For all the strides women have made in the 21st century, I have a genuine question for my ladies. If you were earning all the money you needed, would you be OK with your man managing the house, while you made a living for the family? I for one, am a bit stumped.
Balki’s new movie – Ki & Ka, elucidated by own misgivings about stereotypical gender roles. I strongly feel both men and women should contribute to their household income and to the economy by being engaged in financially productive jobs. Based on the family’s needs, either can take a break in their career as needed, returning to the work force when ready. The idea about one partner not working at all, is not feasible anymore for a large segment of the population.
However, would it be so wrong, if a man simply took a backseat, and let the woman be the breadwinner, while he took charge of homemaking – forever?
Ki Ka is new-age love story about the ambitious, status driven Kia – played by Kareena, who falls in love with Kabir – played by Arjun Kapoor, a guy who didn’t care for a corporate career or participating in the workforce at all. They get married as Kia pursues the highest-highs of her career and Kabir continues to take care of the home like a typical “housewife”. Things get strenuous when Kabir gains appreciation for his a-stereotypical role as a supportive husband, causing significant misunderstandings between the couple.
Remember the time when women were expected to be homemakers, they had to curb ambitions for a career, they couldn’t desire limelight as their husbands stole the thunder all the time? Remember the phrase – “behind every successful man, there’s a woman?” Well, Balki turns the concept on its head. Though a feminist husband fully supports his woman’s career ambitions, the woman treats him poorly just like any other petulant man would, in case he was ever pissed off with his homemaker wife.
Kia is seen complaining about the coffee, the food not being ready on time, telling Kabir how he lives on her earnings – sound familiar? Things get worse when she’s seen physically abusing Kabir and hurling insults at his one wrong move.
So summary of the movie is as such – the financially dominant person (or provider) in the relationship may abuse the dominion. As we discussed in our blog, financial issues are a leading cause for divorce and strain in adult relationships. Hence, my earlier point – both men and women must contribute financially in a relationship over the long-term, else the imbalance quickly throws the relationship off course.
Is the Movie Worth Watching?
Balki has never shied away from controversial love arrangements. My mind keeps going back to Cheeni Kum – where the stalwart Amitabh Bachchan played the smitten lover-boy trying to woo a woman 25 years younger than him. And the audience was enamored because the love and lust felt real. After all who wouldn’t fall for regal and unconventional Tabu?
And then there was Paa, and the soul stirring love between mother – Vidya Balan, the child – Amitabh Bachchan, and the near-absent father played by Abhishek Bachchan. Both Cheeni Kum and Paa were magical movies – perhaps because the cast pulled the character nuances so well.
Kareena, sadly had big shoes to fill. And she fell loud and flat! Kareena continues to channel her inner “Poo” from the Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham days, and frankly, the repeated glamor woman persona is getting too old to entice the audience. Kareena desperately needs an Omkara, Chameli caliber movie to save her lifeless career. Ki Ka does nothing for her!
Arjun Kapoor is promising, and played the role of a sensitive and loving man with sincerity. He has a long way to go however! There’s a lot of kissing and making out between Kareena and Arjun – but the chemistry just didn’t work. Music too, was insipid.
Rajit Kapur and Swaroop Sampat are well cast as parents. The relationship shared by Swaroop Sampat’s and Arjun Kapoor’s characters is especially tender.
Ki Ka reminded me of Abhimaan from the 1970s. Arjun Kapoor’s dejection has an uncanny resemblance with Jaya Bachachan’s downcast eyes as she sang “Piya Bina” (translation – without my lover). But that’s where similarities end, because Abhimaan was so well rendered.
In this case, I wish Balki watched and re-watched 1970’s Guide – the Dev Anand and Wahida Rehman movie that challenged gender stereotypes. The movie where Wahida left her husband to pursue a dancing career but was eventually disappointed by her lover Dev Anand, who afforded a living on Wahida’s hard earned money. Guide left me feeling sympathetic to both characters and especially the woman because supporting a man who does not really take a career all that seriously, can be difficult.
Maybe that’s where Balki wants us to dig deep and think why we typically expect men to go out an earn the bread? But Ki Ka doesn’t really help us get there at all. It’s an effort largely wasted.
Our rating out of 5 stars: