Hum Tum (2004)
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee
Director: Kunal Kohli
Music: Jatin Lalit
Nutshell: Good intentions aside, poor direction and a dire script cripple this dull affair
Reviewed by: Faiz Khan
Hum Tum is Kunal Kohli’s second effort but not one where he has learnt from his past mistakes in Mujhse Dosti karoge. Hum Tum aspires to be a simple and yet witty love story handled maturely but fails to live up to expectations despite its promising premise.
The film opens with cartoonist and now writer Karan Kapoor (Saif Ali Khan) launching his book, a book called Hum Tum and based on his life experience of love. Unshaven, its clear that the man’s journey is still incomplete, his true “love” having eluded him thus far. We then launch into flashback time and move to 10 years earlier. Karan meets Rhea Prakash (Rani Mukherjee) as they are both leaving for New York for further studies. Karan comes from the school of thought that girls are to be “played” around with and with that in mind, seated next to Rhea, he tries to make an impression. After a false start or two, the two go along exploring Amsterdam in their brief stop-over and the usual bantering ends up with kiss on her lips and a slap on his face.
Six months later, they bump into each other again in New York. Further bantering and a few more “you are sick” lines from Rhea, seemingly Rhea’s favourite line in the film for our bedraggled hero, we then cut to 3 years later…or is it months? Karan’s mother is a wedding co-ordinator and Karan now, sporting a Tom Cruise haircut (which looks anything but a Tom Cruise haircut) is helping his mother when in walks the bride to be…none other than Rhea. After a few spoutings on what true love is, Karan bids farewell to Rhea, who is happily bethrothed to Samir (Abhishek Bachchan).
A year passes and whilst on a French train, Karan once again bumps into Rhea who tells him that Samir is no longer in her life. It’s time for Intermission. Post intermission, we find that Rhea is now a widow, despising of people’s sympathy and therefore, of all places, has settled in Paris with her mother, to stave off any attempts to get her remarried. And lo and behold, Karan has come to meet his father in Paris, a fashion photographer whom separated from his mother 17 years ago. Karan now gets around to trying to rebuild Rhea’s life in only the way he can but not imagining that he is right for her or that she may be right for him. Does love triumph in the end? Is the earth round?
Its all rather predictable really but one knew that right from the outset. In fact, there are only so many permutations that you can give to a love story and the film very much depends on how it is treated by the Director. Kunal Kohli has a neat idea but fails to capitalize on it because of a weak script. The film juggles along at an ordinary pace but with the same candyfloss appeal that most Yash Chopra productions have and a superficial charm which proves to be annoying rather than cute. Hum Tum required a great deal more wit than it has and it falls foul to the usual clichéd situations. You never see the two really bond as friends and somehow, it’s not very convincing. The scene in which they pretend to be playing the characters in an “arranged marriage” also falls flat.
There is also the introduction of the father, an unnecessary character, introduced to make his son realize that he must not make the same mistakes that he made in his life. The problem is also that Saif’s character shows little movement, or maturity as time flies by. It may be that the essence of the film centres on the fact that males, being commitment phobes and incapable to letting the kid out of them, would continue to behave the same fashion as they did 10 years ago but somehow, this does not come across effectively. You feel that the character remains stagnant, a change of hair style being your indicator for “growth”. Simplicity is also not to blame because the barest of bare plots, Dil to Pagal Hai worked despite its simplicity because it had within it, a kind of untold passion which this film lacks. There is neither novelty nor vision in Kohli’s work, just simple and clean entertainment, somewhat vacuous and too sanitary.
Saif plays his role to the best of his ability but comes off somewhat less effectively than he has in his previous two three films. Perhaps the humour and the timing in Kal Ho Na Ho and Dil Chahta hai was such that one expected more. Rani Mukherjee is a consummate actress who manages to bring a certain class to her performances. This is not earth-shattering stuff but she brings a certain quiet charm to her role. Rishi Kapoor in a special appearance brings a spark to his role. Jatin-Lalit after some time, manage an engaging score. It’s a harmless enough film, ultimately fairly inconsequential and utterly forgettable. A shame.