AK Vs AK
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Yogita Bihani
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Easily one of the finest Hindi films of the year, and definitely the most unique with a mainstream star in it, AK Vs AK has Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap playing themselves amid heightened emotions, surreal moments and twisted plots. It’s different, enjoyable, trippy and a total blur between reality and fiction.
It all starts when an ageing superstar AK (Anil Kapoor) gets into a heated argument with another AK (Anurag Kashyap), a self-obsessed filmmaker, and Kashyap kidnaps Kapoor’s daughter, actress Sonam Kapoor (Sonam Kapoor). Then begins a chase which, in a way, tries to bring forth the paradoxes of a Bollywood star’s life and how they’re expected to ‘act’ even during the depressing times.
Director Vikramaditya Motwane, whose placements of handheld camera with gloomy surround lighting in Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, impressed me a lot, is in an even better mood here as he gets voyeuristic, sensational and under the skin. I forgot to tell you that Motwane has a representative in Yogita Bihani, Kashyap’s assistant in the film, who is recording Kapoor’s moves.
Of course, some restrains have been maintained but Motwane has stretched till he could as Kapoor and Kashyap flaunt self-deprecating humour almost to the verge of unsettling the viewers. For example, Kapoor taunts Bihani of being Kashyap’s girlfriend, or Harshvardhan Kapoor, Anil Kapoor’s son, trying to impress Kashyap with his acting chops in the middle of a crisis.
The other side of a star life has also been expressed as onlookers keep asking Kapoor to do his famous Ram Lakhan steps, a song that came more than three decades ago. The perception of a Bollywood star as the ultimate public influencer has been challenged. It’s so ironic and tragic to see Kapoor dancing to please the audience in the middle of the search for his missing daughter.
There are enough Kashyap jokes as well, like the one about his brother being the most commercially successful filmmaker in the family. At times, it even attempts to look beyond Kashyap’s tough exterior of being an outspoken, perennially angry person. It’s hard to find out how much of this is ‘acting’. Full marks to Motwane for making his actors comfortable enough to make them visit the dark alleys of their subconscious where there is no right and wrong, only the immediate reaction to clear and present danger.
Interestingly, despite the handheld camera recording everything, it’s not exactly a fly on the wall documentation. The filmmaker has quite strong opinions about many developments. Motwane, in no uncertain terms, pushes his characters to make bold comments about Bollywood, insider versus outsider and lack of resources. Needless to say, such ploys add depth to AK Vs AK.
Kapoor has excelled. It’s funny to even write this because he is playing himself but we don’t know how much of this is not script-bound! Kashyap has once again shown his love for unique material, and he has bared all, sometimes literally. While Harshvardhan Kapoor shines in a cameo, Yogita Bihani also fits the bill.
Another lovely film from Motwane’s repertoire. It reaches where mainstream Bollywood films hesitate to go.