Kisna: The Warrior Poet, is rife with subtleties. You know, the Subhash-Ghai kind of subtleties, like showing a black horse and a white horse gambolling around together. That’s supposed to symbolise love – brown guy (Vivek Oberoi) and white girl (Antonia Bernaud). And when the movie begins with this sort of subtle imagery, you do not let that faze you. You sit down calmly, and think of myriad ways to painfully assassinate the director, the cast, the scriptwriter – basically everybody involved with this film. (Except Antonia Bernaud, perhaps. Poor girl must have hardly realised what she was getting into.)
Isha Sharvani, that lady you’ve seen twirling around a rope and doing those eyepopping leg-splits on those trailers? Guess what, that’s all she does throughout the movie, so you better get used to your eyes popping out for 2 hours and 35 minutes. You would love to have this kind of girl around the house – she gets happy, she twirls on ropes; she is dejected, she twirls on ropes; she’s angry, she twirls on ropes some more. And when she finds her homegrown loverboy in the arms of a firanghee and is spurned by him in the name of karma and dharma and karma-dharma and dharma-karma and all those B-movies of the eighties? She twirls on ropes atop a burning tree . Get it? Get it? Burning tree. Symbolism.
The events unfold in this quaint little village called Dharmaprayag, which is where the rivers Alakananda and Bhagirathi meet. ( How do I remember this bit of information? There’s an Odyssey quiz coming soon, buddy, and you never know where these quizmasters get their questions from.) So, the first half of the movie, Dharmaprayag’s where all the action is. You have a distinguished English lady coming to this village, where everybody behaves like B-actors trying hard to come to terms with acting in an A-movie, and getting regaled by Banjaran dancers from Rajasthan, and being snubbed by some yo-dude-checkisout-type reporters about her ignorance of India and Indianness. Surprise, surprise, the lady turns out to be fluent in Hindi, and also turns out she has a story to tell. That, of course, is the story of Kisna, which was supposed to have happened in 1947. Why did the lady delay her return to India and her meeting Kisna again? Because she watched Titanic just last year, and if Gloria Stuart can do it, so can she.
I would love to say some more about Ghai-saab’s refined tastes, like shooting a song against a blue sky with dancers wearing blue inside a blue-crystal cave-ish kotha. ( Blue. Kisna. Blue. Get it? ) And amidst all this bluescreen shooting, the poor man forgot that to have an item number, ( Ssshhh. Never mind the fact that this is 1947 and item numbers didn’t exist then. Dude, you had item numbers in 53 BC, when Emperor Ashahrukha was around.) you need an item. Not Sushmita Sen. I don’t remember seeing any part of her body moving, other than her eyes. Yes, she was that bad.
Then there is a scene which is Subhash Ghai’s tribute to Raj Kapoor. You have the river Ganga flowing by, and you have two lovers, and you have Raj Kapoor to pay homage to, so what do you do? Kick yourselves if you didn’t get this. You have the babe call herself Gangotri, dress up in flimsy white clothes, and then go have a dip in the Ganga. Dude, I love this homage-shit, man. I haven’t seen…you know…the goods on a babe in a Hindi film since the last time Ganga was unclean, hey Ram. ( Yes, I haven’t seen Shaque and I suggest you don’t, too. )
What a dump of a movie. This is the last time I go to see a film just because it has Rahman music in it. Humph!