Kismat Konnection is a good example of a film that settled for less when it could have been so much more. It's directed by Aziz Mirza, whose Bollywood works include Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman (1992), Yes Boss (1997), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), and Chalte Chalte (2003), each of which starred Shah Rukh Khan. The first three also starred Juhi Chawla (haye Allah!). If these were the benchmarks, then Kismat Konnection wasn't too detached from their norm, and was undoubtedly better than at least one (the most recent). Alas, that is not saying much.
The film is about architect Raj Malhotra (Shahid Kapoor) who, five years following a successful academic career, continues to struggle with life. He thinks this is because his qismat (destiny) betrays him. Luck gets the better of him in about everything, until Priya (Vidya Balan) enters his life. What follows is a typical but uninteresting romantic comedy, also involving builder Sanjeev Gill (Om Puri), Raj's friend and partner Hiten Patel (Vishal Malhotra), and fortuneteller Haseena Baano Jaan (Juhi Chawla).
First, the positives, because there were two that outshone the rest: Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan. Shahid was good. From his past works, we know he can be very good, and that works to the film's advantage. He played his part well, which does not deviate much from his own style. Some of the comedy was well depicted, dialogue well delivered, and moments well captured. A scene involving pool was a definite highlight.
I did not think he was trying to act like Shah Rukh, and I disagree with the comparison. It's the kind of character Shah Rukh made a career of, and that is where any comparisons are warranted. Shah Rukh is also relevant here because Aziz Mirza ensured he got a cameo as narrator, introducing Raj to the audience. Or because you might recall Shah Rukh's character in Dilwaale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1996) was indeed named Raj Malhotra. Or because in two of the four Shah Rukh-Aziz Mirza projects noted at the beginning of this post, the name of the character played by Shah Rukh was 'Raj' or some variant thereof.
Vidya Balan was good too. There were moments when she made something of little, such as the protest against Batra & Gill, the organization that threatened to tear down the community center she worked at of sheer belief in goodness. It was one of the genuinely funny moments (there were fewer overall than one would have liked), and it could have been ineffective with someone else.
As was the case in Heyy Babyy (2007), her wardrobe and look could have been better. (By now, she will hopefully have shed a few pounds -- 10 to 15 should be easy.) Unlike Heyy Babyy, though, the wardrobe and look did not appear glaringly bad, because she did have a much more prominent role throughout the film, and what most will remember her for is her acting and cuteness. Beautiful she is. She fit in well and played her part as well as can be expected. Well done Vidya!
The rest of the cast was decent. Om Puri (especially) and Vishal Malhotra were apt, and Himani Shivpuri (who played Puri's wife) provided more moments of hilarity than most (for better or for worse). Here's Haseena Bano Jaan, in what was to me as a long-time fan of Ms. Chawla what Anil Kapoor in Tashan (2008 - reviewed here) was -- hopelessly misplaced and disappointingly mediocre. This one just hurt a lot more :'(
The glaring weaknesses of Kismat Konnection were the average script and screenplay. I didn't think they were entirely unexpected given Mr. Mirza's recent works. If the effort here was to not be as boring as Chalte Chalte (starring Shah Rukh and Rani Mukherjee), that mission was accomplished, but resulted in a film that was unnecessarily loud from start to finish, and with characters more visibly excited than they needed to be. Clutter and noise that would have been better edited out extended the runtime by at least a half hour, and that does not include the music (by Pritam Chakrobarty), which was below average to begin with (here's my music review). While it did not take much away from the film, it didn't add much at all either.
Several bits of the dialogue were redundant. Some situations in the second half were similar to those that appeared in the first, while others were just left incomplete and unresolved, adding inconsistencies. The film could have been based in any city, and could have used beautiful Toronto and her surrounding areas much more wisely.
Having said that, the moments involving the attempted rescue of the community center, and the buildup to the climax they constituted, made the film surprisingly watchable. Again, credit Shahid Kapoor and Vidya Balan for rescuing the film, because it could have easily gone off-track without them. They were clearly better than the film they were in, and they shared some interesting chemistry.
Kismat Konnection is a good sample for a case study on it being difficult to overcome a weak script and screenplay, especially when elements other than the acting aren't juxtaposed well. For that, I'm going with a little under three stars for an above average film at best, one that works okay as a time-pass flick. If you are a fan of either of the lead actors, there is plenty to appreciate, enough to warrant seeing it, if only for their presence that complemented the film, because the script, screenplay, and music certainly did not. If you're not a fan of the lead actors, you might not be missing much if you stay away.
Movie rating: 2.75/5 (Above Average)
My classification: PG
Music rating: 2/5 (below average -- review here)
Official website (and picture source):