Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Kambakkht Ishq: You have to see it to believe it
A feeling of numbness and disbelief is not uncommon after a movie-watching experience. Sometimes you are awed by the sheer vision of the director or the depth of a particular performance. Sometimes, it is a thought expressed, or an expression that stays with you.
Yes, there is no other word for it. This extremely expensive film, with cameos by Hollywood stars and flashy fight sequences, isn’t quite the entertainer it promised to be.
Akshay Kumar is Viraj Shergill, a stuntman in Hollywood who likes to play the field. Aftab Shivdasani plays his younger brother, Lucky, who falls in love and gets married to Kamini (Amrita Arora).
Kareena Kapoor plays Simrita Rai, Kamini’s best friend and a part-time model and medical student who has a militant hatred of men, believing that they want “only one thing.”
Of course, in the tradition of Bollywood love stories, Viraj and Simrita hate each other at first sight and indulge in some mindless bickering in the first half.
There are also mindless song sequences, some corny double meaning innuendos, and jokes which lack punch and are often offensive — especially to women.
Then, to make matters worse, Viraj meets with an accident on the sets and ruptures his intestines. Guess who gets to operate on him? Yes, you guessed right.
So when Simrita operates on our hero, she mistakenly leaves behind a watch in his body.
Viraj walks out of the hospital with a watch lodged near his intestines and our heroine is left wondering how she can get him back on the operating table and get rid of the offensive object without being sued.
This is the problem the film focuses on in the second half of the film.
Hollywood actors Sylvester Stallone puts in an appearance as himself in two scenes as does Bond girl Denise Richards.
Richards even agrees to marry Viraj, before she is unceremoniously dumped for Kareena in the climax. And don’t miss the scene in which all of Hollywood stands up for “India’s national anthem” in the Kodak theatre. It’s hilarious, especially because it isn’t meant to be.
Of the performances, Jaaved Jaffrey and Boman Irani play some of the most mindless roles in film history. Kirron Kher, (who has perfected the loud, Punjabi mother act by now), hams it up as Kareena’s aunt and Aftab Shivdasani and Amrita Arora look like they would rather be home asleep in bed than on the sets of this film.
Kareena Kapoor is stuck with what is barely a role, and though she tries hard to pull it off, you feel no sympathy for her character. But it is Akshay Kumar who is the real disappointment.
Here is an actor who has managed to pull off some of the most badly written roles of recent times — whether “Welcome” or a “Singh is Kinng” — he manages to look good in a bad film.
In “Kambakkht Ishq”, his magic fails and his famed penchant for humour is nowhere to be seen.
This is a movie that is so bad, you have to see it to believe it. So go buy tickets.