Karthik Calling Karthik

Karthik Calling Karthik
Cast:Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone, Shifaali Shah, Ram Kapoor

Director :Vijay Lalwani

Rating: *

'Karthik Calling Karthik' is actually two films. One, an office romance between a colourless drone and a beautiful colleague who notices him only when the boss lashes out at him in public. And the other about a guy who hears voices in his head and gets strange phonecalls from someone who claims to be him. Karthik calling Karthik, geddit?

It could have been one film if first time director Vijay Lalwani had kept the writing and the tone consistent as he went about building the plot points. But there's really no steady progression, just staccato sequences where Karthik ( Akhtar) and Shonali ( Padukone) go from happy to fractious within nanoseconds.

Akhtar may not have played this specific character before, a timid fellow who wears his heart on his sleeve and gets bullied by his boss ( Kapoor), but he comes across pretty much as he did in his earlier acting gigs. Could this be the extent of his range? And just what is it with Bollywood bosses? First it was the mean and vicious one in `Rocket Singh', and now this one, who is equally nasty. Padukone is gorgeous-looking, but unreal as an ambitious architect : not once is she seen labouring over a plan ; all she does is check mail once in a while, and talk about how all men are dogs. But the one who is most unfairly done against is Shah as the sympathetic shrink, in glasses-large notepad- pencil, talking about the `conscious and subconscious brain', and spouting such lines as " the mind can be a very twisted thing".

The background score is superb, though. Go listen to this movie, and once in a while, watch it, to admire Ms Padukone in what passes for office garb.

shubhra.gupta@expressindia.com

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