Hamari Adhuri Kahani

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Hamari Adhuri Kahani

Hindi Script: हमारी अधूरी कहानी
AKA (In English): Our Incomplete Story
Starring
: Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan
Directed by: Mohit Suri

Consensus: 1 Star
But Why?

Hamari Adhuri Kahani

Hindi Script: हमारी अधूरी कहानी
AKA (In English): Our Incomplete Story
Starring
: Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan
Directed by: Mohit Suri

Consensus: 1 Star
But Why?


Hindi Script

हमारी अधूरी कहानी

AKA (In English)

Our Incomplete Story

Starring

Emraan Hashmi
Vidya Balan
Rajkummar Rao
Amala Akkineni
Prabal Panjabi

Written by

Mahesh Bhatt

Directed by

Mohit Suri


coming up

What to Expect

Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan, uncannily – in my personal opinion – are the most well-matched performative collaborators the industry can offer.

Right from their fiery camaraderie in Indian Hindi-language film The Dirty Picture to their follow-up with the zany, highly underrated Ghanchakkar, one can definitely see how comfortable they are playing off each others’ strengths. I guess this is probably a reason why I was really looking forward to Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the latest in a line of major Mahesh Bhatt presented movies. But that wasn’t the only reason why I was looking forward to this one.

The other reason that piqued my interest highly on this one is Mohit Suri. Known for his viscerally dramatic direction of raw human emotion in his movies, the very unfortunate flip-side of his films have been over-stretched, weak storylines that are – in part or in whole – unofficial remakes of underrated classics that inadvertently have deserved more of the views its evident remakes have gotten. Despite it all, however, I’ve always thought of Suri as an otherwise competent director who understands deep dark emotion like no other.

What’s more; this film actually looks like its based on an original screenplay (yes, it’s adapted from Bhatt’s true-to-life witnessing of a relationship, but let’s keep semantics to the side now, shall we?). That, in itself, makes me want to watch it, primarily because this could possibly be Suri’s singular chance at redemption creatively and ethically among others.

What’s it About?

Successful hotelier and “eligible bachelor” Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi; Shanghai) falls in love with a headstrong Vasudha (Vidya Balan; Parineeta), knowing fully well that her past has the potential to destroy their relationship.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

In the film’s penultimate moments we’re treated to an exceptionally powerful – albeit overdramatized and checklist-friendly – scene, where Balan physically and metaphorically faces her demons by facing off against an agitated Rao. The symbolism-heavy scene, despite its major flaws of spoon-feeding and milking of emotion, rings heavy in the hearts and minds of the viewer. The performative superlativeness of the featured actors in the very scene shows. While Balan’s determination sprouts from hopelessness, Rao’s obsession sprouts from his misogynistic ideals of society and marriage. Symbolic – albeit deliberate and overdone – in its visual structure, despite the accidental references to Balan’s own Kahaani (lit.: Story), the message of the movie rings true within those five-odd minutes.

It is but unfortunate that the rest of the film is never able to bring any emotive genuinely to screen. Within moments of forced sorrow the audience finds nothing but accidental humor. And then there’s that little bit of sexism throughout the film, even within surroundings you’d probably expect to be slightly more progressive in nature. Let’s, for a very important example, take one of the scenes in the former half of the film, wherein there’s an apparent breakout of fire in the luxury hotel Balan’s Vasudha works in. Vasudha ends up rushing to alert the one most important guest in the hotel: Hashmi’s Aarav. It’s later revealed, in the most dramatized fashion possible, that the breakout was staged, and that he was testing the core team’s responsiveness. But what ruins it more than the unnecessary milking is that he chides the head of security, and his telling off ends somewhat like this:

A woman has had to come save me.”

Really? You’re now subtly letting the audience know that women are ordinarily too weak for these things? Anything (ranging from “a member of the staff has had to come save me, opposed to the head of security”, to “this is the job of the head of security”) could have been used to appropriate the requisite message, but alas! For a film that seeks to give women empowerment (and I’m laughing hard here), this was the last place to go. Especially when the dialogue is given to a protagonist that “looks” like he’s been a part of more liberal ideologies – at least in the first half.

I'm trying to read your brain. I predict you're going to weep through the whole movie.

I’m trying to read your brain. I predict you’re going to weep through the whole movie.

Suri’s managed to direct some of the most powerful films Hindi cinema’s had to offer. It’s too bad, however, that almost all of his films have ripped off either the Hollywood pop-culture blockbuster range or the South-Korean thriller scene. Barring a possible Crook and – to an extent – Aashiqui 2 (which also inadvertently bore more than occasional similarities to A Star is Born), none of his films have been wholly original.

Which is possibly why I was quite looking forward to this film, simply because this is based on a story written by Mahesh Bhatt. Bhatt, himself being a helmer of powerful films of the likes of Saaransh, Kaash and Zakhm among others, may definitely have wanted desperately for this film to hark back to the heydays of his signature sharp tonality, where the issues he covered were unafraid, vocal and relevant. And as a discerning viewer, one’s definitely able to identify that the overdramatized core characters still have sub-identities within their psyche that one can relate to, should attention be paid to them through the film. The problem is that halfway through it, the viewer is most probably done caring about everything it has to offer; this, despite the extremely noble intentions of it – and I’m not even kidding. The movie raises a lot of important questions on love, marriage and the hypocritical societal expectations the people rest upon the shoulders of a woman. It, however, goes for it in the most deja vu way possible to humankind – flashbacks, convenient plot twists, escapist “poetic” conclusiveness et al.

Regressive in its screenwriting, and stereotypically melodramatic in the way it goes about its characters and narrative twists and turns, the movie but ruins in its execution a story with surprising potential. There was enough within Mahesh Bhatt’s (probable) initial draft of the drama that could have translated well into something that had the power to emotionally rip its audience to shreds. Suri, however, goes about it in a rather mass-driven manner, stripping the film off any subtlety, replacing it instead with loud, expository dialogue that aims but to spoon-feed and cater to a regressive section of the audience.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

The biggest credit that needs to be given here is to the cinematographer Vishnu Rao (Aashiqui 2) for creating pitch-perfect framing and lighting, bathing every frame in its honey-dipped goodness. And while the background score in its own individual nature is beautiful, its evident non-quietness doesn’t oftentimes translate well to screen. The original music sounds fantastic , with the brilliant mixing and arranging hitting all the emotionally right notes in the minds and hearts of the viewers within the acoustics of the cinemas. Camerawork is very strongly steady, save for the usage of extremely poor quasi-stock footage in resolution while establishing location (which in itself is an extremely tiring trope around the world now). The edit decisions made are classic, but that’s basically about it. Most of the usage of the better shots call for an extreme milking of a particular emotion, which doesn’t bode well with the film at all. The overall production design of the film is classy and – to a certain level – ambitious. That, however, doesn’t add up to the story at all. Most of how the film’s mounted is made simply to make the film pretty in all of its “poetic” visual reference (notice the sarcasm there?). But none of these technical credits form for a good argument for the film anyway.

To Perform or Not to Perform

It’s quite sad to see that Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi have decisively shouldered an extremely tired screenplay over their shoulders, because their performances (at least to this writer) actually made a lot of sense. While Vidya seems to be a natural in more than some places, it’s Emraan Hashmi who delivers a knockout performance as an extremely subdued individual, what with his restrained emotive performance surprising at every move. Rajkummar Rao is quite commendable. It is, however, his choice of quasi-antagonistic roles that doesn’t translate to anything unprecedented to be watched on screen. Namit Das is strangely present simply to cry by the end of the film. He’s a forced plot device here, which wastes what talent he could give to the film completely. Ditto for Madhurima Tuli (Baby), who – and it’s hight time now – deserves more than just the five-minutes-of-screen-time she’s been getting consistently in all the movies she’s been a part of this year. Amala Akkineni is good. But, like all the other supporting cast, she’s extremely under- (or mis-?) utilized. Prabal Panjabi exists in the film only to chide Hashmi’s character on consistently running late to the airport. Which gets unintentionally hilarious after a while. Oh, and there’s a usual, “I can’t understand you”, and “have you gone mad?” that are thrown in by the poor guy. He’s a great talent, I tell you. Not just in this film, really. Pushtiie Shakti has one scene, being “that plot device” nobody cares about later really. Which is really sad, because underrated talents like herself (and she’s such a ray of sunshine in the movie) and Panjabi are shamefully wasted in a film that’s in itself given nothing but a downer to every almost every human being a part of it.

Worth it?

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

The point here isn’t that it’s meant for a “certain kind of audience where things like these actually happen.” The point is that there could have been a minimum of five other ways this storyline could have been adapted to screenplay for eventual execution. The point here isn’t that Vidya Balan’s character is made to cry consistently through a hundred-and-forty minutes of the film’s runtime (which she does, and with élan!). The point is that all of that sorrow needed a serious heft that could just as effortlessly have transported the viewers to the inevitable sadness of it all. The point – hilariously at that here – isn’t that should Paulo Coelho be aware and have the want to sue this film and Om Shanti Om for the illegitimate use of intellectual property, he’d be able to earn a lot of money (the whole universe-want-love-conspiration line from Coelho’s own The Alchemist is way too over-quoted and manipulatively misinterpreted in Hindi cinema these days). The point is that the dialogues are way too cheesy and archaic, much less those than the eventual adaptation of its story to the most exposition-heavy screenplay possible.

Which is sad. Really. Because what this film could have been is so much more. All Hamari Adhuri Kahani ends up being, however, is a well-shot, well-acted mess with strong original music that is unfortunately extremely regressive, expository, manipulative and more desperate in its nature of begging its audience to be sad with it than anything else. Not that people won’t like the movie; I can definitely see a whole lot of them defending it. Doesn’t defy the fact of it being a shamefully terrible adaptation of a story though.

In the end, I really wanted to like this film but no. just no.

Consensus: 1 Star
But Why?
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!


Hindi Script

हमारी अधूरी कहानी

AKA (In English)

Our Incomplete Story

Starring

Emraan Hashmi
Vidya Balan
Rajkummar Rao
Amala Akkineni
Prabal Panjabi

Written by

Mahesh Bhatt

Directed by

Mohit Suri


What to Expect

Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan, uncannily – in my personal opinion – are the most well-matched performative collaborators the industry can offer.

Right from their fiery camaraderie in Indian Hindi-language film The Dirty Picture to their follow-up with the zany, highly underrated Ghanchakkar, one can definitely see how comfortable they are playing off each others’ strengths. I guess this is probably a reason why I was really looking forward to Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the latest in a line of major Mahesh Bhatt presented movies. But that wasn’t the only reason why I was looking forward to this one.

The other reason that piqued my interest highly on this one is Mohit Suri. Known for his viscerally dramatic direction of raw human emotion in his movies, the very unfortunate flip-side of his films have been over-stretched, weak storylines that are – in part or in whole – unofficial remakes of underrated classics that inadvertently have deserved more of the views its evident remakes have gotten. Despite it all, however, I’ve always thought of Suri as an otherwise competent director who understands deep dark emotion like no other.

What’s more; this film actually looks like its based on an original screenplay (yes, it’s adapted from Bhatt’s true-to-life witnessing of a relationship, but let’s keep semantics to the side now, shall we?). That, in itself, makes me want to watch it, primarily because this could possibly be Suri’s singular chance at redemption creatively and ethically among others.

What’s it About?

Successful hotelier and “eligible bachelor” Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi; Shanghai) falls in love with a headstrong Vasudha (Vidya Balan; Parineeta), knowing fully well that her past has the potential to destroy their relationship.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

In the film’s penultimate moments we’re treated to an exceptionally powerful – albeit overdramatized and checklist-friendly – scene, where Balan physically and metaphorically faces her demons by facing off against an agitated Rao. The symbolism-heavy scene, despite its major flaws of spoon-feeding and milking of emotion, rings heavy in the hearts and minds of the viewer. The performative superlativeness of the featured actors in the very scene shows. While Balan’s determination sprouts from hopelessness, Rao’s obsession sprouts from his misogynistic ideals of society and marriage. Symbolic – albeit deliberate and overdone – in its visual structure, despite the accidental references to Balan’s own Kahaani (lit.: Story), the message of the movie rings true within those five-odd minutes.

It is but unfortunate that the rest of the film is never able to bring any emotive genuinely to screen. Within moments of forced sorrow the audience finds nothing but accidental humor. And then there’s that little bit of sexism throughout the film, even within surroundings you’d probably expect to be slightly more progressive in nature. Let’s, for a very important example, take one of the scenes in the former half of the film, wherein there’s an apparent breakout of fire in the luxury hotel Balan’s Vasudha works in. Vasudha ends up rushing to alert the one most important guest in the hotel: Hashmi’s Aarav. It’s later revealed, in the most dramatized fashion possible, that the breakout was staged, and that he was testing the core team’s responsiveness. But what ruins it more than the unnecessary milking is that he chides the head of security, and his telling off ends somewhat like this:

A woman has had to come save me.”

Really? You’re now subtly letting the audience know that women are ordinarily too weak for these things? Anything (ranging from “a member of the staff has had to come save me, opposed to the head of security”, to “this is the job of the head of security”) could have been used to appropriate the requisite message, but alas! For a film that seeks to give women empowerment (and I’m laughing hard here), this was the last place to go. Especially when the dialogue is given to a protagonist that “looks” like he’s been a part of more liberal ideologies – at least in the first half.

I'm trying to read your brain. I predict you're going to weep through the whole movie.

I’m trying to read your brain. I predict you’re going to weep through the whole movie.

Suri’s managed to direct some of the most powerful films Hindi cinema’s had to offer. It’s too bad, however, that almost all of his films have ripped off either the Hollywood pop-culture blockbuster range or the South-Korean thriller scene. Barring a possible Crook and – to an extent – Aashiqui 2 (which also inadvertently bore more than occasional similarities to A Star is Born), none of his films have been wholly original.

Which is possibly why I was quite looking forward to this film, simply because this is based on a story written by Mahesh Bhatt. Bhatt, himself being a helmer of powerful films of the likes of Saaransh, Kaash and Zakhm among others, may definitely have wanted desperately for this film to hark back to the heydays of his signature sharp tonality, where the issues he covered were unafraid, vocal and relevant. And as a discerning viewer, one’s definitely able to identify that the overdramatized core characters still have sub-identities within their psyche that one can relate to, should attention be paid to them through the film. The problem is that halfway through it, the viewer is most probably done caring about everything it has to offer; this, despite the extremely noble intentions of it – and I’m not even kidding. The movie raises a lot of important questions on love, marriage and the hypocritical societal expectations the people rest upon the shoulders of a woman. It, however, goes for it in the most deja vu way possible to humankind – flashbacks, convenient plot twists, escapist “poetic” conclusiveness et al.

Regressive in its screenwriting, and stereotypically melodramatic in the way it goes about its characters and narrative twists and turns, the movie but ruins in its execution a story with surprising potential. There was enough within Mahesh Bhatt’s (probable) initial draft of the drama that could have translated well into something that had the power to emotionally rip its audience to shreds. Suri, however, goes about it in a rather mass-driven manner, stripping the film off any subtlety, replacing it instead with loud, expository dialogue that aims but to spoon-feed and cater to a regressive section of the audience.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

The biggest credit that needs to be given here is to the cinematographer Vishnu Rao (Aashiqui 2) for creating pitch-perfect framing and lighting, bathing every frame in its honey-dipped goodness. And while the background score in its own individual nature is beautiful, its evident non-quietness doesn’t oftentimes translate well to screen. The original music sounds fantastic , with the brilliant mixing and arranging hitting all the emotionally right notes in the minds and hearts of the viewers within the acoustics of the cinemas. Camerawork is very strongly steady, save for the usage of extremely poor quasi-stock footage in resolution while establishing location (which in itself is an extremely tiring trope around the world now). The edit decisions made are classic, but that’s basically about it. Most of the usage of the better shots call for an extreme milking of a particular emotion, which doesn’t bode well with the film at all. The overall production design of the film is classy and – to a certain level – ambitious. That, however, doesn’t add up to the story at all. Most of how the film’s mounted is made simply to make the film pretty in all of its “poetic” visual reference (notice the sarcasm there?). But none of these technical credits form for a good argument for the film anyway.

To Perform or Not to Perform

It’s quite sad to see that Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi have decisively shouldered an extremely tired screenplay over their shoulders, because their performances (at least to this writer) actually made a lot of sense. While Vidya seems to be a natural in more than some places, it’s Emraan Hashmi who delivers a knockout performance as an extremely subdued individual, what with his restrained emotive performance surprising at every move. Rajkummar Rao is quite commendable. It is, however, his choice of quasi-antagonistic roles that doesn’t translate to anything unprecedented to be watched on screen. Namit Das is strangely present simply to cry by the end of the film. He’s a forced plot device here, which wastes what talent he could give to the film completely. Ditto for Madhurima Tuli (Baby), who – and it’s hight time now – deserves more than just the five-minutes-of-screen-time she’s been getting consistently in all the movies she’s been a part of this year. Amala Akkineni is good. But, like all the other supporting cast, she’s extremely under- (or mis-?) utilized. Prabal Panjabi exists in the film only to chide Hashmi’s character on consistently running late to the airport. Which gets unintentionally hilarious after a while. Oh, and there’s a usual, “I can’t understand you”, and “have you gone mad?” that are thrown in by the poor guy. He’s a great talent, I tell you. Not just in this film, really. Pushtiie Shakti has one scene, being “that plot device” nobody cares about later really. Which is really sad, because underrated talents like herself (and she’s such a ray of sunshine in the movie) and Panjabi are shamefully wasted in a film that’s in itself given nothing but a downer to every almost every human being a part of it.

Worth it?

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

The point here isn’t that it’s meant for a “certain kind of audience where things like these actually happen.” The point is that there could have been a minimum of five other ways this storyline could have been adapted to screenplay for eventual execution. The point here isn’t that Vidya Balan’s character is made to cry consistently through a hundred-and-forty minutes of the film’s runtime (which she does, and with élan!). The point is that all of that sorrow needed a serious heft that could just as effortlessly have transported the viewers to the inevitable sadness of it all. The point – hilariously at that here – isn’t that should Paulo Coelho be aware and have the want to sue this film and Om Shanti Om for the illegitimate use of intellectual property, he’d be able to earn a lot of money (the whole universe-want-love-conspiration line from Coelho’s own The Alchemist is way too over-quoted and manipulatively misinterpreted in Hindi cinema these days). The point is that the dialogues are way too cheesy and archaic, much less those than the eventual adaptation of its story to the most exposition-heavy screenplay possible.

Which is sad. Really. Because what this film could have been is so much more. All Hamari Adhuri Kahani ends up being, however, is a well-shot, well-acted mess with strong original music that is unfortunately extremely regressive, expository, manipulative and more desperate in its nature of begging its audience to be sad with it than anything else. Not that people won’t like the movie; I can definitely see a whole lot of them defending it. Doesn’t defy the fact of it being a shamefully terrible adaptation of a story though.

In the end, I really wanted to like this film but no. just no.

Consensus: 1 Star
But Why?
About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Watch the trailer

We’re viral

Like Us on Facebookand Twitter!

What to Expect

Tears, Tears Everywhere...

Tears, Tears Everywhere…

Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan, uncannily – in my personal opinion – are the most well-matched performative collaborators the industry can offer.

Right from their fiery camaraderie in Indian Hindi-language film The Dirty Picture to their follow-up with the zany, highly underrated Ghanchakkar, one can definitely see how comfortable they are playing off each others’ strengths. I guess this is probably a reason why I was really looking forward to Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the latest in a line of major Mahesh Bhatt presented movies. But that wasn’t the only reason why I was looking forward to this one.

The other reason that piqued my interest highly on this one is Mohit Suri. Known for his viscerally dramatic direction of raw human emotion in his movies, the very unfortunate flip-side of his films have been over-stretched, weak storylines that are – in part or in whole – unofficial remakes of underrated classics that inadvertently have deserved more of the views its evident remakes have gotten. Despite it all, however, I’ve always thought of Suri as an otherwise competent director who understands deep dark emotion like no other.

What’s more; this film actually looks like its based on an original screenplay (yes, it’s adapted from Bhatt’s true-to-life witnessing of a relationship, but let’s keep semantics to the side now, shall we?). That, in itself, makes me want to watch it, primarily because this could possibly be Suri’s singular chance at redemption creatively and ethically among others.

What’s it About?

Successful hotelier and “eligible bachelor” Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi; Shanghai) falls in love with a headstrong Vasudha (Vidya Balan; Parineeta), knowing fully well that her past has the potential to destroy their relationship.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

In the film’s penultimate moments we’re treated to an exceptionally powerful – albeit overdramatized and checklist-friendly – scene, where Balan physically and metaphorically faces her demons by facing off against an agitated Rao. The symbolism-heavy scene, despite its major flaws of spoon-feeding and milking of emotion, rings heavy in the hearts and minds of the viewer. The performative superlativeness of the featured actors in the very scene shows. While Balan’s determination sprouts from hopelessness, Rao’s obsession sprouts from his misogynistic ideals of society and marriage. Symbolic – albeit deliberate and overdone – in its visual structure, despite the accidental references to Balan’s own Kahaani (lit.: Story), the message of the movie rings true within those five-odd minutes.

It is but unfortunate that the rest of the film is never able to bring any emotive genuinely to screen. Within moments of forced sorrow the audience finds nothing but accidental humor. And then there’s that little bit of sexism throughout the film, even within surroundings you’d probably expect to be slightly more progressive in nature. Let’s, for a very important example, take one of the scenes in the former half of the film, wherein there’s an apparent breakout of fire in the luxury hotel Balan’s Vasudha works in. Vasudha ends up rushing to alert the one most important guest in the hotel: Hashmi’s Aarav. It’s later revealed, in the most dramatized fashion possible, that the breakout was staged, and that he was testing the core team’s responsiveness. But what ruins it more than the unnecessary milking is that he chides the head of security, and his telling off ends somewhat like this:

A woman has had to come save me.”

Really? You’re now subtly letting the audience know that women are ordinarily too weak for these things? Anything (ranging from “a member of the staff has had to come save me, opposed to the head of security”, to “this is the job of the head of security”) could have been used to appropriate the requisite message, but alas! For a film that seeks to give women empowerment (and I’m laughing hard here), this was the last place to go. Especially when the dialogue is given to a protagonist that “looks” like he’s been a part of more liberal ideologies – at least in the first half.

I'm trying to read your brain. I predict you're going to weep through the whole movie.

I’m trying to read your brain. I predict you’re going to weep through the whole movie.

Suri’s managed to direct some of the most powerful films Hindi cinema’s had to offer. It’s too bad, however, that almost all of his films have ripped off either the Hollywood pop-culture blockbuster range or the South-Korean thriller scene. Barring a possible Crook and – to an extent – Aashiqui 2 (which also inadvertently bore more than occasional similarities to A Star is Born), none of his films have been wholly original.

Which is possibly why I was quite looking forward to this film, simply because this is based on a story written by Mahesh Bhatt. Bhatt, himself being a helmer of powerful films of the likes of Saaransh, Kaash and Zakhm among others, may definitely have wanted desperately for this film to hark back to the heydays of his signature sharp tonality, where the issues he covered were unafraid, vocal and relevant. And as a discerning viewer, one’s definitely able to identify that the overdramatized core characters still have sub-identities within their psyche that one can relate to, should attention be paid to them through the film. The problem is that halfway through it, the viewer is most probably done caring about everything it has to offer; this, despite the extremely noble intentions of it – and I’m not even kidding. The movie raises a lot of important questions on love, marriage and the hypocritical societal expectations the people rest upon the shoulders of a woman. It, however, goes for it in the most deja vu way possible to humankind – flashbacks, convenient plot twists, escapist “poetic” conclusiveness et al.

Regressive in its screenwriting, and stereotypically melodramatic in the way it goes about its characters and narrative twists and turns, the movie but ruins in its execution a story with surprising potential. There was enough within Mahesh Bhatt’s (probable) initial draft of the drama that could have translated well into something that had the power to emotionally rip its audience to shreds. Suri, however, goes about it in a rather mass-driven manner, stripping the film off any subtlety, replacing it instead with loud, expository dialogue that aims but to spoon-feed and cater to a regressive section of the audience.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

The biggest credit that needs to be given here is to the cinematographer Vishnu Rao (Aashiqui 2) for creating pitch-perfect framing and lighting, bathing every frame in its honey-dipped goodness. And while the background score in its own individual nature is beautiful, its evident non-quietness doesn’t oftentimes translate well to screen. The original music sounds fantastic , with the brilliant mixing and arranging hitting all the emotionally right notes in the minds and hearts of the viewers within the acoustics of the cinemas. Camerawork is very strongly steady, save for the usage of extremely poor quasi-stock footage in resolution while establishing location (which in itself is an extremely tiring trope around the world now). The edit decisions made are classic, but that’s basically about it. Most of the usage of the better shots call for an extreme milking of a particular emotion, which doesn’t bode well with the film at all. The overall production design of the film is classy and – to a certain level – ambitious. That, however, doesn’t add up to the story at all. Most of how the film’s mounted is made simply to make the film pretty in all of its “poetic” visual reference (notice the sarcasm there?). But none of these technical credits form for a good argument for the film anyway.

To Perform or Not to Perform

It’s quite sad to see that Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi have decisively shouldered an extremely tired screenplay over their shoulders, because their performances (at least to this writer) actually made a lot of sense. While Vidya seems to be a natural in more than some places, it’s Emraan Hashmi who delivers a knockout performance as an extremely subdued individual, what with his restrained emotive performance surprising at every move. Rajkummar Rao is quite commendable. It is, however, his choice of quasi-antagonistic roles that doesn’t translate to anything unprecedented to be watched on screen. Namit Das is strangely present simply to cry by the end of the film. He’s a forced plot device here, which wastes what talent he could give to the film completely. Ditto for Madhurima Tuli (Baby), who – and it’s hight time now – deserves more than just the five-minutes-of-screen-time she’s been getting consistently in all the movies she’s been a part of this year. Amala Akkineni is good. But, like all the other supporting cast, she’s extremely under- (or mis-?) utilized. Prabal Panjabi exists in the film only to chide Hashmi’s character on consistently running late to the airport. Which gets unintentionally hilarious after a while. Oh, and there’s a usual, “I can’t understand you”, and “have you gone mad?” that are thrown in by the poor guy. He’s a great talent, I tell you. Not just in this film, really. Pushtiie Shakti has one scene, being “that plot device” nobody cares about later really. Which is really sad, because underrated talents like herself (and she’s such a ray of sunshine in the movie) and Panjabi are shamefully wasted in a film that’s in itself given nothing but a downer to every almost every human being a part of it.

Worth it?

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

The point here isn’t that it’s meant for a “certain kind of audience where things like these actually happen.” The point is that there could have been a minimum of five other ways this storyline could have been adapted to screenplay for eventual execution. The point here isn’t that Vidya Balan’s character is made to cry consistently through a hundred-and-forty minutes of the film’s runtime (which she does, and with élan!). The point is that all of that sorrow needed a serious heft that could just as effortlessly have transported the viewers to the inevitable sadness of it all. The point – hilariously at that here – isn’t that should Paulo Coelho be aware and have the want to sue this film and Om Shanti Om for the illegitimate use of intellectual property, he’d be able to earn a lot of money (the whole universe-want-love-conspiration line from Coelho’s own The Alchemist is way too over-quoted and manipulatively misinterpreted in Hindi cinema these days). The point is that the dialogues are way too cheesy and archaic, much less those than the eventual adaptation of its story to the most exposition-heavy screenplay possible.

Which is sad. Really. Because what this film could have been is so much more. All Hamari Adhuri Kahani ends up being, however, is a well-shot, well-acted mess with strong original music that is unfortunately extremely regressive, expository, manipulative and more desperate in its nature of begging its audience to be sad with it than anything else. Not that people won’t like the movie; I can definitely see a whole lot of them defending it. Doesn’t defy the fact of it being a shamefully terrible adaptation of a story though.

In the end, I really wanted to like this film but no. just no.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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What to Expect

Tears, Tears Everywhere...

Tears, Tears Everywhere…

Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan, uncannily – in my personal opinion – are the most well-matched performative collaborators the industry can offer.

Right from their fiery camaraderie in Indian Hindi-language film The Dirty Picture to their follow-up with the zany, highly underrated Ghanchakkar, one can definitely see how comfortable they are playing off each others’ strengths. I guess this is probably a reason why I was really looking forward to Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the latest in a line of major Mahesh Bhatt presented movies. But that wasn’t the only reason why I was looking forward to this one.

The other reason that piqued my interest highly on this one is Mohit Suri. Known for his viscerally dramatic direction of raw human emotion in his movies, the very unfortunate flip-side of his films have been over-stretched, weak storylines that are – in part or in whole – unofficial remakes of underrated classics that inadvertently have deserved more of the views its evident remakes have gotten. Despite it all, however, I’ve always thought of Suri as an otherwise competent director who understands deep dark emotion like no other.

What’s more; this film actually looks like its based on an original screenplay (yes, it’s adapted from Bhatt’s true-to-life witnessing of a relationship, but let’s keep semantics to the side now, shall we?). That, in itself, makes me want to watch it, primarily because this could possibly be Suri’s singular chance at redemption creatively and ethically among others.

What’s it About?

Successful hotelier and “eligible bachelor” Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi; Shanghai) falls in love with a headstrong Vasudha (Vidya Balan; Parineeta), knowing fully well that her past has the potential to destroy their relationship.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

In the film’s penultimate moments we’re treated to an exceptionally powerful – albeit overdramatized and checklist-friendly – scene, where Balan physically and metaphorically faces her demons by facing off against an agitated Rao. The symbolism-heavy scene, despite its major flaws of spoon-feeding and milking of emotion, rings heavy in the hearts and minds of the viewer. The performative superlativeness of the featured actors in the very scene shows. While Balan’s determination sprouts from hopelessness, Rao’s obsession sprouts from his misogynistic ideals of society and marriage. Symbolic – albeit deliberate and overdone – in its visual structure, despite the accidental references to Balan’s own Kahaani (lit.: Story), the message of the movie rings true within those five-odd minutes.

It is but unfortunate that the rest of the film is never able to bring any emotive genuinely to screen. Within moments of forced sorrow the audience finds nothing but accidental humor. And then there’s that little bit of sexism throughout the film, even within surroundings you’d probably expect to be slightly more progressive in nature. Let’s, for a very important example, take one of the scenes in the former half of the film, wherein there’s an apparent breakout of fire in the luxury hotel Balan’s Vasudha works in. Vasudha ends up rushing to alert the one most important guest in the hotel: Hashmi’s Aarav. It’s later revealed, in the most dramatized fashion possible, that the breakout was staged, and that he was testing the core team’s responsiveness. But what ruins it more than the unnecessary milking is that he chides the head of security, and his telling off ends somewhat like this:

A woman has had to come save me.”

Really? You’re now subtly letting the audience know that women are ordinarily too weak for these things? Anything (ranging from “a member of the staff has had to come save me, opposed to the head of security”, to “this is the job of the head of security”) could have been used to appropriate the requisite message, but alas! For a film that seeks to give women empowerment (and I’m laughing hard here), this was the last place to go. Especially when the dialogue is given to a protagonist that “looks” like he’s been a part of more liberal ideologies – at least in the first half.

I'm trying to read your brain. I predict you're going to weep through the whole movie.

I’m trying to read your brain. I predict you’re going to weep through the whole movie.

Suri’s managed to direct some of the most powerful films Hindi cinema’s had to offer. It’s too bad, however, that almost all of his films have ripped off either the Hollywood pop-culture blockbuster range or the South-Korean thriller scene. Barring a possible Crook and – to an extent – Aashiqui 2 (which also inadvertently bore more than occasional similarities to A Star is Born), none of his films have been wholly original.

Which is possibly why I was quite looking forward to this film, simply because this is based on a story written by Mahesh Bhatt. Bhatt, himself being a helmer of powerful films of the likes of Saaransh, Kaash and Zakhm among others, may definitely have wanted desperately for this film to hark back to the heydays of his signature sharp tonality, where the issues he covered were unafraid, vocal and relevant. And as a discerning viewer, one’s definitely able to identify that the overdramatized core characters still have sub-identities within their psyche that one can relate to, should attention be paid to them through the film. The problem is that halfway through it, the viewer is most probably done caring about everything it has to offer; this, despite the extremely noble intentions of it – and I’m not even kidding. The movie raises a lot of important questions on love, marriage and the hypocritical societal expectations the people rest upon the shoulders of a woman. It, however, goes for it in the most deja vu way possible to humankind – flashbacks, convenient plot twists, escapist “poetic” conclusiveness et al.

Regressive in its screenwriting, and stereotypically melodramatic in the way it goes about its characters and narrative twists and turns, the movie but ruins in its execution a story with surprising potential. There was enough within Mahesh Bhatt’s (probable) initial draft of the drama that could have translated well into something that had the power to emotionally rip its audience to shreds. Suri, however, goes about it in a rather mass-driven manner, stripping the film off any subtlety, replacing it instead with loud, expository dialogue that aims but to spoon-feed and cater to a regressive section of the audience.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

Oh look. Snow. Good stuff.

The biggest credit that needs to be given here is to the cinematographer Vishnu Rao (Aashiqui 2) for creating pitch-perfect framing and lighting, bathing every frame in its honey-dipped goodness. And while the background score in its own individual nature is beautiful, its evident non-quietness doesn’t oftentimes translate well to screen. The original music sounds fantastic , with the brilliant mixing and arranging hitting all the emotionally right notes in the minds and hearts of the viewers within the acoustics of the cinemas. Camerawork is very strongly steady, save for the usage of extremely poor quasi-stock footage in resolution while establishing location (which in itself is an extremely tiring trope around the world now). The edit decisions made are classic, but that’s basically about it. Most of the usage of the better shots call for an extreme milking of a particular emotion, which doesn’t bode well with the film at all. The overall production design of the film is classy and – to a certain level – ambitious. That, however, doesn’t add up to the story at all. Most of how the film’s mounted is made simply to make the film pretty in all of its “poetic” visual reference (notice the sarcasm there?). But none of these technical credits form for a good argument for the film anyway.

To Perform or Not to Perform

It’s quite sad to see that Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi have decisively shouldered an extremely tired screenplay over their shoulders, because their performances (at least to this writer) actually made a lot of sense. While Vidya seems to be a natural in more than some places, it’s Emraan Hashmi who delivers a knockout performance as an extremely subdued individual, what with his restrained emotive performance surprising at every move. Rajkummar Rao is quite commendable. It is, however, his choice of quasi-antagonistic roles that doesn’t translate to anything unprecedented to be watched on screen. Namit Das is strangely present simply to cry by the end of the film. He’s a forced plot device here, which wastes what talent he could give to the film completely. Ditto for Madhurima Tuli (Baby), who – and it’s hight time now – deserves more than just the five-minutes-of-screen-time she’s been getting consistently in all the movies she’s been a part of this year. Amala Akkineni is good. But, like all the other supporting cast, she’s extremely under- (or mis-?) utilized. Prabal Panjabi exists in the film only to chide Hashmi’s character on consistently running late to the airport. Which gets unintentionally hilarious after a while. Oh, and there’s a usual, “I can’t understand you”, and “have you gone mad?” that are thrown in by the poor guy. He’s a great talent, I tell you. Not just in this film, really. Pushtiie Shakti has one scene, being “that plot device” nobody cares about later really. Which is really sad, because underrated talents like herself (and she’s such a ray of sunshine in the movie) and Panjabi are shamefully wasted in a film that’s in itself given nothing but a downer to every almost every human being a part of it.

Worth it?

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

Together at last. Like literally. We can end the movie now.

The point here isn’t that it’s meant for a “certain kind of audience where things like these actually happen.” The point is that there could have been a minimum of five other ways this storyline could have been adapted to screenplay for eventual execution. The point here isn’t that Vidya Balan’s character is made to cry consistently through a hundred-and-forty minutes of the film’s runtime (which she does, and with élan!). The point is that all of that sorrow needed a serious heft that could just as effortlessly have transported the viewers to the inevitable sadness of it all. The point – hilariously at that here – isn’t that should Paulo Coelho be aware and have the want to sue this film and Om Shanti Om for the illegitimate use of intellectual property, he’d be able to earn a lot of money (the whole universe-want-love-conspiration line from Coelho’s own The Alchemist is way too over-quoted and manipulatively misinterpreted in Hindi cinema these days). The point is that the dialogues are way too cheesy and archaic, much less those than the eventual adaptation of its story to the most exposition-heavy screenplay possible.

Which is sad. Really. Because what this film could have been is so much more. All Hamari Adhuri Kahani ends up being, however, is a well-shot, well-acted mess with strong original music that is unfortunately extremely regressive, expository, manipulative and more desperate in its nature of begging its audience to be sad with it than anything else. Not that people won’t like the movie; I can definitely see a whole lot of them defending it. Doesn’t defy the fact of it being a shamefully terrible adaptation of a story though.

In the end, I really wanted to like this film but no. just no.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

Facebook

Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

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