Damn the man (or woman) who invented the formula film. Kundan Shah┬┤s "Dil Hai Tumhaara" gives us two formulae flicks in one; the formula ┬┤love quadrangle┬┤ and the formula ┬┤business in ruins thanks to evil employees┬┤ plots. Nestled in the middle of this sheer stupidity is a wonderful tale of an unconventional and rare all-woman family. Given that Mr. Shah once delivered the ┬┤thori hatke┬┤ "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa", you wish he would have enough sensitivity to concentrate on tales of humans in awkward situations, instead of that filmi stuff. Too bad these wishes cannot come true.
Sarita (Rekha) is a domestically content and married woman, young daugther in tow. That is, until she discovers her so-called loving husband has been seeing another woman behind her back. He┬┤s even sired another child with the competition, for goodness sakes. But the night she discovers the awful truth, hubby-dearest and the souten decide to depart their bodies and the planet.
Before he dies, pati-jee apologizes and gets his widow-to-be to promise she will take care of his illegitimate offspring, cause "she has no one else in the world". Sarita naturally agrees to the dying man┬┤s wishes, but is unable to give the child she never wanted as much love as her real daughter.
That is, until the love quadrangle has to make things worse. Dev (Arjun Rampal) enters their home town to investigate the doldrum state of his dad┬┤s apple empire, Khanna Industries. And he falls in love with Shalu. But Nimmi falls in love with Dev. And Shalu falls in love with Dev. But Sameer (Jimmy Shergill), Shalu┬┤s childhood buddy, also loves Shalu. (Luckily, for most of the first half of the flick, he is touring overseas with two Japanese idiots who couldn┬┤t spot ventriloquism talent even if it bit them in the buttocks.)
The film stumbles under all that amour going around, our headaches swell and everyone┬┤s in a frenzy. And the fact remains that it never even needed the "he loves her, but she loves him, but he loves her..." problems to move the more important story of mothers and daughters forward. How we wish Kundan Shah had focussed instead on the potent issues of the human condition. He would have had a shorter, more taut end product.
Plus, to tax our nerves further, the screenplay sometimes digresses in to complete lunacy. The hero┬┤s two sidekicks (nee confidants) are named CEO 1 and CEO 2, but are least Chief Executive Officer-like specimens. Two brotherly buffoons with bad wigs are running the Khanna apple orchards into the ground. (How exactly does one build an apple empire and why is a new apple juice launch such a big deal?) But the cream of the crop is that we are shown scenes of office-hours romance between our happy couple, as they make out atop a conference table and in front of a projection screen.... DURING a business meeting.
Funny though that there is still hope and signs of decent cinema in parts of Dil Hai Tumhaara. Sequences between Shalu, Nimmi and Sarita tug at your heart strings. And a confrontation scene between mother and daughters post-interval had almost all the ladies in the cinema hall crying. (Over-reaction, if you asked me, or maybe they were bored to tears, but to each their own.)
The actresses┬┤ performances are first rate. Preity Zinta lives and breathes the central character, a girl longing for maternal acceptance and affection. She is an actress who has really grown, performance-wise, the last few years. Want evidence? Look at her body language in the climax.
Mahima lends credible support as Nimmi. And as is always the case with her second fiddle roles, she steals the thunder from the lead in a couple of places. (See again the confrontation scene, mentioned above.)
And finally, Rekha is stoic, silent and brilliant as Sarita. One wishes there were more of her in the movie - damn the quadrangle again - and cannot help but think what wonders she would have done in the political female roles of
"Hu Tu Tu" or "Aandhi".
Arjun Rampal, Jimmy Shergill and the other males are fine on the side-lines, though I must say that Rampal has an unemotive eye problem. It can┬┤t convey emotion. Please, someone get the man some glycerin next time he┬┤s expected to weep on camera.
Supporting technical credits are all quite good, with the set design (except that hideous statue Dev gifts Shalu), cinematography and choreography all lifting the mediocre Nadeem Shravan tunes to above average levels.
"O Sahibaa, O Sahibaa" is clearly the pick of the lot.
Dil Hai Tumhaara is so-so. But, I would have prefered to say it was great. There is an excellent story hiding inside this stupid quadrangle flick. Maybe if Gulzar had directed it, the complex issues of dealing with infidelity, unwanted offspring and longing for a mother┬┤s love would have been better presented. As it is, I must reiterate... Damn, the formula flick!