AK vs AK Review By Rajeev Tyagi: Before anything else, let’s address this. Vikram Motwane is a very gutsy director. He always comes with something amazing and different. I was amazed by the beauty and writing of Trapped. I loved Bhavesh Joshi to an extent as well. Udaan and Loteera are just class-apart, and do we need to talk about Sacred Games? He is better then most of the directors in the bollywood industry right now. And, this film is his attempt to experiment with a very tricky format-meta cinema.
What is the film about?
An artsy director from his fragment of imagination pulls out another gritty dark story, and puts it in real life, which is basically reel. How? Let me explain.The director kidnaps the daughter of the (once) superstar bollywood actor, and demands the actor to find his daughter. He lays out three rules, and last of them is, ‘ye camera chalta rahega, chahe samne yamraj kyun na aa jaye’.
Anurag Kashyap is playing the revolutionary arthouse director and Anil Kapoor is playing a (once) Bollywood superstar. Don’t confuse them with the real-life characters, as they are playing their worst versions, the extremes. These two characters display innate narcissism, desperation and shameless attempt to be relevant. You might want to have some information about how Bollywood works, and people in it to get the film in entirety. There are cameos from Boney Kapoor, Harshvardhan Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor etc. and a lot of Bollywood specific one-liners.
What is Meta cinema?
The purpose of art is to take you beyond or make you blend into an alternate reality, and when a film does exactly the opposite then it is the meta-cinema. A film which keeps reminding you that it’s a work of fiction, or it’s self-referential. Like, Deadpool breaking the fourth wall, or people in the film acknowledging that it’s a film. That’s META-CINEMA basically.
What is to like about the film?
As the film progresses, it becomes much more than just another meta-cinema, or an insider joke. The writer duo– Vikram Motwane and Avinash Sampath– talk about the dark side of bollywood, or entertainment. In various scenes in the film, Anil Kapoor is trying to find his daughter before sunrise stops to take selfies as a bargain for information which is hilarious. The cinematography should be appreciated, but it bothered me in some scenes, in particular the chase sequence through the railway station. Motwane always brings out something different and beautiful about Mumbai streets, as he did in Bhavesh Joshi. Alokananda Dasgupta’s brilliant music and background should be looked out for. You will definitely get hooked to the rap songs in the film. Both the AKs were a delight to watch on screen, and one-liners will make you smile, seldom laugh.
What to not like about the film?
But, I think, this is Motwane’s first disappointing venture after Sacred Games season 2. I don’t want to be dick and criticise the film more than it deserves, but it wasn’t a wholesome experiment. The climax was cheesy and predictable. I don’t want to be harsh but the last 20 mins were a burden. In one of the interviews, the director said that they wanted to make a thriller at the core of the film, but for me, it never became a thriller. I was never rooting for Anil Kapoor to find Sonam Kapoor.
All the critics and fans seem to be fascinated by the film, but to me it lacked something. The film started off brilliant, and then lost it. After a point you are appreciating the experiment but not the film. You should watch this film for its newness without a doubt, but nothing more than that. Important to mention, the film is much more than just a feud between two grown men, but between two different schools of thoughts in Bollywood. Enjoy the experiment and advent something new in popular culture. Maybe an optimistic end to 2020.