By Neeraj Nanda
AK vs AK; Director Vikramaditya Motwane; Produced by Deepa Motwane; Written by Anurag Kashyap, Avinash Sampath & Vikramaditya Motwane; Music by Alokananda Dasgupta; Starring Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Yogita Bihani, Boney Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Harshwardhan Kapoor, and others.
MELBOURNE, 29 December 2020: I never thought I would see such a 108 minutes Netflix stuff on a less-cold, but boring evening. In fact, initially, AK seemed to me probably AK-47, but it turned out AK vs. AK as a rather real-life docu-confusion laced with an experiential filmi potpourri. The insides of the much-maligned Mumbai movie industry come to the fore with realistic sniping between Anurag Kashyap (AK) and Anil Kapoor (AK). There is no dearth of inside ‘masala’ in the world’s biggest film industry. And, that is what Director Vikramaditya Motwane’s AK vs AK is!
The theme is simple. Anurag Kashyap and Anil Kapoor play themselves as themselves. Anurag gets Anil’s daughter Sonam Kapoor kidnapped and the camera follows Anil desperately searching Sonam across Mumbai. This is a disgraced director Anurag’s journey into the life of a fading (or faded) film star in real life as he grapples around searching for his dear daughter Sonam. Or, maybe, a realistic take of the critical thinking Anurag Kashyap, about the issues faced by declining but famous leading actors in the big bad Bollywood. The theme was taken up in a Pakistani film, but here it is so different.
This one-night movie’s script keeps zig-zagging with the shaking camera (intentional) as Harshvardhan Kapoor along with Boney Kapoor adds the much-needed pepper (or spice) to the Bollywood laid bare omelet. The common people’s adoration with selfie demands and the director-actor verbal duels make the movie-style rarely seen in Indian cinema. I saw this (people after actors) at the many Indian Film Festivals of Melbourne (IFFM), I covered. I suspect, they outwardly frown it, but as one leading actress told me, “Actually we like it.”
Motwane’s meta-cinema minus the Indian film censor’s scissors makes the movie an experimental wonder. The typical Indian filmi style cine-goer may find AK vs AK a riddle struggling with its unusual theme. It clicks. But, then this is also a consequence of the pandemic which made us stay at home and get glued to the streaming services. And the result is before us.
Hats off to the AK vs AK team. Well done.
Three and a half stars out of five. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.
All photos: Netflix