PK (2014) : a film review by Mark R. Leeper

  ‘PK’ is a 2014 Indian Science Fiction film about an alien who is visiting Earth. Within the first five minutes of his arrival, someone steals the device for recalling his spaceship. But unlike E.T., PK looks entirely human, even if he acts a little weird and talks a little strange. The weirdness is how PK gets his name: people keep calling him ‘peekay’, which is Hindi for ‘drunk’ or ‘tipsy’, as the subtitles would have it. The latter makes him sound like an alien Topper or Thin Man. 

  PK does have the same problem as E.T., but instead of hiding in closets or within Halloween costumes, he interacts with society, which he does not entirely understand. Example: he sees someone hand a vendor a 20-rupee note with Gandhi on it and get some food in return. So he collects all the pictures of Gandhi he can finds, like postcards, flyers and posters and tries to exchange them for food. 

  So this is much more a ‘first contact’ story with the convenience of PK able to acquire language skills fairly early on through telepathy. But the real focus of ‘PK’ the movie is religion, as PK tries to petition God, some God, any God, to help him get his ‘remote’ back after seeing everyone around him asking God for favours. Needless to say, it doesn’t work, and PK develops a philosophy that deals with this. 

  There is also a love story that serves more as bookends than as a through-thread and a few songs, but no major production numbers. Its main virtue is as a Science Fiction film. 

Released 18 December 2014; US release date unknown; currently on Netflix streaming. Rating: +2 (-4 to +4), or 7/10 


© Mark R. Leeper 2023

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