The 1959 Gurudutt classic ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’ was so ahead of its time that it tanked at the Box Office, and later got elevated to world cult classic status.
Ironically, and perhaps reflecting the sad state of Bollywood’s growth, in 2015 we get a film titled ‘Kaagaz ke Fools’, which is so regressive and dated that it just might have made some Kaagaz Ke Fools sense back in the 50s. Purushottam (Vinay Pathak) is an honest writer, but his work doesn’t get published because the publishers want masala. His whiny wife (Mugdha Godse) wouldn’t let him rest in peace until he gets ambitious. The husband is driven away by the wife’s constant nagging, straight into the arms of the bad world of gambling, alcohol and a Devdas’ Chandramukhi-like call girl (Raima Sen).
Pathak has become so repetitive and mechanical that Kaagaz Ke Fools it’s becoming difficult to tell one role of his from another. Sad for an actor who recently showed us what he’s capable of in ‘Badlapur’. Saurabh Shukla is around with no significant contribution, as if to merely give Pathak company. Someone needs to tell Godse that shrieking doesn’t equal acting. As far as Raima is concerned, she seems to be sleepwalking through the film.
Well, if nothing, the film makes us painfully aware of the difference between a phool and a fool.
The name of the film leads you to believe that Kaagaz ke Fools is a comedy, but it is at best, an attempt at it with rather painful results. KKF is the story of an aspiring writer, Purushotam (Vinay Pathak) who won’t alter his works to suit popular tastes and hence, finds it difficult to get his novel published. He is a good husband, but also an unambitious common man whose life takes a dramatic turn, thanks to one night of debauchery. His wife Nikki (Mugdha Godse) is a nagging housewife, constantly pestering her Kaagaz Ke Fools husband to be more successful like his friends or demanding a foreign holiday like the neighbour. Tired of the fights that flare up at home every night, Purushotam walks out of the house to get himself a drink, but lands himself instead, at a bar called Kukuji’s Aashram where he not only finds alcohol, but a hidden gambler’s streak and a prostitute (Raima Sen).