Flash Movie Review: PK

A majority of the residents from the neighborhood I grew up in practiced the same religion. In some ways it was easier because we all celebrated the same holidays and knew what foods to expect for the meals. Notice even at a young age it was all about the food. As I grew up the neighborhood was transformed and became more diversified. Except for one particular gang of kids from the neighborhood, I cannot recall a time where religion was used as an excuse for a particular action. Everyone was treated the same no matter what religion they practiced at home. It was not until I was an adult and out on my own where I saw how some people used religion as a means to manipulate other people. Where I consider religion to be a personal and private matter, I have a hard time understanding someone who uses their religion to explain their actions; but to me some of their actions are questionable. There have been enough examples made public where I do not feel the need to mention them here. In fact, I am a little uncomfortable even talking about this now. However, it is worth it so I can review today’s movie.    STRANDED on our planet P.K., played by Aamir Khan (Like Stars on Earth, Rang De Basanti), asked the most innocent of questions that produced some profound results. It took me a short time to get my bearings with the story in this satirical fantasy about organized religion. There were multiple story lines that eventually began to merge together. I am familiar with Aamir’s work and this role was different for him. Despite not being a fan of slapstick humor, I did appreciate the character he was portraying. Included in the cast was Anushka Sharma (Wedding Planners, Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl) as Jagat Janani a/k/a/ Jaggu, Sanjay Dutt (Mission Kashmir, Lage Raho Munna) as Bhairon Singh and Saurabh Shukla (Slumdog Millionaire, Barfi!) as Tapasvi Maharaj. If one is not familiar with Bollywood films, it is important to pay attention to the songs being sung because they play a part in moving the story forward. An interesting side note, this film’s running time was 2 1/2 hours; halfway through the movie the screen went dark and up popped the word “intermission.” It lasted a few seconds then the picture continued on. Back to the slapstick comedy, I think it colored my feelings towards everyone’s acting abilities. However the strength of the story, with its proposals and variables, carried me through the entire movie. Add in a couple of twists and I felt this film did a wonderful job in taking the subject of religion and presenting a non-offensive, thought provoking, solid piece of work. Hindi and Bhojpuri language was spoken with English subtitles.

 

3 stars

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About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on January 8, 2015, in Foreign and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Last week I saw the film and I was disappointed… 😦

    • Sad to hear it. What were you expectations if I may ask?

      • In previous films Mr Raju Hirani has set the Benchmark but this was not even near to those films. And the characterization of Lead was quite weird I felt even the plot of the film was not original the story line was going same as another film : Oh My God.. So this time God Concept did not appeal to me that much.

      • Thank you for explaining your reaction to this film, I appreciate it. Also, since this is my first time experiencing Mr. Raju, I will seek out another of his films and the one you mentioned, Oh My God. Once again, thank you.

  2. Great review. An intelligent film which raised the right questions. It takes guts to make a full blown commercial flick based on a theme like this. Earlier on, OMG had done a similar thing but was restricted only to Hinduism. Here, quite a few religions are covered. One can readily understand as to why some people have suddenly turned intolerant towards PK. The way it has set the box office tingling, the public has surely approved of it.

  3. I will have to seek this one out, and apparently OMG too. While watching, I couldn’t help but think the actor looks like Mr. Bean! Same mannerisms as well. I’m glad to hear the movie is well-received by large numbers, because we humans need to get better at having discussions about religion.

    • You are so right Crystal; it seems as if the discussion of religion these days comes from a wrong/right or bad/good background. If you get to see this film, I would enjoy hearing your views on it. Thank you for the comments.

  4. We saw this movie first day, first show as we were eagerly waiting for the movie. And must tell you, we were not at all disappointed.

    Coming from India, i have seen the diversity of religion and the way it gets manipulated often with its dogma and obsolete rituals. I am glad that the director and the writer did a wonderful job to convey the essence of the story in a more satirical form. If the religion preachings cannot move forward, its better to shed it. Religion should be progressive and should connect hearts, than create guilt and animosity among communities.

    After watching the movie, i just hoped that people just did not watch the movie but took its message back home and imbibed in their daily practices. Only then such attempts will bear fruit to make this world a better plan to live in for everyone.

    Loved your review. 🙂

    • As some people say, “from your mouth to God’s ears,” regarding in making this world a better place. I am so thrilled you commented on this film; I was hoping for a wide group of individuals to share their experience in seeing this film. The reason being there was only 1 theater showing this film and when I walked into the theater, everyone stopped and looked at me. In a way that said, what in the heck are you doing here to see an Indian film. lol Thanks again for your comments.

  5. The team which made Oh My God (OMG) was totally different, it was not a Rajkumar Hirani movie but was directed by Umesh Shukla. I’d consider OMG as a much better movie covering similar topic. If you wish to see a better Rajkumar Hirani directed movie you should watch 3 Idiots or one of the Munna Bhai (Munna Bhai MBBS/ Lage Raho Munna Bhai).

    I watched the movie with a large family group consisting of 1 month old to 70 years young extended family members 🙂 and we all had a good time. The comedy is slapstick and poorer than other Rajkumar Hirani movies, the songs, unfortunately, were also not as good. No one other than Aamir Khan got the opportunity for character development. The initial part and comedy on religions were okay but in the later half of the movie, it became too preachy and focused solely on ridiculing Hindu religion – maybe because its would be suicidal for the filmmaker to make fun of Islam or Christianity in India.

    The film did generate some controversy in India, which actually helped it to became the highest grossing movie ever in India, despite being a mediocre movie. It seems like the agitation and demand for ban against the movie by fringe elements helped in generating curiosity and marketing the movie well.

    Unlike you, I grew up in mix religion neighborhood, in India it is pretty common, though Hinduism is the majority religion, the constitution of India is secular in nature, and there is complete freedom to practice whichever religion one wishes to follow. In contrast to the western concept of Secularism (equal distance from all religions in public life), the Indian concept of secularism is equal respect to all religions in public life. There are two ways of ensuring harmony in the society – 1) By giving complete freedom of expression and the Right to offend to everyone or 2) By ensuring respect for all different faiths and belief systems. India is a religious country, and we were taught from early childhood to respect all religion, not to ridicule anyone. This tradition continues even today. Because of the extremely tolerant nature of Hinduism, it is possible to criticize it, make fun of traditions or those who believe in them.

    India is going through a lot of changes presently, the struggle for development is compounded by all different religions trying to become more and more assertive. Aggressively promoted religions like Christianity and Islam target other faiths which are passive in nature (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahai, Parsi, Jew, etc.). Missionaries funded by Church/ western countries lure the Hindus to convert to Christianity. Muslims are increase their number by adopting family planning techniques, multiple marriages (marrying Hindu women then converting them to Islam) and having large families. Films like PK are which focus mainly on making fun of Hindu religion tend to became part of the Christian/ Muslim propaganda for religious conversions. Even this is no reason to target any movie, book, cartoon, etc. and most Hindus do not have any problem with the movie as such. I personally believe it was just one aspect of movie marketing, to start a controversy to generate more interests. PK wasn’t banned anywhere in India though Da Vinci Code and Passion of Christ were banned in some parts of India and Statanic Verses is still banned across India…

    Sorry for moving from movie review to a serious discussion on religion within one comment. Its always nice to read your neutral assessment of movies as you cover such diverse movie genre :-). Thanks a lot and best wishes for 2015…

    • No need to apologize; I am quite taken that you took the time to present your views on this movie. Interestingly enough I recently had a discussion with a few friends where we talked about the religions that seek out other people to convert vs those religions that remain passive. In light of the recent times I can appreciate even more the right of free speech. Also thank you for listing the span of ages who watched this film; I am always curious to hear what a movie attracts for viewers. Thank you for your kind words and once again for sharing a part of yourself with the rest of us. I hope I am correct when I say to you, namaste.

  6. Never heard of this film and not being even the teeniest bit religious I probably would have looked right over and not given a 2nd glance. thanks for the good review and making it seem like something I might now try to catch.

    • Hi Peggy, Like you I had no idea what this movie was about; I actually try going into the theater totally blind. Since I had seen everything else at the theater, I figured I would give this a try. If you do see it I would appreciate hearing your views on it. Thanks for the comments.

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