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PK: Jo dar gaya, woh mandir gaya

December 27, 2014

If you have followed all the previous movies directed by Rajkumar Hirani, then you are already familiar with his signature style that there must be a number of immensely popular dialogues or phrases in his movies. “PK” is not an exception. “Peekay ho kya?”, “Dancing Cars”, “Wrong Number” and most interestingly “Jo dar gaya, woh mandir gaya” are such kinds of dialogues or phrases in “PK”. Before its release, PK created some curiosities and even controversies due to one of its posters in which Aamir Khan was seen posing nude with a well placed boombox hiding his private part. Everyone knows that Aamir Khan loves and always tries to do two things for his movies. One is perfection and another one is adopting peculiar strategies for promoting his films. This particular poster was certainly a part of his unusual and weird strategy but it still created some buzz about his role in this movie.

PK (the central character played by Aamir Khan) is an alien whose spaceship landed on the desert of Rajasthan in India and he alone came out of that spaceship. Much to our surprise, he was completely naked having only a necklace on his neck. The alien was sent to Earth for research. But what kind of research? Where were his scientific tools or devices for research? Was it a research on the social structures or social behaviours of humans on Earth? The only device he carried with him was that necklace. It was a special necklace because it had a big gem which was also showing some kind of electromagnetic pulse in it. This special necklace is not a long distance signal sending beacon device but actually a remote control device for his spaceship. Now why does an alien need a remote control device for his spaceship? Because he can only recall his spaceship with the help of that device. Now the next question would be whether he was the alone space voyager in that big spaceship or not. It seems that he was alone otherwise he should have carried a beacon device or even a communication device for keeping contact constantly with the spaceship or other aliens in that spaceship. I have watched many alien movies in which a single or a group of aliens came out of the spaceships. Some of them did have that beacon device but nobody carried a remote control device with them. This is something new, weird and of course out of logic. The second weird thing was the nudity of that alien. The last alien in a Bollywood movie (Koi... Mil Gaya), Jadoo also came out of a spaceship wearing a spacesuit. It is simple science that if you travel into deep space for interplanetary spaceflight, you will need a spacesuit and if the alien looks like a human, that alien definitely needs a spacesuit for that purpose. The third weird thing is the biological structure of that alien. He looks like human and later he also learned how to talk in human language. But later he informed us that nobody in his home planet talks because the communication between two aliens is done completely by telepathy. Biology says that nature builds all animals even humans and develops all the organs as per requirement of those animals. That means if the alien doesn’t need to talk for communication in his world, that alien body should not have a mouth at all. If we consider that he has a mouth only for eating, then what about the ability of talking which he develops later on Earth. I think Vocal Cord is also considered as an organ in Biology. This kind of fact was handled quite wisely in the Hollywood movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 2008. The alien was re-born rather genetically re-modified in its human shape with the help of pre-collected human DNA from Earth.

“PK” is a Bollywood Hindi movie and certainly not a science fiction movie. So, discussing scientific facts in this review is a waste of words. Let’s get inside the movie. Soon after the Alien lands on Earth, he loses his remote control device. A villager snatches that device from his body and while chasing that villager, the alien managed to get the boombox from the villager but couldn't recover his lost device. Without that device, the alien cannot recall his spaceship and return to his home planet. So, the first target would obviously be to find out that remote control device. This is where and how his journey begins on Earth. The alien starts to learn human cultures and behaviours. The first thing he learns that humans wear cloths so does he. Next lesson is that there are male and female versions of clothes. Even different male or different female humans wear different types of clothes on different occasion or purpose. I don’t think this human alike alien doesn’t know the difference between a male and a female animal. Then he understands about the value of money in human society. He discovers two ways of earning money and clothes. One hilarious way is stealing money and clothes from dancing cars. If humans do sex in cars, that car shakes and the alien describes that car as dancing car. Another way is stealing money from the bowls of blind beggars. May be you’ll find a few dancing cars in remote places in India but I don’t think you will see dancing cars publicly in Indian cities in broad daylight. This alien meets Bhairon Singh (played by Sanjay Dutt) and becomes his friend. Bhairon finds that his new friend always tries to grab hands of other people. Bhairon thinks that his friend needs sex so he takes him to a nearby brothel. There the alien meets a prostitute and grabbed her hands for some hours for absorbing her memories and knowledge. By the next morning, the alien learned her mother tongue Bhojpuri and therefore the alien also starts talking in Bhojpuri and eating paan (betel). Now the alien understands that if he wants to find his lost device, he will have to go to Delhi.

The core story actually takes place in Delhi. In a big city like Delhi, people get irritated by his simple questions that whether they have seen his lost remote control device or how to find that device. People generally react with asking him in return “peekay ho kya?” which means “are you drunk?” but eventually the alien was labeled with the name PK. He met all kinds of people and even police and asked for his device but finally he came under the impression from all the reactions he witnessed that only God knows and can help him to find his device. But who is this God? Where does he live? He visits all kinds of God’s houses like Temples, Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras etc. to meet him personally. But God personally doesn’t live in any of those houses and finally PK gets into the conclusion that God is as a matter of fact missing. He distributes the leaflets that God is missing and if anybody finds God, can contact with PK and inform him about the whereabouts of God. While distributing those leaflets, PK meets the television reporter Jaggu (played by Anushka Sharma). Jaggu has got her own story. Her actual name is Jagat Janani which was given by a God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj (Played by Saurabh Shukla). Jaggu’s father (played by Parikshit Sahni) respects this God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj and doesn’t do anything at all without consulting with him or taking permission from him. When Jaggu informs her father that she is in love with Sarfaraz Yousuf (played by Sushant Singh Rajput) who is a Muslim and also comes from Pakistan, Jaggu’s father immediately rushes to meet Tapasvi Maharaj for his advice. This God-Man predicts the future that Sarfaraz will betray her. Next day Jaggu decides to marry Sarfaraz but on the wedding day, due to a misunderstanding, the marriage didn’t happen and then Jaggu returned to India from Europe with a broken heart. Jaggu joins a news channel as a reporter and looks for sensational news. When Jaggu meets PK, Jaggu follows him and tries to understand him. PK tells her his whole story but she couldn’t believe him completely. Later she got the proof that PK really can grab memories by touching hands of other people. Jaggu was not completely sure whether PK is an alien or not but she was quite sure on one thing that the way PK behaves, how he asks straightforward and innocent questions to people around him, there must be something special in him. Somehow PK himself seems to be a news to her. In his quest of finding his device, PK comes to know that some God-Men have direct contact with God as they claim to common people. One day PK reaches to an ashram or gathering place where the God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj was running a demonstration of showing people that he can contact directly with God and therefore he has got all the solutions for the problems of common people or his followers. PK notices that that God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj has got his remote control device in his possession but that God-Man is telling people that this device is actually a part of Lord Shiva’s Damaru which Tapasvi Maharaj has found in Himalayas. When PK claims his property, the guards forcefully showed him the door. PK amuses why so much people follow and trust these God-Men without any doubt and pay their respects to them. He gradually understands that this is actually a business. These so called God-Men sometimes perform some magic tricks to gain the trust of common people that they have the real divine power of communicating with God and if they want, they can show the common people the remedy and solution for the problems in their lives. So if the common people make him pleased with money, he can also get them out of their miseries in return. The only capital which these so called God-Men are using in this business, is the fear of common people towards God. So PK’s ultimate realization is “Jo dar gaya, woh mandir gaya” which means “On being scared, one goes to temple”.

Now Jaggu plans a strategy how to expose these frauds and so called God-Men to the people of India. She takes permission from her boss (played by Boman Irani), assembles a team of cameramen and PK. They went to the ashram or gathering place of God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj with full arrangement of recording videos and then PK challenged Tapasvi Maharaj that whatever remedy or solutions he is offering to his followers or common people pretending that all the solutions are actually being conferred by God directly to him, are all wrong and by no means God could have provided such solutions to the common people because God loves every human being equally and treats them as children. God cannot make his followers suffer more while ending their all kinds of sufferings in life. That means the way in which that so call God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj was pretending to make contact with God directly, was completely wrong. PK described that as the “Wrong Number”. That incident was recorded by Jaggu and her team and later she showed that video on her news channel and asked common people to send her this kind of videos naming them as “Wrong Number”. People responded very well by sending a lot of similar videos to that news channel. One Muslim school girl even sent a video with a message “Itna chota nahin ho sakta hamara khuda, ki use hamare school jaane pe aitraaz ho” which means “God cannot be so mean that he imposes objection against our will of going to school”. Then Jaggu’s boss was convinced that they can telecast a live show on this subject and conduct a face to face debate between PK and God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj on that show. Both Jaggu and her boss were confident that PK would expose that fraudulent so called God-Man Tapasvi Maharaj to the people of India. Tapasvi Maharaj was nervous and scared of being exposed and losing his well established business of cheating people with fake assurances that he can make people out of their miseries. Tapasvi Maharaj even questioned in front of media whether anybody knows which religion PK actually belongs to. The media pressure, popularity of PK and negative publicity on this kind of religious or God based business left Tapasvi Maharaj no way but to accept the challenge of facing PK in a live debate on TV. Tapasvi Maharaj thought that if he successfully confuses PK about religion and the way of following God and PK doesn’t give him the answers, he can save his business and regain popularity. The show started and Tapasvi Maharaj directly questioned about his religion and asked if he has any better way to show people compassion or help them being out of their miseries. I thought this debate was going to be a tough and long one but it soon became a personal challenge between Tapasvi Maharaj and PK. Tapasvi Maharaj once predicted that Sarfaraz Yousuf would betray Jaggu and exactly that had happened. PK said that Sarfaraz didn’t betray Jaggu rather it was a simple matter of misunderstanding. Tapasvi Maharaj was furious and announced that if PK proves that the prediction was incorrect, then Tapasvi Maharaj himself would hand over that remote control device to PK. Then PK asks Jaggu to contact with Sarfaraz Yousuf in Pakistan over telephone. After a few attempts, she made a call to Sarfaraz and then the actual truth came out that PK was right. PK got his device back and then he reached the desert of Rajasthan accompanied by Jaggu. PK returned to his home planet by his spaceship at the end. But after one year, PK returns to Earth again with a group of aliens including a special one (played by Ranbir Kapoor). It was more like a packaged tour to Earth with PK being the guide of that tour party. The director Rajkumar Hirani has also kept the interests alive for a sequel.

Rajkumar Hirani makes all his movies including "PK" with full of comedy and very very hilarious punch lines and comical incidents often make the audience compelled to fall down from their seats bursting out with laughter. But Rajkumar Hirani also conveys a strong social message through his movies. He has raised a lot of questions via a straightforward and innocent person like PK about all the religions, the diverse and peculiar ways of following respective Gods in those different religions. The tagline “Jo dar gaya, woh mandir gaya” is the message he has tried to convey to the audience and the people of India. But Temples, Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras etc. or the religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism etc. or the different ways of following the respective Gods themselves are not the subjects Rajkumar Hirani is trying to make fun of, in his movie “PK”. Religion is a sensitive issue in India and nobody dares to play with the issue or make fun of it specially if you want to make a film touching that issue, you will definitely play with care otherwise the sensor board as well as various radical religious groups or extremists will come into the arena. I think Rajkumar Hirani has targeted only those so called God-Men who have flourished in India over the years. We are currently living in the twenty first century.
The time has changed, and so must we. We should not allow these God-Men doing business using our faith, religion, our emotions and respects towards our deities pretending that they are the only direct communication or media between God and us. If the common people have faith on their God, they can pray directly to God or visit the home of God like Temples, Churches, Mosques, Gurdwaras etc. and pay their respects directly to God. I remember a particular dialogue in a recent Hollywood movie “Man of Steel” in which Father Leone tells Clark Kent (Superman) that “Sometimes, you have to take a leap of faith first. The trust part comes later”. This is a very important sentence if you want to define God and religion.

This is not the first time that a film director tries to convey this message to the people of India. We have seen “OMG – Oh My God!” directed by Umesh Shukla couple of years ago. But by comparison with that movie, "PK" has performed better and God himself also didn’t come to rescue his followers in “PK". I also want to discuss on couple of other issues which are somehow inter-connected with each other in “PK". While exploring the human nature and behaviours, PK falls in love with Jaggu but senses that Jaggu in fact loves Sarfaraz. PK hides his own love and only at the time of returning his home planet, just before embarking on his spaceship, Jaggu discovers PK’s sentiments towards her but couldn’t react at all. Later Jaggu published a book on PK and explained that PK actually sacrificed his love for Jaggu and never looked back to her while departing Earth because he probably wanted to hide his tears. In another incident, while Bhairon Singh was coming to Delhi to meet his friend PK and hand over the thief who snatched PK's remote control device,  both Bhairon Singh and the thief were killed in a bomb explosion in the Delhi railway station. That explosion took place just in front of PK and he got cold feet due to the intensity of that explosion. The thief paid the price for his crime but PK's innocent friend Bhairon Singh was the victim of either the act of terrorism or the pursuit of destiny. The loss of Bhairon Singh taught PK the lesson of going through the pain or sorrow of losing somebody like a relative or friend. PK has learnt both the feelings of love and sorrow in one life on Earth. He came to Earth naked and while departing Earth, he never looked back to Jaggu. Maybe Rajkumar Hirani was inspired by the “Mahaprasthanika Parva” from the Indian epic “Mahabharata” that he has tried to showcase the great journey of a human being on Earth from his birth to death.

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