sick off, and keying this :). There were quite a few movies in 2014 that could beat PK black and blue in ‘cinematic’ value fist fight. Dedh Ishqiya’s performances will beat the entire cast of PK – did you know Arshad Warsi was born and brought up in Mumbai and Maharashtra. See his Bhopali commentary before you go gaga over the bhojpuri skills of the lead here. Or watch Irrfan’s work for Paansingh Tomar – if you want to be wowed with method acting. Haider – delivered a poignant message, with complex characters, and a few of haunting, haunting scenes, that will shake you up (Please do not watch pirated print of this gem, theater or HQ prints on large screen only). Tongue in cheek message about jingoism – Total Siyappa did an OK job, and so did Filmistaan. Am yet to watch Citylight, Kya Dilli Kya Lahore, and Bhopal, but am sure the box-office collections of all of them put together will not make the first week of ‘go watch it’ PK.

    1. better to have Rajkumar Hirani in the director’s field than Vijay Krishna Acharya for the highest grossing film tally. (I dont trust these tallies much, but just if one goes by that)

      1. and ya even Ra.One is featured as the 13th BEST film in that particular list. 😀

      2. @vicky – Enough of pakao’ing..get the f$&k out of here..
        GB – pls block him 😉

      3. @arbitbond.

        block me for what? 😀 pakaofying? well by that logic PK should be blocked first. 😀

        anyway, if it irks u so much, u wud be happy to know that i have done enuff ranting i feel, so u wont have to put up with more 😀

  49. Agree with the review. Solid subject, love the message but an absolutely terrible movie (from a purely movie-quality perspective). Of course, I am comparing it with the best movies in the world (why should we compare it to horrendously made bollywood movies).

    I will say it at the risk of getting yelled at – there is no one from mainstream bollywood (including SRK, Aamir and even Amitabh etc.) who can pass as a mediocre actor at global level. Side characters in American TV series (e.g. George Costanza in Seinfeld and ‘000s more) will run circles around these “actors”. The lesser said about the dancing dolls in terms of acting, the better. None of these actors are trained or seem even passionate about their craft. I am consistently surprised at the “clubbish” family-driven environment of mainstream Bollywood.

    The silver lining is new crop that had background in theater is trying to do serious acting: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irfan Khan, Abhay Deol and directors such as Anurag Kashyap (Gangs of Wasseypur is right up there with best movies in the world).. and i sincerely hope that the quality of mainstream Hindi cinema will improve

    till serious, passionate and trained actors and directors take over from sons and daughters, we will mostly cringe at the state of mainstream Hindi cinema. it is sad that today these absolute jokers with last names of kapoors, chopras, johars, khans and even bachhans represent Indian movies

  50. Raju Hirani is a successful filmmaker, and my hunch is that is the reason he would have focused more on Hinduism in the movie. It would help him connect far better with majority of the audience (who could relate it to their day to day lives) than if he were to spend greater time criticizing Islam/Christianity/Judaism etc (those issues most of the audience would know superficially). So I guess it was a business decision, and from the looks of it, a good one at that!

  51. Here goes my official review
    PK had some fun moments but overall it bored, irritated and depressed me. The arguments it presents seemed one sided, laboured, preachy and peppered with weak defences. First the film pretended to be bold when it in actual fact it was an act of cowardice. Hindu godmen and rituals have been the object of ridicule from time immemorial. The film questions why Hindus are wasting milk but not questioning why Muslim terrorists are wasting human blood by sacrificing innocent lives in the name of religion? They question the act of going to temples ‘jo dar Gaya woh mandir gaya’ but why do they not question the practice of reading the namaz five times and then shooting hundreds of innocent children? While it ridiculed a lot of hindu rituals it dismissed concerns relating to Muslim terrorist activities by arguing that problems arise because Hindus have preconceived notions about the Muslim brothers. Counter evidence was presented in the form of a cross border love story in which the Pakistani boy was wronged because of hindu prejudices. What the film failed to acknowledge is that While these prejudices do exist they are not one sided and exist on both sides of the border. The jubilant reaction of the Pakistani embassy and the complete acceptance of a cross border alliance from the Pakistani side required a much greater suspension of belief than the alien angle. Second, the film lacked originality. The film was similar to OMG. However the latter offered a much more entertaining balanced and thought provoking critique of organised religion. PK merely attempted to present similar ideas in an alien packaging. The alien angle could have been used effectively to offer an unbiased critique of modern day civilisation. SRays Agantuk did this much more effectively with much less fanfare. Instead it ended up being a superficial attempt to appear different and a flimsy excuse to show off Aamir khans botoxed face, his six pack abs and his ability to speak in bhojpuri. For the first time ever Aaamir khan can give SRK a run for his money in terms of overacting. The film hammered on about organised religion and godmen giving the wrong number. It never acknowledged the role of religion in keeping hope alive and enabling us to deal with the challenges of everyday life. The biggest wrong number is the film itself whose sole intention is to break box office records under the pretext of offering a thought provoking original film. In fact all if offers is a bit of stale wine in a shiny alien looking new bottle.

  52. I understand that the writer has issues with the film. But the presentation and structuring of this review is really problematic. It is more ranting less review. Read Bharadwaj Ranjan’s article if you want to learn how to write about cinema. That guy makes logical statements without ranting.

  53. Just came back from seeing PK. And I wondered whether I was the only one who was disappointed. Glad I found company here.

    Except for the broad idea behind the film, which of course was sensible, there was little else that was. A typical, and irritating, Hindi film – occasionally funny comedy, romance, song and dance, heartbreak, innocence, fantasy, ‘social relevance’, united lovers, chastened fathers — and a very very careful director who knew when and who to offend.

  54. For me the biggest letdown from the movie was the romantic angle between anushka and VK … oops PK 🙂 … seemed forced and unnecessary. Did it add anything to the plot?

    When will we start having mainstream bollywood show the maturity to make a movie that does not need to show ‘romance’ as the only emotion known to the audience

  55. Commenting for the first time here. Saw the movie this week…In a nutshell, I found PK to be a movie with great packaging and a very superficial look at the issues it raised.

  56. I felt that “Oh My God” was much more powerful but in a satirical way and not in preachy way. That was because , OMG had a problem to start with that is suing God for natural disasters , but PK had not such thing. PK randomly goes to places to preach. But I feel everybody ignored OMG becos it was Paresh Rawal and everybody is giving too much importance to PK becos of AK .

    1. “I felt that “Oh My God” was much more powerful but in a satirical way and not in preachy way. That was because , OMG had a problem to start with that is suing God for natural disasters”

      I totally agree.

      The author says that he liked the message of this movie? I wonder What message he is talking about?

      OMG had a solid message. Do not make Gods out of mortals! The part where people will start idolizing paresh rawal’s character was so powerful. That’s why it was snubbed! Because the message in the movie is too clear and honest!

      The bollywood industry is not against organized religion. It just wants to replace GOD (preferably Hindu gods) with their idols. What better way to do that than make propaganda movies like PK.

  57. Kudos for a rib-tickling review! My views are absolutely in tandem with you demented detractors. Nevertheless I am 16 and a self-styled Aamirian but let me assure you I haven’t broken my funny bone and will NOT yell at you. While PK is a sublime example of the Indian media creating too much ado about nothing, your comments on SMJ are downright inhuman.
    1. I strongly feel the show is NOT responsible for a boom in the glycerine industry. Mr Khan is no sympathy seeking crocodile. Call me soppy, mushy and the like but dark, depressing stories on issues as heart-rending as female foeticides, Child Sexual Abuse etc deservedly. warranty stimulation of overactive lachrymal glands like mine. You NEED NOT credit histrionics for that, thank you so much.
    2.The show does not swear by cliches of making change happen in the country; its objective is simply to initiate healthy discussion on oft-veiled vices in you and me. As long as it does that and more, the presenter may be Rajpal Yadav for all I care. Moreover Mr Khan is not one to cash on his superstar persona or swank perfectionism. He is simply playing a mediator from a neutral vantage point. This is what journalism is about. Disagree? You try playing a TV host on DD and I’ll surely watch you because wit beyond measure is sans sugar-coating, your greatest treasure.
    3. You say Mr Khan does not step out of his studio and indulges in armchair activism. Will you ensure his security with some 700-strong fans like myself converting his car into the Black Hole of Calcutta. Don’t get me wrong I’m not gushing.
    Aamir is arguably one of the finest INDIAN actor of his generation. But he’s better than the rest doesn’t mean he’s the best. Right?
    Opprobrium notwithstanding I’ll recommend Earth 1947, Dhobi Ghat and Taare Zameen Par to disappointed Aamir loyalists. But do remember it takes a Deepa Mehta to make a movie like Earth 1947. If you are one, do notify me!

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