Film: 'Kismat Konnection'; Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan; Director: Aziz Mirza; Rating: ***
'Kismat Konnection' is one of the sweetest and most endearing romantic comedies in recent times. Its beauty and charm lie in its truthful and transparent depiction of life.
In one of the gloriously gossamer moments in 'Kismat Konnection', the hero - a harassed working-class entity and the kind of bereft soul you would immediately recognise if you've grown up watching Aziz Mirza's working-class romances - looks up at the sky with one of his shoes in hand and says with a stifled sob: 'I give up'.
Fortunately, god isn't listening when Raj Malhotra (Shahid Kapoor) wants out. Imagine what we would do if the working-class hero stumbled and fell.
Mirza sprinkles the frames with soft, satiny, whispering waves of undulating emotions. There are many moments in this boy-meets-girl saga that spread a warm sunshine across your heart.
This time it's more about the mystery than the chemistry. Those invisible forces that guide the romantic spirit from one heart to another, infusing two people with collective ecstasy - that's the world which the two protagonists in the film inhabit.
This one is not about villains and goblins or over-groomed mannequins and under-dressed dolls. For 'Kismat Konnection', the mellow-toned manoeuvres of Mirza move into the metropolitan milieu and mores of Toronto.
Shot by the invincible Binod Pradhan, the city looks pretty. But not postcard-perfect. Mirza shoots the protagonists with affectionate gusto in the bustle. Raj and Priya (Vidya Balan) never get lost in the alien crowds heading towards god-knows-where. But it's more a merger than a disappearance.
Portions of the film are shot with such rare care and unfussy simplicity, you simply get sucked into the sheer artlessness of the hectic but quietly comforting romantic overtures.
Pritam Chakraborty's peppy tunes are mostly kept at the periphery, used mostly in the promotional clippings on television. On screen it's the romantic 'Ba-khuda' that stirs our senses and fills us with a pervasive bonhomie.
Watch Shahid sneak surreptitious glances at Vidya from the corner of the eye. Watch as she watches him sneak glances. She knows. He knows that she knows. We know.
This is a film that could do away with those witty wise-cracking crackling words of eternal romanticism made by hearts that know no impurity and malice. The narrative flows with calm assurance, bringing in its wake several interludes of heart-warming tenderness.
Shahid is extremely adept at expressing hurt. And he gets many opportunities to do so. From the moment when he pleads with God to stop tormenting him to the time he realises he has wronged the golden-hearted girl who trusted him to create a miniature haven in the concrete jungle, Shahid infuses a disarming verve to the portrait of an artist as an angst-laden man.
As for Vidya, she exudes such positivity with her voice and smile, she reminds us of the early Juhi Chawla who, by the way, makes a very unconvincing cameo appearance in the film as a goofy crystal-ball gazer.
What keeps the love-interest interesting are the details that go into preserving the core of simplicity in the man-woman relationship. The supporting cast is mildly interesting. But it's the Shahid-Vidya axis that keeps us vigorously engrossed even when the narration loses virility in parts. But the story never sags. Never stops walking tall.
'Kismat Konnection' doesn't aspire to be a classic look at the man-woman relationship. Like Mirza's earlier films, the protagonist struggles with broken-down vehicles and a crumbling conscience, clinging to his convictions as he slides down the ladder of self esteem.
By the end, the goodness of it all just wraps you in a warm blanket. Yup, all's well with the world. This working-class romance really works.