Cast: Harshvardhan Rane, Mawra Hocane, Shraddha Das, Vijay Raaz , Manish Choudhary, Murli Sharma, Pyumori Mehta, Divyetta and Rushad Rana
Director: Radhika rao, Vinay Sapru
Rating: * *
Runtime: 180 mins
This desi Valentine offering is high on melodrama and contrivances and low on chemistry and soul. The film begins with Inder(Harshvardhan Rane) going straight from a court hearing to a mansion located somewhere in the outskirts of the city, walking into the backyard under a tree marked as a memorial to Saraswati Parihar. The minute he walks under the tree it carpet bombs him with it’s pink flowers. That moment is supposedly significant to the telling of this story, but you wouldn’t know it then.
Inder is then shown hanging iout in the corridor with his skimpily clad girl friend(Shradda Das) unabashed about their public displays of affection in front of several of the society members who stay in the same building. One such member Mr Parthasarthy( Manish Chaudhary) portrayed as a conservative and ramrod, uptight, south Indian Brahmin takes exception to his behavior and complains to the society. Inder’s jailbird past and lawyer like argumentativeness is alluded to, as reason for action or lack of it. The set-up is clearly ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’, ‘Hero’ territory. Then comes the lift breakdown in which Parthasarthy’s older daughter, the unmarried , bespectacled plain Jane, Saru(Mawra Hocane) is trapped in with Inder. A few more meetings and a humiliation from a prospective groom later, she feels emboldened enough to ask Inder for his help , at 4 am no less, in getting her a makeover-ostensibly to trap a high in demand IIT-IIM groom. And there’s Abhimanyu, the guy she has a crush on, just waiting in the wings, to fall for that trick. But before that the script conspires to get her reputation sullied and have her cold-hearted father banish her from the home while declaring her publicly( hawan and pind et al) dead to the family. That opens the door for the younger daughter to get married to her fiancé and for Inder and Saru to showcase several ‘Sadma’ like expressions of unrequited love. And while all that was on the treatment was steadily inching towards the ‘death’ wrap. ‘Love Story’ has been done to death and there’s been plenty of new age wannabes both from Hollywood and Bollywood trying to aim for that emotive high. This one though is exceptionally wanting.
There’s no logic in the set-up, nor is there any sense in the geography of it. Stock shots might be an acceptable way of cost-cutting but they do nothing for strengthening believability. With two directors helming the enterprise, it seems as if both were working at cross purposes during filming and managed to get a smart editor (Deven Murdeshwar )to snipe out and paper over the wide story telling gaps. But the dichotomy of purpose is pretty much obvious. Chirantan Das’ cinematography gets the postcard moments right. The breaks into song and dance look ridiculous and the choreography is just terrible. Even the performances look extremely patchy. Characters change shades at will without any logical substance supporting that cause. And the crying fit as an end play is a little too tedious to stomach. Most of the characters , other than that of the heroine , aren’t credited with having any job as such. They come and go from the frame as and when required with the contrivances and manipulations exposed at all levels. Cliches are a bane here. This film appears to have borrowed heavily from the Bollywood cliché dictionary and every moment is thus enshrined. Saru behaves like a spastic for most of the film while Inder is merely there to be a cut-out of sorts. Pakistani VJ turned actress Mawra Hocane is bearable and has an endearing personality while Harshvardhan Rane makes less use of his expressive eyes while overexposing his overrated body. There’s not much sizzle between them but they don’t look too bad together either. It’s the ‘most ridiculous script ever’ that really stunts this experience. Add to that the miserly direction and all you get from this outing is a series of unchained, fairly remarkable, melodies from Himesh Reshammiya with lyrics by Sameer, the most profound of which is undoubtedly ‘ Haal-e-dil mat pooch muje sanam..’ No prizes for guessing why that is so.