Katti Batti review: Love affair is between Imran Khan and his pet turtle, not Kangana Ranaut

Gayatri Gauri

Sep 20, 2015 08:47:58 IST

Guess what will be more fun to sit through in Mumbai this weekend: snail-paced Ganpati visarjan traffic (with all its deafening song-and-dance noise) or Nikhil Advani’s Katti Batti? Hint: Ganpati bappa morya!

For those ever hopeful ones who are star struck by Kangana Ranaut’s brilliance in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, brace yourselves for the tragedy of the year. All you get to see in Katti Batti are Ranaut’s dozen bangles, rings, anklets, a pretty tattoo, numerous wigs and her nice legs.

For those die hard romantics who believe Katti Batti is a rom-com, here’s some news. Yes, there is a romance and there is a comedy. Only, it’s between Imran’s lovelorn, heartbroken character, Maddy, and a turtle called Milkha. There is more passion when Maddy feeds little Milkha and promises to reunite Milkha with his ‘mother’ – Maddy’s ex-girlfriend, Payal (Ranaut) – than in the way the two lovers kiss. It doesn’t help much either that there is an entire song dedicated to Maddy, “the kissyman”. With no actual kissing. Instead of the bobbing dahlias of yore, we now get animated hearts that are strategically positioned over the actors faces.

Katti Batti review: Love affair is between Imran Khan and his pet turtle, not Kangana Ranaut

A still from Katti Batti.

Considering the amount of time Advani spends on Milkha the turtle, it’s only fair we lavish some attention on him. The oh-so clever irony here is that Milkha is a turtle, who of course is not the fastest runner. But you know what? He is not the slowest, either. If there is anything that crawls and drags forever, it is the screenplay of Katti Batti.

The film opens to a flashback handycam footage of a mock wedding between Maddy and Payal who are living together. The two are drunk and Maddy is seen using tomato ketchup as sindoor. The scene cuts to the present when Maddy is being rushed to a hospital for having swallowed phenyl. No, he is not suicidal because Payal and Maddy have broken up, as his friends believe. In a drunken stupor, he apparently mistook a bottle of phenyl for beer. Someone needs to ask Advani and his writing team about their preferred beer. It’s remarkably unlike the beer most of us encounter, both in its limited resemblance to phenyl and in the drunkenness it induces.

It’s not difficult to see why Maddy has hit the bottle. The people around him are reason enough. First there’s Vinay (Abhishek Saha) who is a little creepily attached to Maddy. Back in their college days, Vinay was so concerned about Maddy that he climbed walls and roofs for him. Years later, they’re still best buddies and now they work together in an architecture firm and are known to their boss as Ram and Laxman. There is also a nagging sister who keeps calling Maddy to remind him that the object of his deep sorrow, Payal, has moved on and is about to marry someone else.

Flashback scenes show how Payal was only interested in casual dating while Maddy was imagining wedding bells within a day of meeting her. College life in Katti Batti and their characters seem so imbecilic that they make Karan Johar’s Student of the Year seem grounded in reality. Johar might want to thank Advani for making Kuch Kuch Hota Hai seem like a classic.

And if college seems unreal, the office scenarios are clearly written by someone whose most intimate encounter with office life is overhearing employees’ conversations at coffee shops.

Payal’s ex boyfriend Rakesh “Ricky” Ahuja (Vivan Bhatena, the same honcho from Advani’s Hero) appears in Maddy’s office. The two have a heart-to-heart conversation about Milkha in the office loo, which ends with Maddy locking Ricky in his toilet cubicle. Ricky just happens to be a big client, incidentally. Did we mention that Maddy is a grown up (and apparently an architect that Ricky wants to hire)?

Maddy is also at very much a marriageable age. He obsesses over marrying Payal so much that it seems he’s possessed by one of the characters played by Sridevi or Rekha, who died for Jeetendra while dressed as brides. When Payal breaks up with him, Maddy decides he will marry her by hook or by crook and so chases Payal’s friends for her phone number in the first half of the film, and for the wedding venue in the second half of the film. The rest of the film is about his relationship with his phone and the turtle.

By now, Khan has mastered the art of being the most irritating, obsessive, heartbroken teenager seen on screen. As for the missing Ranaut, it’s best to revisit her last film than suffer this one.

And while you’re at it, pray sincerely to Ganpati bappa that you don’t grab a bottle of phenyl yourself if you end up watching Katti Batti. Better still, giftwrap it and send it to Bollywood filmmakers who believe romance and young love is all about feeding a turtle.

Updated Date: Sep 20, 2015 08:47:54 IST