Every average movie should have three parts. The setup, the conflict and the resolution. And it is not enough for the average movie to have these three sections. The fourth and the most important element is to have the audience invest their emotions in the proceedings. 'pk' is an average movie that does not have a proper setup, the conflict is something entirely different from the setup and the resolution is a red herring. Consider the set up - it is about finding god. The conflict apparently turns to calling the bluff off godmen dialing 'wrong numbers'. And the resolution? A nonstarter of a romance that the audience has forgotten for more than 2 hours gets to have an elaborate conclusion. The setup is the god-problem and the payoff is the lovers coming together. All this could have been digested if the audience was involved with what was going on and empathised with the protagonist.
Consider the case of 'Oh my God', the movie pk is being compared to. 'Oh My God' had a coherent screenplay with the audience totally relating to the plight of the protagonist. Probably the problem with 'pk' is that the protagonist is an alien who has no clue about the world and his discoveries about religious practices are new to him but not to us audience. In case of 'Oh my God', the protagonist was an insider with a questioning mind challenging the existing beliefs.
On the subject of religious groups taking offence to the things shown on screen. I tried watching the movie with a thin skin and found nothing that really bothered me. Even the much discussed ‘Lord Shiva scene’ has nothing in it that offends. Watch South Indian films of the 70s and 80s and one will routinely find films where a street-theatre artist in the costume of Lord Shiva or Lord Rama is smoking a beedi here and chewing and spitting a pan there with a comical situation featuring the actor exiting the stage pursued by a dog. It is the kind of comedy that gets whistles and guffaws from the front-benchers.
'3 Idiots' had a song 'Jaane Nahin Denge Tujhe'. ‘pk’ has a similar song rendered with a lot of depth while, on screen, Aamir Khan is seriously searching for god. I remember being manipulated successfully by '3 Idiots' when the song played on screen where as a similarly staged song in 'pk' did nothing to me. I for one was left frigid - staring at the screen. What is being hailed as a satire on religion for me is just an assemblage of conflicting religious practices. I was just nodding my head thinking, 'alright, that's a good catch that I already am aware of. What next?'
Considering the number of outfits Aamir Khan changes in the movie, one would think that all the sex that happens in India happens inside cars. I am not an expert of the subject but I would imagine that one would first roll up all the windows and get down to brass tacks. What Rajkumar Hirani has made in 'pk' is a feature length college level skit. There were scenes that amused me mildly just the way one would be amused watching a lazy cat licking its bottom.
1.5 out of 5 dancing cars