MUMBAI, (Reuters) – It’s the most anticipated Bollywood film of the year and no one knows what it’s about.
“PK” opens in Indian cinemas today with audiences still in the dark about the film’s storyline or why its naive and unworldly protagonist with pointy ears never blinks.
Trailers and publicity stills released in the past few weeks have sparked a guessing game about the plot, with its green-eyed hero said to be an alien or an autistic savant.
The film’s makers have laughed off speculation that “PK” is inspired by the 1994 Oscar-winning film, “Forrest Gump”, whose slow-witted narrator becomes a Vietnam war hero, cross-country runner and a successful businessman.
“You don’t want to reveal your film and ruin the viewing experience,” director Rajkumar Hirani told Reuters in an interview.
“We are trying to shake some pre-conceived notions, trying to look at things differently.”
Trailers for the film feature the protagonist saying he doesn’t know his name, although people call him ‘PK’, similar to the Hindi term for a drunk, a conclusion drawn from his antics. His lips are stained red from chewing betel nut.
One controversial poster showed leading man Aamir Khan walking along railway tracks, nude except for a vintage radio set covering his genitals. A trailer shows Khan in a ghagra, a traditional long skirt worn by women.
Trade analysts said curiosity about its storyline and the low-key marketing campaign would help “PK” at the box office.
“Christmas vacations haven’t started, but advance bookings have already picked up and almost all theatres, at least in Mumbai, are running full,” said one analyst, Amod Mehra.
Hirani’s track record as one of India’s most successful directors and top billing for Khan, one of its biggest stars, do not hurt.
The last time Hirani made a film, coincidentally also starring Khan, the result was Indian cinema’s biggest hit for four years.
His 2009 film, “3 Idiots,” a heart-warming tale about college life, was only upstaged last year, first by “Chennai Express” and then by “Dhoom 3”.
“PK” is assured of good box office and its makers are eyeing another record on Friday, when fans finally discover what it is about.
In October, “Happy New Year” set an opening-day record for a film in India, ringing up ticket sales of more than 440 million rupees ($7 million) on Oct. 24, the day after Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.