Karthik Calling Karthik: Loser Karthik, Winning Farhan!
By MovieTalkies.com, 26 February 2010
It's a cinematic call you shouldn't be ignoring. No two ways, Vijay Lalwani makes a rather confident directorial debut with 'Karthik Calling Karthik'. The film is impressive in the manner in which the director manages to tell a very interesting tale indeed, with sufficient elements of thrill in it to keep one engrossed till the end. And the lead actors, especially Farhan Akhtar take that forward and make it an eminently watchable movie. One may or may not agree with the manner in which the film ends, but there is little doubting Lalwani's ability to hook his audience and steer them into the life of his protagonist, Karthik.
Without seeming like overstating, it is Farhan the actor who really steals the show with his portrayal, first of the loser Karthik, and then as his cocky, smart avatar. The actor has a chameleon like ability to get into character, so evident in this movie and is so utterly natural, and goes about his business in such a quiet manner that you don't realise when he has you hooked. In his short acting career, Farhan has impressed with all his roles, be it 'Rock On!!' or 'Luck By Chance', and now 'Karthik Calling Karthik'. It's time audiences took a break from the overrated Khans and focussed their attention on this young Akhtar instead.
The movie details the story of this loser Karthik (Farhan), whose abilities go unnoticed in office, where he is his boss's favourite whipping dog; his love life is the pits, actually he has none, he doesn't have the courage to confess his love for the office hottie, Shonali (Deepika Padukone), and is bullied by his landlord, as well. Mr. Loser Karthik has been visiting a psychiatrist for years, but has not yet been able to crack his problem of not being able to stand up for himself, despite having it all.
Suddenly, one morning he gets a call which changes his life… forever!! All despair about his non descript life goes out the window. In strides a dapper, smart, and confident Karthik, who not only manages to become a partner in the same business where he was treated like a nobody, he wins the heart of the girl who has been looking through him for years, and yes, he even manages to cow down his landlord. The metamorphosis is phenomenal and the one responsible for it is the caller who calls him every day at 5 in the morning and calls himself… Karthik, as well!
A caller, who sounds like him and knows just about everything about him. Life seems hunky dory for Karthik till he breaks the secrecy code imposed on him by the caller Karthik… and all hell breaks loose! He loses his job, his money, his love and runs far away from Mumbai to start his life again, in a nondescript town, in a nondescript office. The rest of the film details whether Karthik can get his dream life back together again or not.
One must confess that the director gives enough clues for a discerning audience to guess what is happening. But he does it so smartly and lulls you into the narrative with such expertise that one goes along willing. Except for the final bit, the film proves to be interesting as Lalwani manages to build up a sense of suspense about the caller Karthik and his identity. The screenplay is taut and extremely well written. The dialogues are a treat as well, as they are contemporary and so everyday stuff, that one can instantly relate to it. Technically, there is little to fault in the movie, as all departments work seamlessly, be it the camera, costumes, music or the background score.
Despite so much going for it, it is one Farhan Akhtar who really is the life of the movie. He is superb as the loser, his body language and tone of speech, all perfectly done. His transformation into this smart confident dude too is a treat to watch. What is most endearing are his flashes of vulnerability when he is with Shonali, the girl of his dreams. And, yes, the chemistry between the two is quite palpable.
In fact, one has rarely seen Deepika sharing such a chemistry with any of her other male co stars. Also, this is the first time that she really impresses in terms of being an actress. She plays the bold, confident and yet vulnerable Shonali very well. The sequence at the bar and then back at her home have been very well handled, indeed. The rest of the cast, specially Ram Kapoor (the boss) and Shefali Shah (psychiatrist) are also quite at par.
In all, 'Karthik Calling Karthik' is a well made movie, which has a story to tell and manages to tell it well. Without a shadow of doubt, Lalwani does make a strong debut with this movie. Success calling Lalwani…