Karthik Calling Karthik

Story: Karthik, the proverbial loser, would have passed his life unnoticed but for the phone call which changed his life one early morn. The caller, also calling himself Karthik, teaches our hero how to get the top job, the hot chick, the happening life, until our hero angers him…Is it downhill after that?
Film Review: Rock On, Luck By Chance and now Karthik Calling Karthik…seriously guys, Farhan Akhtar is turning out to be a revelation as an actor. As Karthik, the cube farm animal (read office nobody) who lives a drab life in a drab house doing drab work, he is absolutely stunning. His anguish at being unnoticed, exploited and squashed by all and sundry — both in his personal and professional life — hits you like a sledgehammer. As does his chutzpah, when he metamorphoses into the other, more savvy and socially adept Karthik who may be the nice and safe guy but definitely not the boring guy. Then, it is his quiet confidence and gentle aggression that make you sit up and watch, as he goes about conquering the very worlds that had earlier ignored him. Treat.
But, there’s a third avatar too that Farhan showcases with equal felicity. After winning the love of the girl who hadn’t even noticed him in the last few years and becoming an equal partner in the success of the company where he works, now that he’s forced his khadoos boss to acknowledge his accomplishments, Karthik’s life suddenly takes a turn downhill. His mentor, the other, anonymous phone-caller Karthik, gets livid when his identity is revealed and threatens to turn mean. He spoils all his carefully nurtured relationships and sends the poor, derided soul into hiding once again. This time round, the anonymity is even more painful, as KO-ed Karthik tries to put back his life, piece by piece, minus his evil mentor. Does it work?
It does, At one level. Vijay Lalwani’s film is immensely watchable, purely for the class act by Farhan Akhtar in the title role. Even Deepika Padukone pitches in perfectly as the sassy, uptown girl who has burnt her fingers a bit too much, as do the fringe players like Ram Kapoor and Shefali Chayya. One does wish there was a bit more of the bubbly Ms Padukone, though. Where it doesn’t work is the entertainment factor. The screenplay does tend to get a bit clunky and the drama somewhat heavy as the director looks for text book resolutions of the teasing problem. But, by and large, there is a thrill factor that keeps the momentum on.
In the mood for serious cinema? Watch Karthik Calling Karthik.

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