What I could see in AK vs AK, the new Netflix original directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, was a bunch of film lovers having a ball making a movie. And when that indeed happens, the energy transcends beyond the screen and gives that high to the viewer as well. AK vs AK is a rarity. The movie starring Anil Kapoor and Anurag Kashyap is a crazy idea that could have faltered at some point but managed to maintain the intrigue till the very last moment. The lack of inhibition to try something different gives us genuinely authentic moments.
As the trailer suggests, it’s about the rivalry between AK, aka Anil Kapoor, and AK, aka Anurag Kashyap. Because Anil Kapoor had rejected a film of Mr. Kashyap in the past, he is holding some grudge against Mr. Kapoor. And in a talk show, Kashyap insults Kapoor ending up in a scenario where the entire industry stood with Anil Kapoor. Angry Kashyap kidnaps Anil’s daughter Sonam Kapoor and threatens to kill her if Anil won’t corporate with him. What happens in this unprecedented scenario is what we see in AK vs AK.
If you have followed the movies and interviews of someone like Anurag Kashyap, this experiment won’t feel so unreal. He is known to change scenes at the last minute. There are some classic scenes in his movies that were completely improvised. The screenplay utilizes the spontaneity associated with Kashyap entirely. On the other hand, we have Mr. Anil Kapoor, who has openly said that he loves the film business’s money-making grandeur. He has talked about his insecurity to take up the role in Dil Dhadakne Do. What Motwane has done here is, taking whatever is out there about these two gentlemen and then adding his layer of fiction that goes in sync with it.
Vikramaditya Motwane and co-writer Avinash Sampath utilize their practical difficulties like people looking at the actors and looking into the camera etc., to their advantage here. If there is an aspiring filmmaker inside you, this is a movie that can make you jealous. The scenes do not have the outlook of a choreographed sequence. There are no predictable patches here. The actors doing their self-critique on screen is so fun to watch and that lack of inhibition to go for the full Monty is what makes this movie so unique. Swapnil Sonawane, who has directed the film’s photography, is trying to blend handheld images with interesting imageries without giving us that staged feel to those moments. The visual palette is changing. Sometimes we see wide static frames amid frantic handheld shots. But they all blend in neatly. The cuts also make sure that the fast-paced rhythm of this movie is never disturbed.
AK vs AK is one movie where you don’t have any fictional characters. Everyone is playing a fictionalized version of their real selves. Anil Kapoor gets into the emotional pitch of this fictionalized version of himself convincingly. And his performance plays a crucial role in making this mad thought an extremely believable one. The car accident sequence, the police station conversation, etc., were those peculiar moments where he blends the fiction and reality seamlessly. Anurag Kashyap as an actor had impressed me in movies like Imaika Nodigal and Akira, where he has played these slightly crazy characters. Here he adds that sense of craziness to his portrayal of himself, and the man was doing it very fluently. He never loses the focus and manages to stay relevant in the frame with Anil Kapoor, even in those last bits where the senior is getting all the eyeballs.
Anurag Kashyap is trolling himself in this movie. Anil Kapoor embraces his flaws and insecurities in this movie. And Motwane and Sampath are pushing these two to the maximum level to give us an entirely distinctive experience. AK vs AK is one of those rare films where you won’t have to compromise your eye for perfection to love a wacky experiment.
AK vs AK is one of those rare films where you won't have to compromise your eye for perfection to love a wacky experiment.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended