A still from the movie Karthik Calling Karthik Image Credit: Supplied

As far as wake-up calls for Bollywood thrillers go, Karthik Calling Karthik has set the right tone. The feat of winding a love-story around a mysterious telephone call for more than two hours is no easy task, but the debutante director Ritesh Sidhwani manages to engage.

The first half – where we are introduced to the subservient Karthik and his transformation to a dapper metro-sexual – is gripping. At no point did the conversation become shrill or contrived. The leading pair’s (Farhan Akhtar and Deepika padukone) courtship is refreshingly understated and relatable. For instance, Padukone as the free-spirited Shonali Mukherjee, is a shift from the regular melodramatic Hindi film heroines. It was even OK for the lead actors to be imperfect and not all all-conquering. Watch out for the scenes where Karthik has an emotional breakdown and the eerie session between him and the psychiatrist.

After being subjected to not-so-subtle, O-T-T thrillers such as Bhool Bhulaiyaa, KCK reflects the altering new-age Bollywood landscape.

Having said that, KCK is not entirely faultless. We wish the climax was edited better and more developed. It seemed as if the team was in a hurry to wrap up the conversation. The climax – which should ideally have been the highpoint of the film – seemed like a truncated call.

From the looks of it, the KCK team painstakingly developed the story but failed to keep the momentum going. The film felt like a sales call where the pitch was perfect but the deal fell through in the end. But watch it for the stylish performances from the leading pair who were ably supported by the rest of the cast.