Feature Name: Ak Vs Ak
Star Cast: Anil Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Yogita Bihani
Director: Vikramaditya Motwane
Run Time: 1hr 48mins
The Netflix original, directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, blurs the line between reality and fiction. Anil Kapoor (AK) and Anurag Kashyap (AK) play themselves and take swipes at each other in a trippy actor-director tussle.
It starts with a talk show with scripted questions but equally gut-busting answers by filmmaker Anurag Kashyap and actor Anil Kapoor.
As they roast each other over who’s a bigger AK, Kashyap ends up splashing water on Kapoor’s face.
This leads to Kashyap executing a plan of kidnapping Anil’s daughter Sonam. It is in exchange for humiliating him and forcing him to work in his arty film.
The plan is shooting Anil as he’s on this quest of finding Sonam and making a film of that. The rules Anurag states are: No Police.
The camera will always be rolling and always takes the calls on speakers because “audience ko monologue samajta nahi hai.” Anil’s star in him doesn’t let him believe what Anurag is saying. But the actor in him overpowers that doing everything he can to save his daughter.
With the passing of each hour, tension mounts. The despairing father gets down and dirty on the streets of Mumbai.
The filmmaker-within-the-film and his camerawoman (Yogita Bihani, who we see only fleeting. Because she is behind the camera) can barely contain their glee as the Bollywood luminary pulls out the stops and sheds his inhibitions, unmindful of the pitfalls ahead of him.
AK vs AK tracks a clash between two contrasting movie cultures and two distinct periods of Hindi cinema.
The ever-likeable Kapoor, a star from the pre-social media era, is an unabashed and proud commercial movie man whose career has been built on box office successes.
Kashyap, in contrast, is a product of the restless age of Twitter, the pugnacious spearhead of a new millennial brand of independent Hindi films that draw sustenance from critical applause.
Director Motwane given his hard-to-slot body of work, best suited for an experiment as freakish as this, writer Avinash Sampath and cinematographer Swapnil Sonawane (who gives the film dizzying fluidity) stay out of the frame. This is, therefore, a meta-movie that is not a meta-movie in the strictest sense of the term.
Talking about the performances, Anil Kapoor is, well, Anil Kapoor. He does not hold back one bit. His vigour rubs off on the film. Anurag Kashyap, who has to huff and puff to keep pace. It is the confrontational observer who cannot afford to take his eye off the ball. There comes a point in the film when the script begins to get the better of him. He captures the bafflement of a director who is losing control of his handiwork to perfection.
AK vs AK is a minor miracle. It’s worth embracing with all our might. We with all our heart give the film 3.5 stars.