Crowdfunded RK/RKay will remind you of Woody Allen, Guru Dutt's films
RK/Rkay is a meta film about the process of filmmaking, the pressures of compromising on creativity, and the identity crisis where one wonders if they have freewill, or is life driven by predestination.
Rajat Kapoor is back with his new directorial -RK/Rkay. Rajat has delved into the intricacies of filmmaking this time and explores the philosophies of identity, free will and life in the process. Featuring himself in the lead role, Rajat made the film through crowdfunding and the opening credits proudly display all the names of those who contributed. (Also read: RK/RKAY trailer: Inside Mallika Sherawat, Rajat Kapoor’s mysterious, filmy world)
RK/Rkay opens with a trippy sequence that grips you right there - without any introduction of the plot or characters. It also reminded me of Guru Dutt's films, several frames of the film did. Soon, we get to meet the central character RK, a filmmaker (essayed by the three-time National film award winner Rajat Kapoor) who makes his own kind of cinema that rarely works at the box office but he has a dedicated fan following. Quite defines Rajat.
So, RK convinces the top heroine of his era, Neha (Mallika) and makes his latest film. Real fun begins when the 1950s style hero - Mehboob Alam - goes missing from the rushes and even the negatives of the film, and is soon found in flesh and blood -in the real world. A rare premise right there. Woody Allen’s 1985 film The Purple Rose of Cairo saw such an escapade by a film's hero into real life, but that was in a completely different set up and story.
The struggles of RK, the filmmaker, also take us through the struggles of any creative. This is highlighted exceptionally well when RK's producer asks him to tweak the script to a happy ending, and avoid killing the hero at the end of the story. Through the situations and dialogues (written by Rajat himself), Rajat also explores the debate of free will versus predestination-does a character surprise/shock the creator?
RK, the filmmaker makes his first impression as a grumpy man whose team knows him very well. He has also managed to find the perfect producer - Manu Rishi's forever-whiskey-chugging Goel saab. Each character in the story feels real - Neha, the star has all the tantrums of a diva and her character Gulabo (perhaps named after Guru Dutt's Pyaasa heroine) is as fragile as any 60s heroine.
Ranvir Shorey essays the role of actor Ranvir who plays the villain - KN Singh - in RK's film. KN Singh was an actor who played many memorable roles of villains in Hindi films in from the ‘40s to the 80s. Rajat has named RK’s kids after his own - Rabia and Vivan.
Despite the clear references to Guru Dutt's films, RK/Rkay does not deviate much from Rajat's style. Rajat Kapoor replaces the gloom of the legendary filmmaker's iconic movies and laces his subjects with subtle humour that ensures smiles on the faces of the audiences, even as they empathise with the emotional turmoils of the characters onscreen. It feels like one is watching the lite version of a Guru Dutt film.
The film is not flawless, the beginning may seem dragged a bit, until the time that Mahboob Alam steps into the real world.