Karthik Calling Karthik poster

Karthik Calling Karthik

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

A relaxed pace is used to get into details of the protagonist's relationship with his lover and himself. Unfortunately, they forget that they are supposed to maintain the depth because of which the same pace now seems sluggish.

However, the twist is indeed worth the time because it's not 100% predictable. If nothing else Farhan Akhtar's ace performance is something you will relish for quite a while.

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Director: Vijay Lalwani
Running time: 135 minutes
Genres: Comedy, Thriller
More Movie Info

The good news is that the film doesn't suffer from the first half-second half syndrome. The bad news is that it follows a bell-curve. It starts out real bad, gets very interesting, peaks and ends not only in jiffy but rather sloppily. Fortunately, the film is sprinkled with dialogues that are witty and crisp.

The set-up is ordered with an over-dose of everything - an extra aggressive landlord who asks for extra rent for an extra small place; an extra-ordinarily hostile work environment that immediately reminds you of Rocket singh; an exceptionally mild protagonist Karthik (Farhan Akhtar) who everyone throws around. O-kay, got the point. So low and down is Karthik's life that the only way it can go is up. By now despite all the exaggeration, you begin to care for him. You want him to slap all the people around him - real hard. And he does. 40 minutes of this 140 minuter are done with.

This is when it gets interesting. Obviously, a thriller is a thriller if you can't tell why is the character going through this. But, I like the ones in which you can't tell despite it staring you in the face. Of course, anyone can guess 95% of what's happening, but the next 5% comes as a surprise. Unfortunately, though you should've gone through a "aaaah, like that" moment what you feel is "blah!" when the mystery unfolds.

However, the romantic relationship between Karthik and Shonali (Deepika Padukone) is explored in quite some detail and is extremely engaging. It touches upon girls wanting nice and safe guys to misbehave. :) The contrast between the two characters is set-up nicely too. One avoids mobile phones because for him they were invented to plague his health. The other smokes. One enters the office along with the cleaners, the other around lunch-time. Despite this the romance is believable and done in a jiffy compared to the pace of the rest of the film.

Farhan plays the simple man whose world revolves around his job and his love interest (no rhyming words for nokri aur chhokri in English) to perfection. In my mind, he's still a director, but you see this man act and want to see every project he's involved in. The best bit is when Karthik gets into the loop and falls into a self-fulfulling prophecy. What is confusing to the entire world is plain and clear to him.

Deepika too does a good job of playing out the hesitation Shonali goes through before getting into a relationship And that bit is consistent in the writing too, but then there is nothing more left to explore in the character. Except, at times, she shifts gear as if she's talking to a child. Even the "I love you"s!

The film has an exaggerated tone of gray in the gloomy situations, which makes the use of ambience a bit too in the face. So is the use of the Rubik's cube. True it has been used as a motif and a metaphor for what's happening with Karthik. But these things are supposed to be left to interpretation not shoved down the audience's throat. Let's not even get to the hurried way in which the technical aspects of the subject are handled - in a rush hoping the audience won't notice.

Like I said, I'd watch the film just for Farhan's performance. And don't forget the concept is more than half-interesting. It's just a bit too long and yet left unexplained.

- meeta, a part of the audience

45 reviewers(?) - 21 yays 16 so-so 8 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Beth, Beth Loves Bollywood : ...arhan Akhtar made Karthik sympathetic and somehow quite relateable despite the fantastic situation he was in. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...The subdued scenario called for a more abstract resolution, and the big reveal is too literal. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...It doesn’t take much to guess what is going on, but still, the film is engaging, despite its crawling pace... full review

Thumbs up, by Vivek Syania, Express-oholic : ...Farhan Akhtar - This man has showed us how to direct, produce and now act successfully over different films based on different themes... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Farhan Akhtar is moving from strength to strength as an actor.... full review

Thumbs up, by Prtiam Roy, Gomolo.in : ...Deepika also delivers a much more refined and confident performance, compared to any of her earlier outings. ... full review

Thumbs up, Gyanguru : ...she was looking more mature and at the same time there was a great improvement in her acting as well. Her diction in Hindi has improved considerably.... full review

Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...As an audience, you’re not always two steps behind the script either. But that doesn’t take away from how the film holds you, almost all the way.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shweta Parande, IBN Live : ...Deepika Padukone is as fresh as she was in Love Aaj Kal, and plays her bindaas girl part well. There's not much scope for her in this film to show her acting, but she makes a hot pair with Farhan Akhtar.... full review

Thumbs up, indiaserver.com : ...There are also other interesting faces that are highlighted in the film like Ram Kapoor, Vivan Bhatena, Vipin Sharma, Yateen Karyekar and Shifaali Shah.... full review

Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : .... At the same time he plays with the psyche of the viewer, keeping him guessing about the subgenre of the suspense induced.... full review

Thumbs up, by Amrita, Indiequill : ...Nobody is going to come watch your movies because it gives the warm fuzzy-wuzzies to be reminded of what happened yesterday at the office.... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ... One must confess that the director gives enough clues for a discerning audience to guess what is happening... full review

Thumbs up, by Darshit, Movies Music and Me : ...between those thrilling moments, Director Vijay Lalwani has brilliantly put touchy moments, to show pain of the protagonist... full review

Thumbs up, by Sundaram Kotra, Passion for Cinema : ...let’s just hear it for the director here for not taking the beaten track.... full review

Thumbs up, by Magik, Passion for Cinema : ...The second half is what I may call a pop / simplified / sublime version of No Smoking.... full review

Thumbs up, by Amodini Sharma, Planet Bollywood : ...You’d want a thriller, even a subtle one, to get in your face, and wrest from you your undivided attention. KCK can’t do that, because it’s not a tight, taut package.... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...What follows are suspenseful moments and twists that'll leave you shaken. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...the script is beautifully textured and constructed though the screenplay isn't that good... full review

Thumbs up, by Jina Dcuz, The Road Not Taken : ...Deepika totally fits the ice queen office doll (who is also smart), but I wonder whether she can ever get out of that mould.(Another Aiswarya Rai in the making, I suppose).... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Vijay Lalwani's film is immensely watchable, purely for the class act by Farhan Akhtar in the title role... full review

So-So, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, AOL INDIA : ...an absolute delight if we look into the technicalities of filmmaking.... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...never really steams up into a taut, edge-of-the-seat thriller because of the somewhat laidback pace... full review

So-So, by Roshni Mulchandani, Bolly Spice : ...The transition from hermit to extrovert is inevitably hard for an artist but Farhan does it with great ease... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...Debutante director Vijay Lalwani knows his job well, but he's letdown by his own writing.... full review

So-So, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ...Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music was outstanding. The music sparks. Sanu John Varughese’s cinematography is perfect. Dialogues are catchy.... full review

So-So, by Kshitij Mehta, J.A.M : ...20 minutes into the second half & one is totally gripped waiting for the story to unfold.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...works neither as a romance nor as a thriller... full review

So-So, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...Deepika Padukone is amazingly stylish and looks stunning throughout the movie, however gets little scope to perform... full review

So-So, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ..."Karthik Calling Karthik" is a gripping jigsaw, piecing together a mind that plays games with itself.... full review

So-So, real bollywoood : ...A very hatke concept, Karthik Calling Karthik (KCK) has been stylishly shot like a taut Hollywood thriller... full review

So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...What is remarkable, however, is to witness is Farhan's evolution as an actor. Despite being a fairly visible face in the media, there's something unpredictable about his aura.... full review

So-So, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...some bad writing and corny dialogues, which take away from the edge-of-the-seat thrill that a film like this should give you.... full review

So-So, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Farhan’s chemistry with co- star Deepika Padukone is terrific and it comes out beautifully on the celluloid.... full review

So-So, by Pratim D Gupta, The Telegraph : ...the calls and the caller turn out to be what we call in movie parlance a Macguffin — a plot element that drives the plot of a film but has very little to do with the film.... full review

So-So, by filmbear, Upper Stall : ... It lifts itself from the mires of been-there-done-that and the action shifts with some original writing and an even more (relatively speaking) daring settings... full review

So-So, by SpiceZee Bureau, Zee News : ...Farhan and Deepika make a hot couple and the actress appears fresh and lovely in a short, crisp role... full review

Thumbs down, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...The concluding moments of the movie just turn it into a below average flick and ruin all the brilliant build-up... full review

Thumbs down, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...Why? What? How? The film answers the questions in due time. Only, when it does, you wonder why a round trip was needed to narrate what could have been said in a one-way journey.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Garimella, fullhyd.com : ...If you take that leap, if you let yourself forget all references coming to your mind, you're golden. For the rest of us who have seen this a lot of times, and better done, the film starts devolving into a bizarrely smug joke.... full review

Thumbs down, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...suffers a major crisis about 40 minutes in, then bad turns to worse.... full review

Thumbs down, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...It's earnestly performed by Farhan Akhtar, who is fairly effective but can't bring enough personality and substance to the role to rise above the lame writing,... full review

Thumbs down, by Ajit Duara, Open Magazine : ...The bad thing is that there is this schematic and compartmentalised tone to the film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...At the risk of giving away the film I have to say the most singularly problematic figure is that of the shrink... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Passion for Cinema : ...Then the pyscho-babble comes on thick as a brick. ... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 2 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by komik oyunlar : Komik Oyunlar

Yay! Thumbs Up, by pet meds : johngraham

So-So, by Fsjrvfgakt

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Timid Karthik (Farhan Akhtar) is taken advantage of by all and sundry. It's time he stood up for himself. And so he does, or does he?

What Worked

  • Lovely titles - the flicker in each name along with the soft edits set the tone of the film nicely.
  • The sequence where you see Karthik going through depression.
  • The chemistry between Farhan Akhtar and Deepika Padukone's fingers.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Krathik's dream/nightmare.
  • After years of therapy all Karthik's shrink (Shifaali) can tell him is to stand up for himself. Lady, if he could have done that, wouldn't he have done it already? Please don't tell me that one line triggered the whole scheme.
  • The Ashish-Shonali break-up - ridiculous
  • Shonali wasn't ready to go out with Karthik. But when she is ready, she is ok to be taken away to Khandala!?
  • Even if you digest the dramatic, over-night change in one of the characters given the situation…You want to yell "mummy…!!!" because at that point in the film (that is before you have seen the rest of the film) it's nauseating.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None
  • Language: Mostly clean. Some words imply abusive language but none is used.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Talk about physical relationships. A kiss is implied. Also the women do have some short dresses.
  • Concept: Story of a mentally disturbed person.
  • General Look and Feel: Pretty gray and gloomy through most of the film.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Karthik Calling Karthik - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
135 minutes

Comments (5)

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I dont know but I dont like the movie at all. What is this!

[...comment edited because it gives the movie away...]

is it kind of hostel comedy?

@sunny Thank you. This kind of feedback always means a lot. :)

@dffdf didn't get you? sorry, can you tell me what's confusing?

@Anand I haven't given away anything more than the trailers. Believe me, there's a lot more going on in the film than what is mentioned here. Thank you!!!

@seema no-no. you need to make your own mistakes and learn out of them :P

@Geet Thank you!! at your service now and hopefully always.

A lot of my friends, infact all of my friends except one, were disappointed with the movie. They thought it was obvious. But like you said, it was not 100% obvious the way it happened!

I would agree with your ratings on almost all aspects, and I think it was a good movie simply made. The song has become an earworm for many :)

However, I do not quite think the actors deserved a good rating. Farhan was better than his acts in 'Lucky (or a movie like that)', and Deepika was just about mediocre. Had there been actors with a little more life, they would have rightly deserved 4 out of 5. So there I think you over-rated them to 4.5... but its your review, and your point of view :)

Overall, it was a pretty decent watch, at least for me in a theater.

@Aditto Hey! The movie was certainly above average. I loved Farhan Akhtar's acting, the smart-Alec Karthik must have been easy for him, but the timid one must have taken its toll. And there are some things that Deepika does really well, not all the time necessarily.

Thanks a bunch. Ran across this excellent post when I was googling for these links. Cheers

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