Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Soha Ali Khan
Direction: Kunal Deshmukh
His look takes us back to our species’ ancestors rather than the metrosexual man. Yet, there is a certain coolness about this customer’s calm and confident manners, and a swagger uniquely his own, which makes it impossible to miss Emraan Hashmi’s presence on screen or his connect with the audiences. He plays a struggling artist, who prefers art for the masses than the pseudo cognoscenti. His attitude is a problem for his buyers, of course.
He falls for a sort of girl (Soha Ali Khan) you’re more likely to bump into when in college and hit it off over a series of dates (not, say, Katrina Kaif, who you’ll only imagine in fantasies). The promise this country doesn’t offer its citizens, its films do: wider roads, cleaner air, larger homes… The leading couple lives in Cape Town.
The film pretty much pans out as a romantic drama about the known pressures and problems of being in a live-in relationship. He wants to move out. She wants marriage. Both, as you can tell, will eventually move on. The audience is always two steps ahead of the film (at least the gents behind my seat were). The narrative is simple, even mildly real. You can immediately tell this is a supremely well-directed film, despite continuity errors. Given that the material is neither very strong nor thoroughly new, the filmmaker manages to draw out extremely effective moments, with the Bhatts’ patented Pakistani-fusion for a background score.
At some point, only mid-way through the movie, the story exhausts itself. The couple finally meets again at Mumbai airport. This is the day of the deluge that enveloped the city’s suburbs in 2005. The transition from romance to a calamity becomes abrupt to the point of being two completely separate films.
The heroine sits in a car where water seeps in from the floor. The hero walks around Mumbai’s streets with just a premonition in his mind. Together, they fight water over a few minutes. Alongside posters and promos of 2012, this reel or two was meant to be cinema about a shaking catastrophe. You realise, while the romance and its conflicts are short-lived, this is not a disaster film at all. I mean this as much for its genre as hopefully its fate among the public.