Review of “When Kiran Met Karen”

 
 

Casting this film was no easy feat for Katohora, but rather a
two-year process that included the withdrawal of at least two big names
attached to the project. But Almeida and Holsopple are capable leads and
well-suited to their respective roles. Their chemistry runs more chummy than
steamy, but at least theirs isn’t an improbable pairing.

And while Almeida’s performance may lack subtlety, it seems
unfair to blame her when the role she’s been handed lacks dimension.

The deficiently attentive Kiran needs constant stimulation —
whether it be TV, music, booze or coke — and is ever restless and bored. She is
high drama even when she’s alone, at one point sprawling across a pool table as
if enacting a crime-scene outline just for solitary kicks.

In any event, some of the film’s sillier moments are
admittedly kind of sweet. Kiran and Karen share an impromptu Bollywood-style
(if not that elaborate) dance interlude that the mansion’s architect must have
had in mind when designing the twin staircases flanking its entryway. And at
another point, though they’re sitting so close their legs are touching, the
women handle the mounting erotic tension by texting each other. Kiran asks,
“will u have txt with me?” Karen replies, “have u ever had txt with a
woman?”

But some of the schmaltzier moments are indeed the most
entertaining — particularly if you’re able to find amusement in small details,
such as when the women take easy puffs on a supposed joint as if it were a
cigarette. Or when Kiran politely asks if she can take Karen’s coat, then
unceremoniously flings it over the banister, as if no one on set considered that
a spotless billion-dollar home would probably have a coat closet that gets
used, or simply didn’t bother to point it out.

And do both women
really need to climb up to the second-story balcony after they find themselves
locked out in the back yard? At first it seemed preposterous that Kiran would
follow Karen rather than waiting for her to run downstairs and let her in
through the back door. But then Kiran would never have sustained a fateful
scrape on her tender inner thigh, and the piano music would never have kicked
in at the moment Karen unfurls a bandage and lovingly affixes it to the wound.

Whether or not it’s intentional, the film certainly has a campy
appeal.

Ultimately, the biggest disappointment of this film is the twist
ending, which I won’t reveal here. But suffice it to say that with hardly a
single redeeming quality among the three lead characters, it’s hard to get too
invested in who ends up with whom, equally deserving as they are of each
other’s bad company. Kiran in particular proves to be a poor judge of character
when it comes to both men and women.
And in the end, it’s hard to care too much about the meeting of two fictional
characters I’d never care to meet in real life.

This film was screened at the 2008 Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian film festival.

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