Film:Hum, Tum Aur Ghost
Director: Kabeer Sharma
Actors: Arshad Warsi, Dia Mirza, Sandhya Mridul
In an early draft of Raju Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai -- that made the hero of this film (Arshad Warsi as Circuit) a national icon – Munnabhai walks into an old-age home, thanks to his love-interest (Vidya Balan). One by one thereafter, Munnabhai makes each old inmate’s final dream come true. Such a film would’ve been infinitely more monotonous than the one we saw, and loved. We’re glad Hirani and his team came up instead with ‘get well soon’ cards and Gandhigiri instead.
In a similar vein the lead character here sees dead people. Each one approaches him with problems he could help solve. Thankfully, he doesn’t take every request, carefully chooses two lame ones instead. Quite conveniently, he robs a bank for one (Boman Irani), and searches across Goa for a lost son, for the other. What he (or the film) does otherwise, unfortunately, isn’t the masterstroke Munnabhai II was. It’s an uncomfortably crafted, unfunny romcom, unrelated to the rest of the script.
Drinking isn’t Warsi’s character Armaan’s problem. It is, he says, the solution. This is what any perpetual drunk will tell you. Self-denial is the starting point to alcoholism.
This tongue-tied friendless gent, a fashion photographer, on breath freshener – unwashed, unshaven – sleeps on benches of train stations. His rather uncaring girlfriend (Mirza) mistakes him to be sleeping around with his best friend (Mridul), who is but lesbian in her sexual orientation. He is but a suspected schizophrenic: something his girl, a top-shot Cosmopolitan mag editor, also must get used to. The setting is the ever abused, phony, white Europe. Somehow the conflicts within this fake coolness come across as neither firm nor funny. At best you sense a Shah Rukh Khan hangover in Warsi’s look and general presence.
Body dies, soul remains, and we all seek ‘mukti’ (salvation), is a very Hindu belief. It appears a natural subject for a Hindi film. The lead actor, also the producer, credits himself for the film’s story. He could’ve acknowledged the little help from David Koepp and the makers of Ghost Town (2008). The protagonist there has his dead buddy, a ghost, follow him around for a purpose. Here he makes contact with an entire town full of ghosts.
The film reverses the premise of the incredible M Night Shyamalan’s Sixth Sense (1999). We already know, and not learn at the end, that the leading man can see dead people. The object isn’t suspense (Sixth Sense), or romance (Ghost, 1990); it’s comedy.
This is a genre Warsi’s delighted us with in the past, more as a bridesmaid (mouthwash: Circuit), than the bride (toothpaste: Munnabhai). It’s been a happy place for him to be in: Ishqiya (with Naseer), Salaam Namaste (with Saif Ali Khan), Kabul Express (with John Abraham), right from his super-sweet debut Tere Mere Sapne (with Chandrachur Singh).
Playing a girl-magnet, designer-wear, slick hair NRI hero in an artificial, romantic setup, just pales his coolness no end. But then again, ambition is such a bitch.