This is more a relationship story than a love story and that seems to bother some people. When you are ‘katti’ and then ‘batti’ with your partner, that is how it goes with a man and a woman living together for any length of time. Except for the first few scenes, which give you the impression that you are in for a yet another silly rom- com, Katti Batti is a watchable movie about the ups and downs of two fairly obsessive, sometimes paranoid, people.
Consider their neuroses. Maddy (Imran Khan) thinks his pet turtle, a reptile that thinks it’s an amphibian, is human. Payal (Kangana Ranaut), on the other hand, is very particular about personal hygiene. She has left her wealthy home in Delhi to live with this adman in a rented home in Mumbai, and she is usually on a bric-a-brac hunt to make the place adequately liveable. And when he fails to notice that the curtains in the house have been changed, she is hopping mad. His toilet habits have got to her too, particularly his inability to hold his soldier and aim directly at the toilet bowl, instead ‘spraying it around like a celebration with an uncorked champagne bottle’. These are among the things that make it difficult for a woman to live with a man, she says.
Both Imran and Kangana do this endearing act very well, and you see them making lots of memories for each other in amusing ways. Then they have this big fight and she splits for her family home in Delhi. Unfortunately, director Nikhil Advani resorts to a completely unnecessary twist in the plot which turns this movie from a fairly moving story about how relationships fail to a conventional tear-jerker of no consequence. And so this director loses an opportunity to make a statement on the nature of men and women and why their friendships, despite their best intentions, do not survive pressures of urban life. Instead, what we end up with is the conformist comfort of a hundred Hollywood movies.