Zero Stars (out of 4)
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Kal Kissne Dekha is a movie about a young man with a special power: the power to bore an audience to tears by relying on Bollywood cliches.
The young man in question is Nihul (Jackky Bhagnani), a country boy who can see the future. He leaves his lonely, heartbroken mother and heads to a university in the city to become a scientist.
As is the case in many Hindi films these days, Nihul is supposedly the most awesome guy ever. He doesn’t do anything to warrant this status; it’s simply that he’s the protagonist and the plot demands it.
However, there’s a group of cool kids at college who don’t like the flashy newcomer. The mean guy and the snobby girl pick on Nihul until his psychic ability allows him to save their lives. Only then do they realize how fabulous Nihul really is.
In between motorcycle chases, fight scenes and dance numbers, Nihul falls in love with the snobby girl, Nisha (Vaishali Desai). Not for any good reason, mind you, but because the plot demands it. Then the requisite gangsters, gay stereotypes, terrorists and incompetent policemen show up, just to make sure no Bollywood cliche is left behind. It’s as though the film was written by checking items off of a list.
Kal Kissne Dekha is writer-director Vivek Sharma’s second effort, following last year’s forgettable Bhoothnath. I’d appreciate it if he’d stop making movies, and not try to see if the third time is the charm. Sharma’s storytelling style insults the audience’s intelligence by relying on cliches and stunts in place of even the barest hint of character development. And he shamelessly includes two of the young stars of Slumdog Millionaire in brief cameo appearances in order to capitalize on their fame.
If Sharma insists on writing and directing more movies, he needs to abandon two themes present in both of his efforts to date. First is the notion that the only route to popularity is by using a supernatural ability to save someone. In Bhoothnath, the young protagonist relies on his ghostly pal to pull the school bully out of a well, thereby winning the bully’s friendship. As a moral to a story, it’s a pretty depressing one for those of us without superpowers.
The second bizarre theme is that disaster befalls those who dare move out of their parents’ homes. It’s blatant in Bhoothnath, but it also crops up in Kal Kissne Dekha, as when Nihul tells his mother, “I never should have left home.” It’s a conservative message that doesn’t mesh with the fact that, by moving to the city, Nihul gets to study science, make friends and meet his girlfriend — stuff he couldn’t have done in his small village.