It's difficult for a featherweight musical romance to remain light and breezy for 151 minutes, but the disarmingly charming "Kismat Konnection" rarely dawdles long enough for auds to note the passing of time or the padding of plot.

It’s difficult for a featherweight musical romance to remain light and breezy for 151 minutes, but the disarmingly charming “Kismat Konnection” rarely dawdles long enough for auds to note the passing of time or the padding of plot. One of a handful of recent Bollywood confections to get relatively wide North American release day-and-date with first runs in India, pic could generate word of mouth sufficiently favorable to attract ticketbuyers heretofore unexposed to such fare. Sweetly sincere love story, engaging performances by attractive leads and spirited presentations of peppy production numbers will be major selling points.

Borrowing a few narrative nuggets from several U.S. romantic comedies — most notably, “Just My Luck” and “Two Weeks Notice” — scripter Sanjay Chel spins a predictable but serviceable scenario about an ambitious but unlucky Toronto architect whose fortunes change when he meets a charming beauty.

Five years after graduating from college as a most-likely-to-succeed go-getter, Raj Malhotra (Shahid Kapoor) is still looking for his first big assignment. Along with Hitten (Vishal Malhotra), his equally stressed-for-success friend and partner, Raj is desperate to impress a powerful business tycoon, Sanjeev Gill (the great Om Puri), with designs for an urban shopping mall. But he can’t begin to make his pitch until he runs into the beautiful Priya (Vidya Balan).

It’s dislike at first sight when Raj and Priya nearly collide in an auto mishap, and their subsequent chance encounters are no less contentious. Only gradually does Raj realize that Priya is, quite literally, his lucky charm. The longer he’s around her, the easier it is for him to win over Sanjeev. Of course, it’s even easier for him to fall in love with Priya, despite her inconvenient engagement to another fellow.

While lenser Binod Pradham contrives to make Toronto look like the loveliest spot on earth where people can fall in love, helmer Aziz Mirza keeps things moving at a reasonably brisk pace. Kapoor comes across as puppy-doggishly charming even when Raj occasionally behaves caddishly, and Balan is all the more appealing while suggesting — subtly, demurely — that Priya wishes she had met Raj before she met her fiance. Chawla adds a tangy dollop of flirtiness to her comic turn as a mischievous medium, and Himani Shivpuri steals scenes shamelessly as the tycoon’s demanding wife.

Choreographer Ahmed Khan puts everyone through all the right moves in production numbers that range from ballad-fueled romanticism to techno-pop sexy.

Kismat Konnection

India

Production

A UTV Motion Pictures release of a Tips Industries presentation and production. Produced by Kumar S. Taurani, Ramesh S. Taurani. Directed by Aziz Mirza. Screenplay, Sanjay Chel.

Crew

Camera (color), Binod Pradham; editor, Amitabh Shukla; art directors, Kishan R. Gupta, Sukanta Panigrahy; costume designer, Shabina Khan; sound (Dolby), Parikshit Lalwani, Kunal Gupta; choreographer, Ahmed Khan. Reviewed at AMC Studio 30, Houston, July 20, 2008. Running time: 151 MIN.

Cast

With: Shahid Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Juhi Chawla, Om Puri, Vishal Malhotra, Himani Shivpuri. (Hindi, English dialogue)
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