Akshay, Kareena smoulder in comically chaotic ‘Kambakkht Ishq’ (IANS Film Review; Rating: ***)

July 4th, 2009 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Akshay Kumar By Subhash K. Jha
Film: “Kambakkht Ishq”; Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor; Director: Sabbir Khan; Rating: ***

There’s no business like show-off business. And “Kambakkht Ishq” has plenty to show off. Fabulous Hollywood locales, Hollywood icons like Sylvester Stallone and Brandon Routh doing cameos and above all, crackling and smouldering chemistry between the film’s lead pair.

Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor make a super glamorous couple. Even when they’re ready to bite off each others’ heads, call each other names and scream like a double-banshee delight at a horror festival, there is just no way the compatibility of the combo can be repeated … even by them.

Indeed if the supreme silliness of the plot in “Kambakkht Ishq” works it’s because of Akshay and Kareena’s glorious goofiness. The lead pair, never in better form, gets into the grandly caricaturish groove effortlessly and convincingly.

For Akshay and Kareena it’s hate at first sight. They pass sexist remarks about the opposite sex loud enough for the other to hear. They continuously carp about the vices of being of the opposite sex in a world polluted by bigotry and gender bias. Goodness, these two despicable creatures deserve each other!

The battle of the sexes is loud and aggressive, designed to create a cacophony of conflicts that leave us reeling in stupefied embarrassment.

Sure, we’ve seen other films about a goofy man and stuck-up woman who can’t stand each other. But none so engrossed their own self-serving hemispheres.

Seemingly rudderless and often risque, “Kambakkht Ishq” is a film that doesn’t endear itself with its plot. It’s all about the styling often at the cost of what most moviegoers think of as substance.

But there is no real substance in “Kambakkht Ishq”. The storyline is wispy slim and the gasbag gags are as cheesy as the goofy grin that Akshay wears like second skin. The veneer of vivacity seldom falls off, though admittedly some episodes wear us out with their svelte jibes at that old and baffling thing called the man-woman relationship.

The film is a no-holds-barred gender war - tangy, spicy and supremely smug in its silliness. And Akshay’s character slowly realises that there’s more to love than scoring.

The farce fest miraculously manages to sustain the mood of zany fun most of the way. But some episodes like Boman Irani’s cameo appearance as a shrink fall flat.

But as far as eye-catching locales and protagonists go, “Kambakkht Ishq” goes a long way. The Akshay-Kareena pair just makes you stare. And if you are into clothes and accessories you could spend an evening with “Kambakkht Ishq” just checking out what Kareena wears and how well she carries it off.

Akshay’s comic timing has now been honed to a fine art. He invests his completely caddish character’s personality with a frank and fearless arrogance that borders on megalomania but finally settles on being plain outrageous.

Kareena matches him step by step. Just because she looks like a million bucks doesn’t mean her performance is cosmetic too. Her satirical expressions as a man-hater are to die for.

Debutant director Sabbir Khan knows how to bring out the beast in his characters and milks the outrageous situations for all their mirth. Somewhere in this jokey binge of gender wars, Sylvester Stallone pops up for two of the film’s most arresting sequences.

But ‘Superman’ Brandon Routh is utterly wasted.

Where else but in Bollywood would Routh come across such a farcical feast designed in a slick-flick format where the hero is operated on by a supermodel who moonlights as a surgeon and leaves a watch in the hero’s stomach?

The watch chimes a Hindu mantra into Akshay Kumar’s ears ad nauseum. He’s of course maddeningly annoyed. We’re by then beyond that point.

Applaud this film for its audacity, vivacity and energy. And please don’t look for a reason behind the comic chaos. Some things are not meant to mean anything beyond what they seem. This film is a marvel of packaging.

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