R. Balki's film Ki & Ka ("She and He") is an entertaining romantic comedy that takes a light-hearted look at gender stereotypes.
It is not a film that really deals with gender equality or gender equity. Instead the film focuses on the idea that you can - and should - pursue whatever work makes you happy.
In the case of corporate executive Kai (Kareena Kapoor Khan), what makes her happy is her career as a Marketing Manager on a trajectory to becoming the CEO of her company. She is the main breadwinner of the family.
In the case of MBA graduate Kabir (Arjun Kapoor), what makes him happy is pursuing the work of making a home and taking care of his family. He prepares meals, cleans house, and teaches the neighbor housewives how to exercise their way to health.
Kai's mother (Swaroop Sampat) - who works with a non-governmental organization - is a bit confused about this perceived role reversal at first. But Kabir's passion about homemaking and confidence in his own abilities wins her over.
Kai and Kabir get married and their life together seems perfect - until Kabir gets noticed for his unconventional choice and soon the media attention eclipses his wife's achievements.
While Kabir still maintains the house, Kai's work-life balance goes out of whack and Kabir finds she has no time to spend a home with him. Their marriage begins to feel the strain as they spend less and less time together and Kabir comes to know of his wife's frustration with his new-found notoriety.
Arjun Kapoor brings strength to the character of Kabir, who sees his mother as a great "artist" and role model. He chooses to follow in her footsteps by making sure the family eats properly, the home is clean and inviting, and his wife and mother-in-law have the support they need to do their work. He doesn't find his masculinity threatened by his choice to be a homemaker. And he isn't just meeting the needs of his family. He integrates his unique passion for trains into the interior decoration of the apartment, making the house his home as well. (Disclaimer: My father was passionate about his O-gauge model railroad trains, so I love the train theme and decor of this film.)
As Kai, Kareena Kapoor Khan is a very capable businesswoman who is recognized as being an important member of the team. Her colleagues respect her input and seek her advice. She is climbing the corporate ladder because her decisions contribute to the success of the organization.
In an interesting twist, Kai seems to have more difficulty getting beyond the stereotypes that Kabir rejects. When her husband begins getting the limelight, instead of being happy for him she becomes jealous. Kai travels on business oftenl, but when Kabir goes out of town for a day, Kai begins questioning his motives and their whole relationship. Her questions about his motivations, her role in his life, and their partnership get jumbled up in a sense of confusion and abstract emotions.
But this is Bollywood, so love overcomes whatever obstacles are placed in the path of our couple.
And this is where the strength of the film lies - in the conversations between characters who ask "why?" and "why not?" These conversations offer some insightful reflections about living a meaningful life, overcoming the challenges of stereotypes and the importance of finding a partner who will support you.
Ultimately, the film challenges each of us to pursue, and allow those around us to pursue, wherever life leads them.
As part of the marketing push before the release of the film, the team of Eros International and Ki & Ka organized a special Women's Day luncheon with the filmmaker R. Balki and Kareena Kapoor Khan, hosted by Arjun Kapoor. At the event, Arjun explained,
"Ki & Ka isn't a man vs. woman film at all. It is not a battle of the sexes. It is simply about any individual pursuing their passion and direction in their life irrespective of gender, caste, creed, stereotype or any other factor that could be an obstacle."
The following playlist features the trailer and cast and crew talking about the making of Ki & Ka.
If you liked this, please share, leave a comment and check out our other posts.