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'Hamari Adhuri Kahaani' Review: Dull and regressive!

'Hamari Adhuri Kahaani' Review: Dull and regressive!

SIFY

Friday 12 June 2015

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Movie Title

Hamari Adhuri Kahaani

Director

Mohit Suri

Star Cast

Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Rajkumar Rao

Midway through the film, you might wonder if you're watching an '80s drama. For this is a film where the heroine clutches on to her mangalsutra and sermonizes about traditional Indian values. Where she is referred to as a 'devi' by a character, and at one point has the idol of Goddess Durga right behind her. Where the heroine is made to dress in unforgivably dowdy outfits to prove her "simple and traditional" values. Where she is made to touch the feet of her lover, 'cause he's helping her out.

Also, last but not the least…the film uses someone's diary, yes a personal diary, to take us into flashback, which comprises most of the film.

So in flashback mode, the story unfolds. We meet Vasudha (Vidya Balan) whose bullying husband (Rajkummar Rao) is absconding. A hotel florist, she meets Aarav (Emraan Hashmi in sharp suits) who owns, we're told, 108 hotels. Ok.

He’s impressed with her floral arrangements, and then, progressively with her. That their romance is highly superficially presented, and the two central actors share zero chemistry makes the film a drag. Add to that the tired angle of Vasudha's law-breaking (don't ask) husband making a comeback, which has the police involved.

To show that Aarav lives a jet-setting life, the makers have inserted a loyal friend/manager who says, "flight miss ho jayegi" with such regularity, it had the audience guffaw. This character (no fault of the actor, who is adequately earnest), provides further unintentional comical relief when he dissuades Aarav from going to a very dangerous place that's ridden with bombs, and when Aarav persists, says that he's coming along anyway as if they were going river-rafting.

A word about the styling. While one is still grappling with what made Vidya Balan— she of 'The Dirty Picture' and 'Kahaani' legacy— accept this role, one also wonders why she's styled so awfully. Does a character that is simple and conventional have to be dressed dowdily? It's tragic, really.

Among the only couple of redeeming moments in the film is Vasudha talking about the soulfulness of regular gardens rather than over-maintained, manicured ones. Again, the dialogue that says, 'Jo Baandhta hai, who bandhta bhi hai' (those who try to cage, are also caged themselves) has an interesting thought, that's not explored.

The performances are below-par, if you take the actors' best work into consideration. Vidya Balan is capable of so much more. Here she tries convincing us of her spineless character that simply does not connect. Balan's eyes are still beautifully evocative, but how much life can you breathe into an unconvincing character?

Emraan Hashmi looks dazed and jaded through the film, which is probably due to the strait-jacketed characterization. Rajkummar Rao, again a superb actor, is let down by an incomplete, simplistic characterization.

One hears the film crew flew to a scenic location to shoot lilies for one single scene. If that's true, it's odd indeed. For one wishes such efforts were instead directed towards building the story and its characters.

Mohit Suri is a fine director, but has often displayed a misogynistic core in some of his films. That continues here, as the story takes one shockingly regressive turn after the other. It's difficult to process that Mahesh Bhatt has penned this story.

Rating: One Star