Starring: Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Yogita Bihani, Sonam Kapoor and Harshvardhan Kapoor
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
When the central premise of a film revolves around two real-life characters, actor Anil Kapoor and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap going head to head as AK versus AK of the title, a large dose of ingenuity is a given.
We meet Kapoor and Kashyap clashing very publicly during a television chat show and it gradually becomes clear that the latter’s fury is largely down to the successful actor walking away from a project that had been mutually agreed. The filmmaker nurses a grudge over this snub many years down the line and proceeds not only to shower insults on the actor live on air but eventually ends up splashing an entire glass of water in his face.
The clash of the two egos intensifies as the entire film industry begins to get divided into camps – one in favour of Anil Kapoor and the other backing Kashyap. It soon becomes clear the actor’s camp is way in the lead, making the filmmaker increasingly frustrated until he is egged on by his girlfriend and documentary filmmaker Yogita Bihani to seek revenge. Together they devise the plot of a kidnap thriller to be shot in real time with real characters, with Bihani catching every twist and turn on her camera. The only catch for Anil Kapoor is that this film within a film is just too close to the bone as the kidnapped victim is his daughter, actress Sonam Kapoor, and all his emotions being caught on camera as he races against time to rescue her are tragically all too real.
The concept behind this thriller is laudably unusual and the execution equally atypical. While things seem fairly simple and light-hearted on the face of it, the faux-real plot begins to take a sinister turn which confounds even Kashyap – who believed he was the one calling all the shots. Cameos by Anil Kapoor’s producer brother Boney Kapoor and actor son Harshvardhan Kapoor inject further realism into what is ultimately a fantastical tale that will keep you guessing till the end.
‘AK vs AK’ definitely falls within one of the more watchable Indian thrillers within the Netflix stables and gets full marks for coming up with an out-of-the-box treatment. But, as often happens with Bollywood films, it could have done with some sharper editing to contain it within a 90-minute rather than 109-minute package.
*‘iGlobal’ Review Series