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?PK?...Mildly bubbly!

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MUMBAI: The expectations from PK would, naturally, be as high as director Raju Hirani?s three earlier classic hits, the Munnabhai two and 3 Idiots have built. The basic theme remains the same: that of delivering a full-fledged sermon. If 3 Idiots was on education, PK serves to be a satire on the exploitation perpetuated in the name of religion by self-styled god men. This is not a mean thing to achieve for a believer, which most of us in India are. We can?t reject our God hence Hirani seeks outside help.

Aamir Khan is an alien who has been sent by his people to do a research on earthlings when they realised people similar to them exist on earth. Aamir?s folks on his planet do not believe in covering their naturally given body by outer layers like clothes and, hence, he lands in the far flung desert of Rajasthan totally nude. The only thing on his body is a pendant tied around his neck which is his remote to contact his spaceship when he is ready to return to his home planet.

As Aamir lands he sees an earthling near railway tracks who also gives him his first experience with the ways of earth people. This stranger tugs at his pendant and makes a run for it getting on to the running goods train. Aamir proceeds to the nearest town where he steals clothes from intimate lovers making it out in parked cars; money comes along in wallets of the stolen clothes and when it falls short there is always a blind beggar around to steal from.

In the town, Aamir comes across Sanjay Dutt, a helpful soul. Aamir has no language because on his planet people communicate mind to mind. He tries to grab hands of every woman he sees. Sanjay thinks Aamir is in a need of a woman and takes him to a whorehouse where he holds her hands for a few hours and transfers her vocabulary to himself. 

Sanjay tells him that to find his remote; Aamir will have to go to Delhi where costly stolen goods are sold. However, not knowing where to start looking for his remote, he is told that only God can help him find his lost property. Aamir sets out in search of God but soon realises that different people hold different beliefs. He alternates between mandir, masjid and church in an attempt to find the real God. While his attempts create funny situations, it also conveys the hypocrisy as well as the contradictions of various faiths.

When a god man or a politician has to be exposed, a TV reporter in the story has become sort of mandatory. Here Anushka Sharma is the one. Her assignment is to ?report? a story on a suicidal puppy! That is when she spots Aamir doing his antics and always on the run as he keeps offending people of some religion or the other. She thinks there is a huge story here to which her boss, Boman Irani, does not agree. Anushka devotes her working hours and more to be with Aamir.

The search for his remote leads Aamir to a God man, Saurabh Shukla. Saurabh has bought the remote from the man who stole it and is passing it off as bead that fell from Lord Shiva?s Damroo. He declares to his devotees that God wills him to build a massive temple for this bead. This is his way to extract funds from his devotees. Anushka has an axe to grind with the Swami. Her parents are blind followers of Saurabh and she holds him responsible for breaking her romance with a Pakistani boy, Sushant Singh Rajput, while they are studying in Belgium.

She joins Aamir in exposing Saurabh. While Aamir only wants to prove that Saurabh?s communication with God is reaching ?wrong number?, Anushka knows Aamir will unwittingly expose Saurabh to be a fraud. In a series of TV reports, Anushka manages to unmask all god men of all religions leading to a finale where Aamir and Saurabh come face to face on a TV debate. Anushka gets her love back, Aamir gets his remote and Saurabh loses everything.

PK does not quite bear the Raju Hirani stamp; while the script holds well through the first half and is fairly entertaining, its loses steam as the film proceeds into second half. While becoming a sermon on frauds operating as god men, the subject is dealt with at length and with better effect in OMG: Oh My God, which came out not very long ago. The end is rather tame until it brings Aamir back for the concluding scene. Raju Hirani is in his element but the script holds him back to some extent. Also, the film does not have a full-fledged romantic track. The film has a fairly good musical score with couple of hummable songs in Dil darbadar.... and Chaar kadam..., the others being thematic. The film needed some trimming for sure.

Aamir has to carry this film singularly on his shoulders and, being an alien, with limited expressions. However, he manages to put in a great performance conveying the innocence he is supposed to. Anushka Sharma is good. The others have bit roles with Sushant exuding great charm, Boman being his usual self and Sanjay having nothing much to do. Saurabh?s character is not properly etched.

PK has been released on a massive scale with enhanced admission rates and Christmas holidays to follow soon, which would aid it to a great extent to overcome its comparison with Hirani?s earlier films.

Producers: Vinod Chopra, Raju Hirani.

Director: Raju Hirani.

Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sanjay Dutt, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla. 

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