Katti Batti review: Imran Khan is pleasant and earnest, Kangana Ranaut has knocked it out of the park a couple of times while playing feisty, and is capable of mining real emotions even in the fakest of films.
Imagine you are riding an unruly mare that trots, tossing you about, and then, after nearly two hours and 15 minutes of a tumultuous and awful ride, drops you at your destination, safe and sound.
That is exactly what you would experience while watching director Nikhil Advani’s Katti Batti.
A few minutes into ‘Katti Batti’, my jaw dropped. I collected it, with great difficulty, only after the film was over. Because the question—just what IS this?– which popped into my head almost with the first frame got into such a loop that it chased all other coherent thought away.
College kids Maddy aka Madhav Kabra (Imran Khan) and Payal (Kangana Ranaut) slide around each other, he smitten from the first moment he sees her, she busy being flighty and fancy-free, looking for ‘time-pass’ temporariness. He is square and sentimental. She is equipped with masses of curls and a curled lip, and a designer determined to re-write the manual of How To Dress A Quirky Bollywood Chick.
They spend the rest of the film engaged in the most inane of doings, and waste our time most comprehensively and completely. In 2015, we get a professional college ‘in Ahmedabad’ where the students are to be seen doing everything but being taught. The only lines they know how to draw is on each other, which would be fine if they did other stuff which made any sense. But no, what we get is a string of nonsenses.
Kangana and Imran make a lovely, volatile pair. Their on-screen chemistry is palpable.
As far as performances are concerned, the film is Imran Khan’s canvas. His is the only character that is well-etched. His look is reminiscent of the charm of Dilton, the popular character from Archie Comics. Imran is honest, charming and expressively convincing. You like him when he woos his girlfriend, admire him when he sticks to his guns and hate him when he is boorish and callous.
On the other hand, Kangana’s Payal Malhotra comes from a broken family and is an extension of the various roles you have seen the actress perform in her earlier films. She brings nothing new to the table, except for confidently carrying herself off with a plethora of outlandish wigs in the staid role.
Of the supporting cast, Vivan Bhatena is wasted in a bland role as Payal’s ex-boyfriend, Ricky Ahuja. And Manasvi Mamgai as Maddy’s colleague Devika is passable. But the two characters who really stand out with realistic performances are Maddy’s sister Koyal and his friend Vinay.
Imran Khan is pleasant and earnest, but saddled with the silliest of situations. He has been known to lift off the screen when he gets smart one-liners and something to play with, which has happened only in his debut ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’ and, to an extent, in ‘Matru Ki Bijli’. Is this all he can get to prize him out of the professional slump he is in?
Kangana Ranaut has knocked it out of the park a couple of times while playing feisty, and is capable of mining real emotions even in the fakest of films. So it’s no surprise that the couple of bearable moments are hers, toplining a welcome sexually-unshackled spiritedness, and also when she, and the film, turns unexpectedly serious. But does the rest of it have to be so bubbly-‘thodi-si-paagal-ladki’ clichéd?
The script is punctuated with songs that do not elevate the viewing experience. The numbers, save the last, are laborious and make the ears sore. They explain the situation but neither take the story forward nor reveal anything new.
As far as the direction goes, like Nikhil Advani’s other film Hero, this one too is carelessly mounted with all the conviction of formulaic Hindi masala films.
But what the director does not realise is that too much masala could spoil his film, at least for the audience.
Overall, the tragedy of Katti Batti lies in the fault of its director.