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Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

Review: Bachna Ae Haseeno

Welcome to Chopra Colony. The overseas locations are the chief attractions. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is comme ci comme ca. The dialogue is forgettable, writes Khalid Mohamed.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2008 20:33 IST
Khalid Mohamed
Khalid Mohamed
Hindustan Times

Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Foreign Locations
Direction: Siddharth Anand
Rating: **1/2

Some things never change. If there’s a brick courtyard, hundred bhangra artistes must break into those balle balle back-bends. And if romance has to bloom, hold on to your scalps, just zoom to the Swiss Alps.

Welcome to Chopra Colony. Or Bachna Ae Haseeno, directed by Siddharth Anand, with a story by Uday Chopra who has evidently DVD-watched Broken Flowers and High Fidelity. It’s glossy-‘n’-flossy alright but what’s it saying? Except for love means having to say you’re sorry. Eric Segal wouldn’t like that. As it happens, neither do the two women who are the objects of our Casanova’s apologies. When the lad repents for being a cad, they look at him as if he were screw-loose mad. Sad.

Improbable as they come, this Romecom wings around Italy, Australia, Switzerland (please, can the amused locals stop grinning at the camera?) and Delhi highways. For starters, Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) meets Mahi (Minnisha Lamba) to do an Eurail Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge number on her. In fact, there are about a zillion references to the cult status of DDLJ. Odd that, because it’s never nice to blow one’s own trumpet. Tara rum pum pum and all that.

After a chaste kiss and a poem written on a fluffy tissue, Raj brags about Mahi as his conquest. She’s shocked the way you are at the price of multiplex popcorn. Follows a live-in relationship between our Raj and a wannabe superstar (Bipasha Basu). He ditches her, so BB sits crying with her palms being washed by the rain. How Henna, is that? Next, in Australia, he meets this taxi driver (Deepika Padukone) who also works at a store, and is studying for some mysterious degree. Raj proposes, she disposes. No thanks.

As cloudy as monsoon now, our Raj flashbacks to his kal. For some Hitchockian reason, he believes all will be well if he tracks down Mahi and BB. Easier done than said.. Both are listed on Wikipedia. Mahi’s hubby (Kunal Kapoor, looking like one of the Singh is Kinng gang) socks the tissue poetry writer on the jaw. As for Bips Basu, she subjects Raj to every kind of cruelty but liquid oxygen. Somehow in the addled script, 12 years have elapsed though every character looks decidedly younger. Only Raj wears a pair of spectacles for that mature look. Like Jeetendra would in the good old Gulzarian days.

Frankly, there isn’t enough material here to justify a 16-reeler which keeps losing pace and genres, resembling a Jab We Met-Bhatinda party occasionally and then Jism-like vibes from hottie Basu, who incidentally is terrific. She’s all steam and smoulder, even when the script is cold porridge.

Throughout, the direction lacks consistency and plausibility, and leaves questions dangling. Who, what or where is Raj’s mum you hear on a phone? How loaded is he.. because in a Delhi hotel he stays on a discount plan? And what’s with the female taxi driver’s fetish for cabs? She wants to drive them for the rest of her life, instead of becoming a wife. Weird.

As it turns out, the overseas locations are the chief attractions. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is comme ci comme ca. The dialogue is forgettable.

Of the cast, Deepika Padukone is a sight for sore eyes. She’s eminently camera friendly. Ranbir Kapoor has to carry the weight of the project on his shoulders which he does gamely.

He has a marvellous screen presence and performs every scene with that difficult combination of spontaneity and intelligence.

Otherwise, all you could have said of this Choprathon, is please..Bachna..