Cast: Imran Khan, Sonam Kapoor, Sameer Dattani, Sameer Soni
Direction: Punit Malhotra
Okay, there’s Simran… And there’s Raj. But you know right away that this dilwala is not going to get his dulhania. Blame it on his ‘fugly’ colour coordinated button-downs, his gifts of pristine white flowers when she loves red roses and his we-don’t-drink-on-weekdays mantra.
Then there’s Jay who is uber cool in his ‘Bollywood sucks’ Tees, who pushes his one-night-stands out of the door the morning after and hates ‘luv storys’ (that’s SMS spelling for you) even though he is a part of director Veer’s unit that is in the process of crafting another candyfloss Bollywood blockbuster. And you know right away that our lil’ Ms Not-So-Perfect is going to fall for this Mr Wrong. Elementary, my dear Watson!
And so we are halfway through the film and you won’t need rocket science to figure out the other half. There are too many signposts along the way for you to get lost. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Kushi Kabhie Gham, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas, Dil Chahta Hai, Jab We Met, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and of course, the evergreen Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge.
There can be no mistaking debutant director Punit Malhotra’s muses. What makes him different is that he lovingly picks up all those clichés that are littered through our reel love stories — girl-meets-boy-and-it’s-hate-at-first-sight-but-love-after-the-inevitable-fights, a dream sequence in the Alps, long-drawn-out Devdas melodramas, epiphany in the airport etc — and gifts them to his Cupid to play around with.
It’s an interesting idea and to begin with, innovatively executed in a film-within-a-film set-up, featuring a daisy-fresh lead pair with lively chemistry and Vishal-Shekhar’s peppy music score. But the novelty soon wears off and the wafer thin, ploddingly predictable plot fails to sustain. Post interval, not even the picture postcard prettiness of New Zealand’s virgin locales nor the undoubted earnestness of the young actors can curb your growing restlessness.
Sonam Kapoor is lovely but doesn’t have the dimpled playfulness of a Preity Zinta or the effortless sensuality of Kajol. So a Suraj hua madham.. sequence here leaves you kind of cold. There is plenty of promise though and the hope for a much-improved tomorrow.
Ditto Imran Khan whose resemblance to mamu Aamir Khan is too obvious to be ignored. You see the boy-next-door likeability, the many rehearsals towards careless perfection and the determination to veer away from the conventional. He just needs a tighter script to get it right.
Script. Isn’t that the problem every time? A little more work on it would have elevated Punit Malhotra’s love story.
Still you can smile… At Sameer Soni’s cheeky impersonations of Karan Johar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali…Aamir Ali’s tongue-in-cheek take-off on Salman Khan’s tight, denim-sheathed buns… Bud Spencer lookalike’s (Kavin Dave’s) droll rejoinders in the face of his buddy’s down-in-the-dumps slide…Anju Mahendru’s “You’re in love, it’s a girl no?” and “I asked God for a beta but got a beti who cries at the airport” on the phone jibes…Imran getting drenched in the artificial rain as he holds an umbrella over his heroine’s head and painstakingly squeezes four perfect droplets down her face…
That’s mush and popcorn for you in a hey-this-is-a-different package. It’s not a saga but it’s not blah either!