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Born in Delhi, but now living in Mumbai, Karthik Narayan is a much abused employee with ACL Construction, secretly in love with leggy Architect, Shonali Mukherjee, who has been going steady with yet another co-worker, Ashish. After purchasing a new telephone, Karthik gets a call from a male voice that resembles his, who instructs him to follow directions; tell no one about this phone call, and he will achieve success. He follows these instructions, is soon promoted, as well as befriends Shonali, and continues following instructions from this caller. After Shonali makes it clear that she loves him, he breaks his promise, and is urged to seek counseling by her. He reluctantly does so with a Pyschiatrist, Dr. Shweta Kapadia, who hopes to cure him by visiting him early morning in his flat - not realizing the shock and trauma that await the duo.Written by
There were a lot of scenes that were cut from the film. Most of these scenes had Deepika Padukone smoking cigarettes very openly and extravagantly in them, and the censorship board found these to be inappropriate and cut them due to them feeling these scenes promoted smoking. See more »
When Karthik buys the telephone for the first time, the vendor tells him it's a new Japanese model. The box has Korean written on it (above "Kyungmin Corded Phone") and then the English translation underneath. This is seen more clearly when he buys the same phone towards the end of the movie. See more »
Farhan Akhtar stars as Karthik, a young square man who blames himself for his elder brother's death at childhood and who lives a very unsocial life, working at a big company where he has to bear his boss' daily humiliations, while Shonali, the girl he is interested in does not even know of his existence. One day, he gets a phone call and the caller surprisingly identifies himself as none other than Karthik himself. From then on, things change for the better for Karthik. Nightly calls from this very person consist of constant positive advices of how to run his life and different encouragements, and consequently Karthik turns into an altogether different person, much more secure, happy and easy-going. He finally catches the eye of Shonali. Things seem perfect, but the story takes an unexpected twist.
That's Vijay Lalwani's directorial debut, Karthik Calling Karthik, which is for the most part a successful psychological thriller. The best thing about it is the fact that it's not superficial. It has some hidden sentimentality and it gives the viewer an insight into the complexity of the human mind. Though at times the film is a bit too slow, the story is generally well written and narrated, and the subject is handled quite well. The film does manage to be as disturbing as it probably intends to be at some points, and in other moments it is uplifting as it shows us how a person can build his happiness on his own, using his imagination and inner feelings.
The film's first half is for the most part a romance, and unfortunately an overly simplistic and boring one. The main concept and the mysterious phone calls get somewhat sidelined in this part until the story takes shape and becomes more intriguing and watchable in the second half. The film is benefited, however, by a great soundtrack by the reigning trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The songs are nice though not always do they suit the film's proceedings, and sometimes it feels like they stretch the narrative to no end. But then the film turns in a rather interesting way, and the viewer gets ready to get all the answers to his questions, of which he may have already forgotten. The suspense in the second half is well done. The film becomes thrilling and remains continuously unpredictable.
The acting in Kathik Calling Karthik may not be exemplary, but it is definitely effective. Farhan Akhtar is the tormented hero. He is good at some points and one may feel for him at times, but as the insecure guy he is quite unnatural. This is not entirely his fault. His character's transformation was too quick to be believable anyway, so it's the writers who are to be blamed for this. Deepika Padukone is okay and though she evidently tries to do her best, she does not really succeed in delivering the confusion her character must be going through and her dialogue delivery is weak at points. Shefali Shah appears in a smaller role as Karthik's psychiatrist, and she is outstanding as expected.
All said and done, Karthik Calling Karthik is entertaining, gripping and enjoyable. It is a worthy effort with an interesting study of human psyche through such terms as consciousness and subconsciousness. The ending was quite good, though it was not completely satisfying. I suggest you to watch the film with family or friends. It may be serious, but it should not be taken seriously.
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