Source: General

By: Lata Khubchandani

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Monday 29 May 2006

Movie Title



Kunal Kohli

Star Cast

Aamir Khan,Kajol,Rishi Kapoor,Kirron Kher,Tabu

Hype is a bad thing. It simply leads to disappointment. After raising expectations about the Aamir/Kajol jodi being seen for the first time. After titillating interest that an irked Aamir Khan was finally doing a film for the Yashraj Banner, after talking about this being Jatin/Lalit's final film as a pair. After all this.... what we get is a systematic breaking of expectations. First expectation - if Aamir does a film, the script must be flawless. Unfortunately, the picky Aamir picked a flawed one this time. The foolish errors are all part of the script itself. Did Aamir get so carried away by the so-called ideology that he by-passed them?

A blind girl Zooni Ali Baig brought up by doting parents, who have never tried to check if her sight could be set right; comes to Delhi for a Republic day function and falls in love with a tourist guide, Rehaan, played by Aamir with disarming appeal. The first 45 minutes of the film provide a kind of romance 'Mills and Boon' lovers would sigh over. In fact, this segment provides a platform for both Kajol and Aamir to show us what performance is all about. If Kajol and Shahrukh appear too comfortable together; in the Aamir/Kajol pairing, one sees a coming together of adversaries and their relationship is a literal discovery of each other. As if both had left themselves open to being proved wrong about the negative opinions they had held about each other.

This works so well that the two really seem charmed by each other and the audience by them. So far so good. One settles back in one's seat to enjoy the rest of the film. But what happens? A rogue like Aamir is suddenly revealed to be a terrorist. The hero's character has given no inkling of anything amiss except that he is a Romeo with a girl in every port. There's even an endearing scene with Lara Dutta to confirm this Romeo status. Lara Dutta, incidentally, sailed through her brief visit here so competently that she is remembered long after the film is over. This is almost a deliberate misleading of the audiences.

The director is influenced by too many successful films - the Karan Johar-like patriotic song in the beginning, the two-faceted Aamir a la Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Na Pyar Hai. Kirron Kher as the frenetic mother, who is hell bent on her daughter finding a husband [her handicap notwithstanding]. The quick twists and turns, the new Aamir who doesn't seem too comfortable playing terrorist and most decidedly uncomfortable with this new role, when he meets Kajol again; throw audiences out of gear. And the whistles that greeted Aamir's entry turn to hoots.

Every song sees people walking out and the second half is so long and repititive that everyone is seen squirming in their seats., or chatting on their cell phones. That the audiences start walking out even before the last scene has ended is the final expression of their indifference.

If one could just watch audiences reactions, they'd provide a real review of every film. The Jatin Lalit numbers don't hold you except for 'Chand sifarish' and the rain song. Aamir's character doesn't seem to be clear in its focus. He starts singing at the drop of a hat. Was the shayari-spouting tourist guide a disguise or is the terrorist a disguise?

Of the cast, Rishi Kapoor is competent as always, Kajol proves again that she's an actress first. Here her blind girl role is a subtly delineated one. She has this way of staring just a fraction too long [than normal] at one spot and that's when you realise she can't see. Here again, her introductory scene with Aamir, where he tells her ''aandhi ho kya'', is too crude for comfort. The director lapses to repelling crassness at such times.

The film, unfortunately, has not been thought out fully. So many diverse strands come together, making Aamir's character look confused.

One ends up wondering what happened to the Kunal Kohli of Hum Tum? There is a loud self-congratulatory posture that Kunal Kohli takes right from the start. Perhaps this happened when he accomplished what others had failed to do - casting the 'difficult' Kajol and the 'fussy' Aamir together and that too in a Yash Chopra production. Unfortunately, the casting coup proved too much for him to manage. It cost him the credibility of his film despite the incredible cast. Upside - Aamir and Kajol's performance. My personal view of Aamir has been that he has a limited set of expressions but Fanaa shows he's added a few more expressions to his repertoire. This maturity is more than welcome. Kajol is exceptional.

Their scenes together are delightful. Downside - the film is too long, too clich?d and lapses into repetitive dullness - which is unforgivable.

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