More often than not, religion is a personal matter and a film that touches upon different faiths and questions them is a tricky terrain to navigate.
But the makers of PK, director Raju Hirani and actor Aamir Khan, tackle this sensitive subject deftly with an incredible lightness. They all seem to realise that they are dealing with explosive subjects such as godmen/saints and try their best to break the fall by blending romance and a good dose of quirkiness. But if you are expecting it to be as endearing and laugh-out loud romp as their previous film 3 Idiots, that questioned Indian education system, then you are likely to be disappointed. PK is entertaining in parts but be warned that it also gives you crash course on the various religions practised in India.
Khan is a misfit on planet earth. From a galaxy far, far away, he emerges from a spaceship (flying saucer, what else) buck naked with a glittering medallion round his neck and ears that pop out. The first half of the film is filled with misadventures of an alien trying hard to fit in. Naturally, his chances of survival are slim as earthlings in India confuse him thoroughly with their way of life and beliefs.
In between all this madness, PK morphs into a star-crossed romance between two students in Belgium. Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) is learning TV production when she runs into the incredibly charming Sarfaraz, an architecture student from Pakistan. A modern, succinct Veer-Zaara twist, if you will, between lovers from across borders plays out. But their warm interlude filled with poetry and fun times in the sun is interrupted when Jaggu’s parents threaten to disown her for daring to fall in love with a Muslim from India’s rival Pakistan. Her father immediately enlists the support of a self-proclaimed Hindu godman (Saurabh Shukla) who cautions Jaggu to mistrust her lover’s intentions since he’s from a different faith. That seed of an idea about distrusting mankind is taken forward by Khan.
A good portion of the film is dominated by PK and his quest for divine intervention. Khan is lovable as the inquisitive alien and Sharma gives her career’s most restrained performance as a journalist. She doesn’t veer towards being gratingly chirpy, despite being a go-getter reporter with a nose for news. However, somewhere in between, the film seems to have lost its plot as the viewers are repeatedly bludgeoned about the perils of trusting self-proclaimed saints.
Fortunately, the pace quickens during the climax and things are wrapped up in a neat little package at the end.
PK makes for an entertaining one-time watch. Their hearts are in the right place, but this drama would have benefitted hugely from tighter editing and enhanced screen time for cameo stars Sushant Singh Rajput and Boman Irani. Sanjay Dutt, in an extended cameo as a large-hearted villager, pitches in perfectly.
Watch this film if you are a Khan fan and want to learn a thing or two about religious tolerance without making it a bitter pill for viewers.
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Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma and Sushant Singh Rajput
Star: 3.5 out of 5