Dil Jo Bhi Kahey

Source: Sify

By: By Taran Adarsh (IndiaFM)

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Friday 23 September 2005

Movie Title

Dil Jo Bhi Kahey


Romesh Sharma

Star Cast

Amitabh Bachchan, Revathy, Karan Sharma, Annabelle Wallace, Bhumika Chawla, Malcolm Stoddard, Claire Oberman

A love story starring two debutantes and padded with impressive names in supporting roles has been the norm in Bollywood. Place the story on a foreign destination, garnish it with romance and honey-sweet songs, add parental opposition to heighten the drama and voila, the prem kahani is ready to be served.

Dil Jo Bhi Kahey?, directed by debutante Romesh Sharma, follows a similar path. The cinematic adaptation of the French TV series C'Est La Vie [which was made by Romesh Sharma for Mauritian television and starred Karan in the same role that he is portraying in the film!], Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? looks at the East versus West clash, but as it progresses, it turns out to be one routine love story.

Yes, most love stories embark on a similar route, but a gripping narrative coupled with a solid drama is what makes the difference. The problem with Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? is that the drama isn't fiery enough and the music, which should compliment the love story, lacks the enchanting power to stay on your lips.

Result: Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? has dil, but lacks dhadkan to strike a chord!

Jai [Karan Sharma], a Mauritian of Indian origin, falls in love with Sophie [Annabelle Wallace] while studying in Stockholm. The pair finds itself at crossroads since their parents don't agree to the match.

While Jai's father Shekhar [Amitabh Bachchan] has a liberal view on marriage and approves the relationship with zero hesitation, his mom Sandhya [Revathy], an orthodox woman, isn't comfortable with the idea of having an English daughter-in-law.

In the conflict that ensues, Jai decides to marry an Indian girl [Bhoomika Chawla], a doctor, who gets to know the truth subsequently and decides to back out.

Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? had the right essence to develop into a fine love story, but the film starts floundering at the outset itself. Karan and Annabelle fall in love after the initial awkwardness and soon, realization dawns upon Annabelle that her father would never approve of the match. The lovers decide to go separate ways within the first 20 minutes of the enterprise.

However, Karan promises Annabelle that he'd never betray her trust and the lovers are back together. But the moment Karan gets to know that his father has lost his job and his mother has been hospitalized, he decides to call off the relationship without even letting Annabelle know the truth. Why, he doesn't even answer her calls. Couldn't Karan have revealed the truth to Annabelle then? When Annabelle wanted to call off the relationship at the outset, Karan had insisted that they'd face all storms [oppositions] together, so why back out now?

Soon after Revathy returns from the hospital, a few sequences later, Karan is ready to marry the girl [Bhumika Chawla] his mother has chosen for him. What was the idea behind making Karan so submissive? The youth today is generally known to be headstrong and most of the times, would never bow down to parental pressures, but showing the hero as meek and helpless will not be digested by the target audience of this love story: The youth!

Another glaring flaw in the screenplay is that the effort to bring Karan and Annabelle together is undertaken not by either of the lovers, but by Karan's friend [Manuj Gulati] all the while and by Bhumika in the climax. For the Indian moviegoer, a hero is no hero if he lacks dynamism or heroism to win his lady love himself. Actually, Karan makes zero effort to get back to Annabelle, which is so surprising.

Besides, making Karan and Annabelle speak in English may seem right technically, but this aspect limits the film to urban audiences mainly. Of course, there is a sutradhaar [Danny Denzongpa's voiceover in Hindi] that does simplify things for those who may find the language difficult to comprehend, but the generous usage of English is not too exciting in a desi kahani. Also, the slow pacing is another deterrent!

Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? narrates a story that may've appealed in the 1970s and 1980s, but when set in 2005, it ought to be progressive. Besides an archaic plot, the screenplay lacks the twists and turns to increase your anxiety levels. Sequences that depict Amitabh getting fired from his job or Bhumika's sacrifice towards the end are as old as the hills. Even the finale, when Bhumika reveals that she had cooked up an alibi to bring the lovers together, is far from interesting.

Romesh Sharma, the director, is letdown by Romesh Sharma, the writer. As a technician, Romesh has handled a few sequences with grace, like the one when Karan takes his parents to Annabelle's home for dinner, but a hackneyed plot does maximum damage to the enterprise. A love story ought to be embellished with hit music, but Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music doesn't meet the expectations. Barring the title track, the remaining tracks are strictly okay. Cinematography [Binod Pradhan, Gopal Shah] is effectual.

Karan makes a decent debut. The sincerity to perform diligently is evident throughout. However, he needs to take care of his makeup and wardrobe. Annabelle appears photogenic and acts pretty well. Amitabh Bachchan is efficient as ever. Revathy is first-rate. Bhumika Chawla scores in the latter reels. Manuj Gulati, as Karan's friend, is confident and likeable. Malcolm Stoddard and Claire Oberman [Annabelle's parents] are fair. Romesh Sharma is adequate.

On the whole, Dil Jo Bhi Kahey? lacks the power to cast a web on youth or those who prefer mushy love stories. At the box-office, the hype surrounding the film is clearly missing and in view of the fact that the film rests on a routine plot, the chances of survival seem remote.

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