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KI & KA : R. Balki on perfect casting of Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor and the imperfect gender norms



March 26, 2016 1:30:20 PM IST
By Vishal Verma, Glamsham Editorial
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It's a busy afternoon and just beside the deserted BR films office in Mumbai's Khar, the waiting stairs take me to the cozy office of R. Balki ‘s Hope productions. Balki is busy with his hectic promotional schedules. I am asked to wait and as I glance through the walls that are occupied by R. Balki's on shoot stills of his previous on screen beauties CHEENI KUM, PAA, SHAMITABH, a saying ‘ Where there is TEA, there is HOPE' placed right at the entrance of the kitchen attracts my eyeballs.

Interesting, the man who always loved films did not enroll for Madras Film Institute course because he did not like the panel that interviewed him.

The man behind the idea 'Daag Achche Hain' after ‘SHAMITABH got a call from Mr. Bachchan and his wife Jayaji to quickly start his next and this is how the quirky funny KI & KA happened.

After a warm welcome, the 50 year old writer-director R Balakrishnan, better known as R Balki in his trademark black t- shirt and jeans lights his cigarette and the conversation begins.

Excerpts

R. BALKI
R. BALKI

CHEENI KUM, PAA, SHAMITABH, when it comes to titles you are innovations redefined. From where is the seed of this interesting title KI & KA comes?
The story is about two people and normally we could have their first names as the title, but what is the story trying to say?. It's about the gender bias/inequality/confusion that arises from language, here it is the Hindi language. We say ‘naukri ki jati hai', ‘khana banaya jata hai' now ‘khana' (food, kitchen) is traditionally a women territory and ‘naukri' (work, earnings) is a male territory – completely opposite. The irony of Hindi language has being captured in the story and the word KI & KA is the biggest problem in the language itself and we have tried to keep it as simple as it can be.

Are you trying to break the gender norms in the society through your film?
There are certain norms set. This is a male territory that is a women territory we say. What I am trying to say in my film which is a love story is that if two people do things which are completely opposite and if they try doing things that normally their partner should do, will the love be the same, will their behavior towards each other will the same..

'We are living in complete foolishness of ‘His'tory, what about ‘Her' story. '

So gender thing has no importance?
It's immaterial. There is a dialogue in the film which says ‘ history says that during stone age, man used to hunt in forest while women use to cook inside caves, now the clue is in the word itself ‘his' story it's his story. Many women must have hunted in forest and man had cooked in side forest.. who knows. If we have had the version of ‘her' story then we would have celebrating Man's day instead of women's day. We are living in complete foolishness. Thank god in Hinduism we have male and female gods otherwise its male.. who knows. Not the country the whole world is living in this idiocy.

Quirky comment on gender and what other interesting offer does KI & KA carries for the audience?
It's a love story but a love story after marriage. Normally a love story ends up on marriage but here I thought what about a marriage ending up being a love story.

What made you zeroed down on Arjun Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor for playing the lead?
Arjun has this macho image associated with him. he is masculine and looks cute while doing those gentle things. Kareena is a phenomenal talent. Completely feminine and when she takes charge, turns aggressive shows ambition, she doesn,t looks hard, she looks niece. The casting has been perfect. I wanted actors not to lose their masculinity and femininity even after switching roles and both Arjun and Kareena have done a marvelous job.

"I wanted actors not to lose their masculinity and femininity even after switching roles and both Arjun and Kareena have done a marvelous job."

What about your all time favorite Mr. Bachchan
Mr. Bachchan will play the role of Mr. Bachchan we all know. Amitabh Bachchan will play Amitabh Bachchan in real in KI & KA.

Finally, what special instinct does a person from advertisement world posses to churn out such on screen beauties from time to time, yourself, Rakesh Mehra and recent Ram Madhvani (NEERJA)
Its good that people from advertisement background are coming out with good cinema, but for me it's the artiste who delivers. Aditya Chopra is not from advertising same with Kabir Khan.

And same with your inspiration Mr. Ramesh Sippy, the man who gave us the evergreen cult classic SHOLAY
Ha ha..yes yes.. see there is no set norms or rules...


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