In defence of ‘Katti Batti’

I am surprised film critics have trashed the film, except my friend and ex-colleague. “Watch ‘Katti Batti’ if you are a sucker for everything romantic,” Anuja Jaiman wrote in Scoopwhoop website.

Jammy, as she is famously called by friends and enemies alike, thanks for the review, woman. I realised how much I enjoy sappy romances. Had it not been for your unpretentious writing – ‘Katti Batti’ is almost a cute love story, for example – I wouldn’t have bothered about the film.

I wonder how old those Bollywood writers are, who either found the film a “comprehensive and complete waste of time”, or “trying too hard to be cool” and or the fact that it’s nowhere close to “a romantic comedy.”

Sorry people, but it seems you miss the point that we are living in an age of perpetual confusion. We – I mean those in their 20s or maybe early 30s – are confused about everything, from jobs to love to what we want from life. And these days all we want to do is figure out “stuff”. We can’t get over the past and we keep thinking of the future and eventually fuck up our present.

Remember ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’? A film that had a random love triangle, random dialogue and random everything. That’s the present generation. We say multiple things and do multiple things and end up in a vicious circle.

So when Madhav (Imran Khan) in ‘Katti Batti’, who is stuck in a time warp, can’t get over every moment of his five-year live-in relationship with Payal (Kangana Ranaut), it is understandable. That he clings to the turtle Milkha (a memory of his ex-girl friend), and a twenty-rupee note that has her mobile number scribbled on it is also understandable. That every moment of his fucked up life reminds him of his past with her is, well, also understandable. Shit happens ya!

And, I didn’t mind the umpteen digressions either.

I thought Khan, the limited actor that he is, was sincere. Ranaut, with the baggage of stupendous critical acclaim of ‘Queen’ and ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’, was vague, for the lack of a better word. My biggest problem with her, despite her brilliant acting skills in those two films, is the sameness with which she does all her roles.

“Katti Batti’s” sappiness reaches its peak in the last hour, when we get to know that the heroine – hold your breath – has cancer and is going to die soon. And that’s why she drives Madhav up the wall so he can dump her, which he eventually does and finds himself in a colossal emotional mess. He whines throughout the story because he wants her truly madly deeply and that is the film’s mainstay.

Nikhil Advani, dude, what’s with your obsession with death? You did the same in ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and ‘Salaam-e-Ishq’. I bet you have the same make-up artists and I bet they haven’t changed their kit either in all these years!

And yet, the last part of the film is moving, very moving, and it’s especially stark when Advani shows Payal’s deteriorating health and her end during a party. The actors are not intense, but it’s a job well done.

I couldn’t pay attention to the flaws, if there were any. After all, I am no film reviewer.

“The ending does leave you contemplating about life and love, for a few moments,” Anuja wrote in her review. Indeed, the climax makes you think how much you’re willing to give in love and how much you can receive.

My last word: don’t let critics decide whether you should watch a film or not. Use your mind or heart, whatever works for your better.

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Ankush Arora

Delhi boy; dreamer, nature lover, photographer. Development communications professional. Ex-Reuters, NDTV. This is a personal blog.

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