Bizarre has a new meaning and it's called Kambakkht Ishq. Of late, Akshay Kumar has earned the reputation of making you laugh in film after film. You expect Kambakkht Ishq, his new outing, to transport you to ha-ha-land, given the smart-n-chic promos of the film. Kambakkht Ishq belongs to the same family of films which have wooed the masses, such as Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Welcome, Singh Is Kinng and Golmaal Returns. The prime motive is to entertain you for the next 2 hours, logic be damned.
Yet, Kambakkht Ishq is different because it depicts the battle of the sexes, a theme that's rarely depicted on the Hindi screen. The lingo is poles apart, so is the attitude. In fact, this is a modern take on relationships, with the two hours divided between laughter and emotions, frivolous and reality.
Let's get this straight. Kambakkht Ishq works in most parts thanks to the kind of star power and energy that the two actors pack in -- Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor. It would've been difficult to hold the film from falling apart had the two actors not been competent enough to carry off their respective parts. Also, the presence of Hollywood stars -- Sylvester Stallone, Brandon Routh and Denise Richards -- the first on the Hindi screen, is an added bonus. 1 pe 2 ka offer; Bollywood stars ke saath Hollywood free!
The focus is on the entertainment quotient. There are moments when you laugh so uncontrollably that it gets embarrassing and there are times when you continue smiling, even during the most ordinary scenes. But Kambakkht Ishq dips in its second hour because you expect it to be as frivolous as the first hour, but it changes tracks and gets emotional. Things would've gone wrong had the end stumbled and fumbled, but it doesn't. The finale, in fact, takes the film back to the level that one expects from a film of this magnitude.
To sum up, Kambakkht Ishq offers you value for time and also, value for money. It offers loads of entertainment in those 2 + hours, loads of glamour in those 130 odd minutes, from start to end. Sure, there are blemishes, but they're trivial when you look at the larger picture. Kambakkht Ishq explores the relationship between two individuals who are as different as chalk and cheese. Viraj [Akshay Kumar] is a stuntman in Hollywood, who lives by the mantra 'women are only good for two things'. Simrita [Kareena Kapoor] is a firebrand who is more than able to stare down the most arrogant male with her caustic wit and sardonic tongue.
So what happens when the two people who hate each other the most meet at Simrita's best friend Kamini's [Amrita Arora] and Viraj's brother Lucky's [Aftab Shivdasani] wedding? A wedding that both Viraj and Simrita are violently opposed to and desperate to stop. Sparks fly... the battle of the sexes in on.
Director Sabbir Khan's motive is simple: Entertain for the next 2 hours. The entire first hour moves at a lightening speed, making you enjoy the war of words between Akshay and Kareena at regular intervals.
The first half abounds in terrific moments, but I'd like to single out at least three...
* One, the church wedding of Aftab and Amrita. When the battle lines are drawn.
* Two, the sequence at the operation table, when Akshay spots Kareena.
* Three, the interval point. The pendant connection. Howlarious sequences all!
The post-interval starts with a bang, with Akshay hearing the 'Om Mangalam' chant just about everywhere -- while sleeping, in the shower, in the rest room, even at an award function. The award function sequence is a double whammy. You get to watch Stallone and also the scene is superbly structured, executed and enacted.
Things are smooth sailing till the emotional angle comes up. The narrative dips in those 20 odd minutes. The mood suddenly shifts from laughter to sadness. The makers may argue that a twist in the tale is justified from the writing point of view, since the emotional track is vital for any love story, but the fact remains that one does miss the entertainment quotient here. In fact, the dip in the second hour erodes, to a large extent, the impression that the first half had built so magnificently.
Director Sabbir Khan picks up a theme that may catch you by complete surprise, but marinates it in entertainment, garnishes it well and presents it like never before. The review would be incomplete if we failed to highlight the grandiose look and the lavish production values thanks to the no-holds-barred expenses by producer Sajid Nadiadwala. Each frame looks ostentatious and glitzy.
Music is up to the mark, with three interesting tracks -- 'Om Mangalam' [RDB], 'Lakh Lakh' and 'Bebo' [Anu Malik]. Cinematography [Vikas Sivaraman] is magnificent, with the DoP doing complete justice to the production values. Kambakkht Ishq belongs to both, Akshay and Kareena. Akshay is dynamic this time. He received a lot of flak for Chandni Chowk To China and there was this nagging feeling that the negativity would spill over to Kambakkht Ishq. But Akshay is in terrific form here and delivers, without a shred of doubt, a bravura performance. If you loved him in Namastey London and Singh Is Kinng, you'd fall in love with Akki and his comic timing all over again this time.
Kareena left an indelible impression in Jab We Met and creates a similar impact, albeit in a different role. Her role has shades of 'Poo' in K3G, but the glam looks combined with that rare confidence takes this performance to dizzy heights. Clearly, Kareena is miles ahead of her contemporaries as far as talent goes and this film proves it yet again.
Aftab and Amrita are perfect for their parts. Vindu Singh supports well. Javed Jaffrey doesn't make a mark because the role has no connection with the main plot. Kirron Kher is getting typecast. Boman Irani is hilarious in that lone sequence. Stallone, Brandon Routh and Denise Richards are well integrated in the narrative.
On the whole, Kambakkht Ishqwill strike a chord with the youth and those who relish zany and madcap entertainers. The first half is tremendous, while the second half takes a dip, with the film picking up towards the climax. At the box-office, the film will see an earth-shattering opening weekend and a historic Week 1. It remains to be seen how this film fares in its second weekend/week, given the massive number of screens it has opened globally [2,000 +]. However, the timing is most appropriate [the viewer is thirsting for a biggie] and the hype is tremendous, which should prove very advantageous for the film.