PK (2014) #SherylPuthur


Directed By: Rajkumar Hirani

Written By: Abhijat Joshi; Rajkumar Hirani


Aamir Khan – PK

Anushka Sharma – Jagat “Jaggu” Janani Sahni

Sushant SinghRajput – Sarfaraz Yousuf

Boman Irani – Cherry Bajwa

Saurabh Shukla – Tapasvi Maharaj

Sanjay Dutt – Bhairon Singh

Parikshit Sahni – Jayprakash Sahni

Language: Hindi                                            Genre: Satirical Comedy-Drama

Hirani’s PK has been in the news for being controversial for its take on religion but I think PK can be considered revolutionary for other portrayals.

The premise of PK revolves on the idea that PK (Aamir Khan) is an alien from another ‘gola’ who arrives naked except for a rather garish ‘locket’ that is actually his remote – a transmitter that connects him to his spaceship. In a predictable turn of events, a poor Indian, desperate to make a quick buck, flicks the green locket and makes a dash for it, leaving PK with no hope of return.

Thus begins his efforts to first understand the culture, the language and the norms of the people. The discourse on language and its nuances is quite interesting. Words can mean different things depending on it context which ties up with the fact that words make up only 7% of our communication. The rest is body language and intonation, which can also be cultural. Which means it can be easily misunderstood.

Now PK’s locket is transformed into a religious symbol by Tapasvi Maharaj (Saurabh Shukla), a guru who has been tainted by his power and does make rather bigoted statements. So PK teams up with Jaggu (Anushka Sharma) and Cherry (Boman Irani), to fight against the blind fundamentalism that dominates religion and mainly takes on Tapasvi Maharaj.

Through this entire section, there is much on fundamentalism, blind aping of rituals, the biases within us about ‘others’ as well as the extreme emotional attitude that accompanies religion. One thing I did take back is the thought that we see God as the Supreme Being who created us, yet we fight to defend Him. The irony.

But while it is a refreshing new perspective (after all, it is a humanoid alien giving us insight into our internal madness) – it is didactic.

The film seems instructive like a street play – bringing awareness and dispelling ignorance. And that can get a little tedious especially when it is already an ongoing debate that people are aware of. But yes, there are sections of our population that are ignorant. The humour of the film was innovative – ‘dancing cars’, the various mishaps but an overplayed joke ceases to be funny. You can laugh the first few times but at the fifteenth time, it is all you can do to stretch your lips into a ghost of a smile. Even the song sequences – they are like advertisement breaks in the narrative, disrupting the flow of the film.

However, the penultimate scene is the one I consider utterly beautiful and revolutionary. It is what I have dubbed ‘The Phone Call’ which is an apolitical dialogue between India and Pakistan. It is almost like the didactic discourse of the entire film is to deliver this knockout blow. It is of course, Indian cinema at its most surreal, imaginative and dramatic best. And I feel if you step into the theatre to watch PK, this scene makes it worth it.

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) #SherylPuthur


Directed By: Juan Jose Campanella

Written By: Eduardo Sacheri; Juan Jose Campanella


Ricardo Darin – Benjamin Esposito

Soledad Villamil – Irene Hastings

Pablo Rago – Ricardo Morales

Javier Godino – Isidoro Gomez

Guillermo Francella – Pablo Sandoval

Mariano Argento – Romano

Carla Quevedo – Liliana Coloto

Language: Spanish                                                     Genre: Crime Thriller


To see The Secret in Their Eyes as only a crime thriller would be limiting and hence it would be hard to justify the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. To say it was about loss, regret, guilt and most definitely love would come closer to the truth.

The film starts off with a man writing out a story. He is visualising his scene with painstaking detail. It is an ordinary breakfast vividly described because it is the last breakfast Ricardo Morales (Pablo Rago) and Liliana Coloto (Carla Quevedo) shared before she was found raped and murdered. And he is unable to write it.

We then realise, the writer is Benjamin Esposito (Ricardo Darin), a retired investigator and that this was a cold case that stayed with him at the end of his career. The irony is, he is trying to play the omniscient narrator of events that he is not entirely sure how they unfolded. Plus, it is a series of events in which he played a decisive role, so there is no objectivity despite the distance in time.

He approaches the judge who worked on the case with him, Irene Hastings (Soledad Villamil) to discuss his doubts, the subtle melancholia (writers are very lonely people) and his troubles writing. She advises him to start either with the memory he recalls most vividly, since this was 20 years ago or to start at the very beginning.

Largely, the film comes to us in flashbacks and there is a hint of something more than a brutal homicide that drew Esposito to write about that case, especially when we see that the ‘vivid memory’ for him was not Lilana Coloto’s brutalised body but meeting Irene Hastings for the first time. So the film does talk about how memories are much more vivid because we recall minute details as compared to the present, that seems rather plain. The colour palette of sequences in the past are brighter, pointing to the vividness of the memory.

The beauty of the film is that it does not let you dwell on those moments of shock, despair, revulsion because life is made of varied moments so that you could be having a terribly boring day and then walk into a disturbing homicide. And just when it seems that your whole day is marred by that moment, you meet that person you have a soft corner for and everything darker gets blunted.

The film is not a whodunit. Esposito, Sandoval and Hastings know the murderer and have the confession. It is a question of justice being meted out. It is about regret because Esposito revisits this ‘event’ in his life because he knows what Morales did to keep his wife’s memory alive and to see she received justice. But he, on the other hand gave up on the woman he loved, too easily.

And if the film is about the unpredictability of life, then the penultimate moment of the film will throw you off because of what it reveals about the human psyche.