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Film Review

Reviewer: Asma Sayed

PK (2014), a science fiction comedy film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, is a satire focusing on superstition, organized religion, religious fundamentalism, and people’s reliance on the prophesies and advice of questionable godmen. The plot revolves around an alien (Aamir Khan) who comes to Planet Earth on a research trip. He lands in Rajasthan, India and finds himself stranded when he is robbed of his remote control. This device is his only means of beckoning his spaceship back to collect him.

The alien’s search for his remote leads him on a series of adventures through which he slowly begins to unravel the confusing social and cultural codes of India: an experience that defamiliarizes everyday India in sometimes provocative and hilarious ways. He arrives on Earth naked but quickly realizes that he must clothe himself and learn to communicate using language, in order to pass. First things first, he begins to collect garments, usually by stealing items hanging out of what he calls ‘shaking cars’: parked vehicles in alleys and other out-of-the-way locations being used for forbidden trysts. In a particularly amusing scene, he attracts significant attention due to his outfit: a Rajasthani woman’s skirt paired with a man’s shirt. He finally realizes that not only is his fashion sense unusual but that, to his disbelief, clothing is gendered. The next stage in his attempt to pass or assimilate, is to learn to communicate with humans so that he can ask them about his stolen remote control. Using his extra-terrestrial abilities, he is able to learn a language by holding a human’s hands. His attempts to hold hands with various people is the source of several humorous scenes. He does finally succeed in his mission to learn a human language. By holding a prostitute’s hands, he becomes a Bhojpuri speaking alien roaming in Rajasthan. Because of his ‘crazy’ ways of dressing, walking and talking, people think that he is drunk and nickname him PK (which means to be tipsy or drunk)—hence the title of the film.