Cast: Mawra Hocane, Harshvardhan Rane, Manish Choudhary, Divyetta, Murli Sharma, Vijay Raaz, Sudesh Berry
Director: Radhika Rao, Vinay Sapru
Bechara Erich Segal. Ek story kya likhi ki poori duniya usi story ke peeche pad gayi. Every few years we get a retake of that same story and though none of them have been even one-tenth as charming and moving as the original film starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw, yet it keeps on coming, with one slight change here and one silly addition there…
The two geniuses responsible for this version of Love Story, i.e. writer-director Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru, have tried to give their film some rather idiotic newness. For starters, they have imported the girl from Pakistan. Having done that, they have given her a very desi, bechari-ki-shaadi-nahin-hoti characterisation. This doesn’t just make their film very annoying, but also very asinine. But at least she gets some character.
The boy doesn’t even get that. Harshvardhan Rane plays Inder who is very strange. Alarmingly primitive, actually. He’s all body, no words. But, my, what a body! It’s the sort idiot and intelligent girls are fatally attracted to. But he’s strange. Consider this: A) Inder is always drinking — either milk, which he shares with a stray cat, or beer, which he thankfully doesn’t share with the stray cat, sometimes vodka, Gatorade, or bhaang… but is always drinking.
B) He feeds stray cat and doesn’t mind drinking her jhootha. This is presented as a sign of being one happy member of mother nature’s extended family and all, but it’s the sort of thing that will make all middle class mothers faint instantly.
C) In his drawing room there is a TV set but no sofa. Instead there is one, horizontal exercise danda from which he jerks up and down while watching TV. And from his sharply sliced abs, it seems he watches a lot of TV.
D) Inder is tattooed. Not a few tattoos. But is inked like some boys are before maths exams. When their body is their farrey.
E) Inder is silent and seething because he may be a murderer and may have serious daddy issues.
His neighbour is a cutie pie, Mohtarma Mawra Hocane from Pakistan who, it seems, hasn’t irked Shiv Sena by singing the same four ghazals since the Seventies.
She doesn’t sing at all, in fact. She weeps. Copiously. All the time. Any time.
Well her character Saraswati Parthasarthy, Saru, a South Indian Brahmin, does. You see, she must quickly marry a Brahmin IIT/IIM guy, because if she doesn’t, her younger sister, who has been controlling her shaadi ka jor se-wala susu, will elope.
Now that’s something good Saru can’t allow. It will destroy her strict dad (Manish Choudhary) whom she loves. But the problem is that boys keep rejecting her. She thinks she’s ugly. She’s not. She just dresses like all our mothers and mother superiors wished we would — using our clothes as an emphatic declaration of our chastity.
Saru and Inder meet, instead of in between Harvard and Radcliff, in the library where Saru works. That’s when, one by one, the film’s three absolutely stunning lines follow. “Kapde utaarna bannd karo, please,” she says to him. Thank god he doesn’t.
That’s why, when she goes to him to seek some neighbourly help, it turns into the ultimate nightmare of every girl with a crotchety, hyperbolic father. But before father sees her on the wrong side of Lakshman Rekha, there it is, the film’s second great line: “Jitna lamba kurta, utni zyada sex drive.”
Pious father who values his values deeply and is a drama queen, does his daughter’s full and final rituals and ceremonies. This is bad, very bad. Because, it seems, God says “Tathasthu” to whatever parents say about their children.
The film malingers, courtesy evil society members, a mean guard, an emotional cop, a mostly silent hero, a reluctant groom, a creepy and bizarre Vijay Raaz and complete lack of common sense.
All the time weeping — everybody weeps one by one and then they weep in unison and then again they weep some more, solo, till we come to the point where some intense, quivering sort of love happens that makes us want to slip into the final death throes while screaming, “Abe yaar Inder, shaadi kar le na, please. Otherwise we’ll marry her and put her out of her misery.”
Mawra Hocane is cute. Much cuter before the so-called makeover. And she can act, act up, and weep. Poor Harshvardhan Rane. They didn’t write a role for him. They just gave him a long lasting sulk and told him to mumble every now and then. He does as instructed. Third great line? Haha. I have suffered. You must too if you want to know.