Sometimes love doesn┬┤t happen at first sight. Sometimes it grows over time between two people. That┬┤s exactly the premise behind Hum Tum, the newest Yashraj Prod. directed by Yash Chopra protegee Kunal Kohli. Hum Tum is Kohli┬┤s second directorial venture after the disaster that was Mujhse Dosti Karoge!. This time around, however, Kohli makes a whimsical, lighthearted film with a soul that will have most of the romantics out there (and some of the jaded) falling in love allover again. The film is vintage Yash Chopra, both the look and feel of the film are familiar to those of us who have grown up with Yash Chopra┬┤s romances. The difference here is that this film is only about falling in love. No love triangles, no winning over family members, no college masti; this film is a mature and more realistic (by Bollywood standards) look at love. Kunal scores with great direction, an interesting screenplay and perfect casting.
The film takes a look at 9 years of our two lead protagonists, Rhea (Rani Mukherji, looking out of this world in her sexy new look) and Karan (A peppy, loveable and confident Saif). They meet on their way to New York from India, where playboy Karan tries to woo Rhea from the get go. Straight from the first meeting it┬┤s obvious that these two would never be able to endure a realtionship together, but never say never. The couple parts after an eventful stop over in Amsterdam, and they continue to meet over the course of the next 9 years. Each meeting is completely different from the last. In New York Rhea catches Karan up to his old playboy ways, then in Delhi he┬┤s organizing her wedding, and then to Paris where a chance encounter rekindles an old flame.
The story sounds boring on paper, but thanks to Kunal┬┤s screenplay and direction the film is enjoyable. First the screenplay; Kohli has written each meeting between the two leads well. Their initial meetings are light hearted and fun, however once they meet in Paris (and there after) the interactions get a tad more serious as Karan tries to help Rhea through hard times. All the while you can see the characters growing and maturing with each meeting. The character developmet is subtle and gradual, but it comes across tremendously on screen. Also worth a mention is Kohli┬┤s direction which is leaps and bounds above Mujhse Dosti Karoge!. The meetings are intertwined with animated sequences where Karan┬┤s comic strip charatcers, Hum Tum, are fighting the greatest battle of all, the battle of the sexes. In essence it┬┤s like having a narrarator, but this method is much more effective. And the animated sequences will go down well with the audience, not only because it┬┤s something new, but also because the quality of the animation is of international standards. Dialouges ensure that the meetings stay entertaining, and give us insight into the characters. One particularly entertaining piece takes place between Karan and Rhea at her mehndi; he extoles the virtues of not marrying citing the fact that most of the worlds historical lovers never married. On the other hand Rhea uses the example of the Taj Mahal, the greatest symbol of love in the world, constructed by a married man for his wife. Cinematography is first class, background music is functional, Jatin Lalit┬┤s score doesn┬┤t provide any catchy numbers but provide a good break to go to the bathroom. The only true fault with the film is that once you┬┤ve seen it, a repeat viewing doesn┬┤t seem all that appealing.
The film really scores with casting. Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherji are such naturals that it seems they are only playing extentsions of themselves on screen. They effortlessly fit into their characters and handle the situations in the film with ease. As a result the film doesn┬┤t require Rani or Saif to stretch their acting muscle, they only kick into performance mode in the last half hour of the film. Rhea and Karan are also charming characters and getting two of our most charming artistes into the roles is a big plus. The chemistry between the two is hot, they make a great pair and their obvious comfort with each other on screen makes one hope they are cast together in the future. The real surprise are the supporters, especially Kiron Kher. We┬┤ve seen her as the mother in countless films, but never like this. As a typical Punjabi mom, she is fantastic, stealing every scene that she is in. Her mannerisms and accent lend a lot to the performance, she never goes over the top and scores very well with the audience. This is definitely a feather in her cap. Rishi Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri as Saif┬┤s estranged parents also do a good job. Kapoor looks the part and gives a nice performance, Rati makes do with the limited amount of scenes given to her. The film is also chalk full of surpise appearances. Jimmy Shergill as Mihir is a complete natural, Abhishek Bachchan and Isha Koppikar make impacts in two scene roles. Shenaz (Ishq Vishk) shows why she may just be a one film wonder.
Hum Tum is wholesome family entetainment with a fresh outlook on the whole love issue. Kunal Kohli does a better job with this second film, he┬┤s obviously taken a lot of time to think this project through and it shows. His direction and screenplay are fresh and entertaining, making this one fun viewing expereince. Saif Ali khan and Rani Mukherji are perfectly cast and play their parts naturally. Luckily they are supported by some seasoned performers who all score higher marks than the leads, and the film is peppered with familiar faces making fleeting appearances. Hum Tum may not be path breaking, but it┬┤s definitely the way to go if you are looking for a few hours of entertainment. This is India┬┤s perfect date movie!