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K ATTI Batti begins where most love stories end, at least the tragic ones. Boy and girl, after a fiveyear live- together relationship, have split because she left without telling him. That bit is shown right at the start.

What happened for their story to reach that unfortunate outcome is what the film sets out to deconstruct, through the boy's eyes and using flashbacks.

That unconventional narrative structure is touted as the USP of Katti Batti , though it is not exactly new to Bollywood.

Anurag Kashyap used it nearly a decade ago in Black Friday . Dibakar Banerjee tried it in Shanghai . So Maddy the obsessed loverboy ( Imran Khan) sets out to hunt down Payal ( Kangana Ranaut), the girl of his dreams who ditched him. After much runtime has been wasted and a lot of your patience has been tested, the reason the film arrives at for Payal's leaving Maddy is not entirely new. It is a climax meant to move you to tears. It manages to draw you into yawns with its cliche.

Katti Batti is Nikhil Advani's weakest film till date -- it is weaker even than last week's dismal Hero . At least Hero was not trying to be an oversmart film.

It does not take you long to understand why Advani was probably trying to be ' different' with his screenplay, trying to tell his tale in a roundabout fashion.

Obviously, he did not have much of a story to tell. The lopsided narrative structure, he should have known, would only work in confusing the audience.

The worst thing about Katti Batti lies

elsewhere. The overall mood, we discover as the plotless piece meanders, is quite contradictory to what the posters promised. Katti Batti is not a rom- com.

All through its promotions, the film was peddled as a feel- good mush job meant to be enjoyed by the entire family. Without giving away spoilers, know this the film is far from as much. Wrong advertising often backfires for films. It looks like Katti Batti is set to suffer that fate.

Kangana has played this role too often -- the alpha heroine belting out alpha melodrama. For most parts Payal is the pretty smart cookie who has the boys eating out her hands. Stereotypically for the actress too, she is the slightly loony don'tgive- a- damn stunner. The performance leaves no impact because there is nothing new to it.

Imran Khan's Maddy is within image diktats, too. He is the softie with a heart of gold. Imran gets the obsessive edge about Maddy's character just about right without going over the top. Yet he gets overshadowed by the sheer star power of an off- form Kangana.

Katti Batti would have been a better film if it was sure about its intention, which is trying to understand the complexities of a modern romance. Instead the film focuses too much on narrative technique. In trying to dole out its story with excess swagger, the film loses its plot somewhere.

Kangana better beware. Random claims of being number one need to be validated with the right projects. This is clearly not one of them.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Sep 19, 2015
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