Film reviews

#560 – PK (2014)

PK (2014)

Film review #560

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

SYNOPSIS: An alien arrives on Earth, and has his communicator with his spaceship stolen. Now stranded on the planet, he attempts to learn how to survive and learn the ways of the people here, but he is especially confused by the concept of religion. He meets Jaggu, a reporter who is looking for her next big story. She is intrigued by his naivety and how his simple questions challenge the conflicts between different religions, and how those that profess to know what God wants are the ones who know least about religion. Jaggu and PK show down with Tapaswi, a religious leader who has come into possession of PK’s communicator, claiming to be a religious artefact, and the pair try to expose him and get PK’s communicator back to he can return home…

THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: PK is a 2014 Indian sci-fi film. The story primarily revolves around PK, an alien who, in the film’s opening, lands on Earth, and shortly after has his communicator with his spaceship stolen, meaning he has no way to get back home. Attempting to adjust to life on Earth, he turns to God for help, but is perpetually confused by all of the different religions and their rules. He eventually encounters Jaggu, a reporter who is looking out for a worthwhile story, and becomes interested by PK’s naïve take on the world, and how it provides genuine insight on the world from a fresh perspective. Opting to tackle the absolute minefield that is differences and conflicts between religions, PK from the outset sets itself a dangerous task, but the comedic aspect of the film never strays into being offensive or controversial, focusing on what the religions have in common, rather than their confrontations. This might seem to be a bit simplistic, but this is one of the film’s greatest strengths; it manoeuvres through it’s subject in such an expert manner that it creates an entertaining experience full of life. On top of this, the dialogue and performances are precise and genuine, and again, are professionally executed.

The film is essentially divided into two halves: the first half deals with the more comedic aspects and a very “fish out of water” situation surrounding PK being stranded on Earth. The second half switches to a more drama and serious tone, with PK trying to expose the religious preacher Tapaswi, and get back his communicator that Tapaswi is claiming to be a religious icon to his followers. Again, when the film gets serious, it still maintains it’s expert exploration of it’s subject: avoiding being controversial, but still making a significant statement and creating some intense emotional moments. Even though the film is almost split down the middle, the change of tone doesn’t feel artificial, and feels like it moves on just when it needs to. If I were to find a fault in the plot, I would say the forced romance element that shows up at the final part of the film and about “letting go” just didn’t really need to be there, but even then, it is handled so well in terms of dialogue and acting, and producing a emotional reaction that it doesn’t really matter that it wasn’t really necessary, because it still produces something worthwhile.

The cast work so well in their roles, and although they are roles you are probably familiar with, such as PK being a clueless alien adjusting to life on Earth, they are still brought to life vibrantly, as mentioned, through stellar acting and sharp dialogue, and in the end it feels like you come out of it with a well rounded experience that never hits a lull. Despite having a few bumps in the story with a few elements that it could have done without, I think it is necessary to give PK high praise as a film: it is lots of fun, but also very heartfelt, alongside making a powerful statement without being mired in controversy. The film deserves the praise it received, and in particular, the absolutely solid script and dialogue, enhanced further with a host of strong performances. Not quite perfect, but deserving of it’s huge success.