Kyon's Fate
India 2005
Directed by Priyadarshan.

Anand (Salman Khan) committed murder but was declared insane and placed in an asylum, where psychologist Dr. Sunil (Jackie Shroff) and Tanvi (Kareena Kapoor) look after him. Anand is a endearingly cute, simpleminded madman, and as it turns out, his father helped Dr. Sunil earn his degree, while Dr. Tanvi treats him cruelly at first, but is finally softened by his charm. Her father (Om Puri), the director of the asylum, on the other hand, prefers handling him with electroshock therapy, especially as punishment for his many minor infractions.

Of course, the film makes a travesty of insane asylum conditions and actual mental illness, a point which made psychiatrists in Mumbai protest the film and demand edits. Apparently, they are not a very influential bunch, since none were made. It hardly makes a difference, anyway. A proper edit of the film would take about two hours out.

The first 40 minutes of the film are quite promising, though. Anand is committed, and his interaction with the other inmates is sweet. The highlight of the film comes when he tries to explain how important music is to a full life, in an attempt to get enough inmates to vote for having the sound system play music during the day.

If only the film kept along that tack, it would have been a highlight of Salman Khan's career. Unfortunately, the film derails shortly afterwards. First, Tanvi reads up on his endless backstory. How did he end up in an asylum? Well, it's a loooong story. The short version is he spotted a sexy nun-in-training and wooed her away from God to be with him, then a tragic accident occurs, and he goes crazy. Then, our Doctor heroes begin the long rehabilitation process, which involves a lot of singing and running around in the hills nearby. Tanvi's father, meanwhile, arranges for her marriage to some shmuck, but she gets all gaga for Anand, so Daddy needs to abuse his power and make sure he stays committed, even when it seems he has recovered. Too bad the other inmates were unceremoniously dumped in order to fit in all the romance. Without them, the entire enterprise gets dull quite quickly. The proceedings aren't helped by a flat performance from Kareena Kapoor and an all-out bad one from an exceptionally unconvincing Jackie Shroff.

Those who believe all Bollywood movies are cheap knock-offs of Hollywood productions will want to lick their hand to slick their hair back as they declare it to be a cheap rip-off of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. Well, maybe so, to an extent, and certainly director Priadarshan is known to be a serial plagarist. But it isn't quite that simple: The movie is actually a remake of his own Malayalam film THALAVATTAM, which one could say was inspired by CUCKOO. Though really, it steals far more plot points from KHAMOSHI, a psyciatric hospital drama from 1969 in which a nurse falls in love with her patient, who, when cured, no longer recognizes her. But in fact I would say our plagarist-seeker is half right in this case: KYON KI bears no resemblance to CUCKOO at first -- but then, in the end, there arrives a plot twist that could only exist because it was stolen from CUCKOO, otherwise, it didn't have any reason to be there.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on March 10, 2008.

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