What do you do when your main character leaves the studio?
Pick a door. Any door. In the long blue corridor there are many of them. Which one will the hero walk through? Or is it the hero? Maybe it is the director? Rajat Kapoor’s new (crowdfunded!) absurdist comedy takes us through the door and onto the set of his latest movie.
We arrive on the scene near the end of a 35-day shoot. There is a beautiful heroine (Gulabo) who hasn’t quite learned how to pronounce the her lover’s name properly. Neither character seems quite as in love as they should be. The hero (Mahboo) is also in deep trouble with some really bad characters and soon will be dispatched to the next life. The movie is almost a wrap, yet no one seems satisfied with the results. Should they reshoot? The director RK (who also plays the hero) does not want to change anything. The producer worries that no one will come to a movie where the hero dies at the end. “Who is going to want to see that? ” he asks. A compromise is suggested. The director should relax for ten days while the technicians remix and fix.
This is when the fun begins.
As one of the techs leaves the editing room to take a phone call, the film keeps running. Mahboo is being chased by gangsters and he runs right off the screen to meet his beloved Gulabo at the train station. Suddenly the focus of the movie changes from a movie about filmmaking and “how will the film be edited?” to “where is Mahboo?”. RK gets the call at home that Mahboo has disappeared. He is missing from every single scene in the movie. Everyone blames everyone else. Chaos ensues as the hunt begins. There is an hilarious visit to the police station to report a missing person. The bad guys are now upset that Mahboo’s character has gotten away with their money. Finally, RK realizes that since he is the creator of Mahboo, he will need to be the one to find him. He is, of course, at the trian station. waiting for the beautiful Gulabo. For safekeeping, RK brings him home.
There are now two of the same person residing at the RK household. But what he realizes is that the created Mahboo is much happier and deeper than RK is himself. He shares his warmth and care and home cooked meals with RK’s wife and children. The kids think having a “character” at their home is cool. When Mahboo is told that he is going to be shot at the end of the movie, he accuses RK of being a murderer, and refuses to return to the movie. By now the gangsters realize that Mahboo has gotten away with their money and they are out for blood. Fictional character number two now steps into real time and more chaos ensues.
Rajat Kapoor has created a delightful movie that can be a wonderful diversion in these difficult times. The acting is stellar throughout and Kapoor, with his Peter Sellers’ looks, is especially good as Mahboo/RK. Occasionally, the film seems like it could not decide whether it was a comedy or a philosophical discussion on love, but that only weakens it slightly. Once one accepts that a character can step out of a film into real life, it is easy to be onboard for the wild ride – wherever it might take you.
RK / RKay is available in theatres and select virtual cinemas.