Planet Bollywood
Na Tum Jaano Na Hum
Producer: PFH Entertainment
Director: Arjun Sablok
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Esha Deol, Alok Nath, Smita Jaykar, Rati Agnihotri, Moushami Chatterjee, Preeti Jhangiani (G.A.)
Music: Rajesh Roshan
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Genre: Emotional
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 3 Hrs
Film Released on: 10 May 2002
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.1 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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Romance… Romance… Romance… That is the one problem with Na Tum Jaano Na Hum. We’ve seen enough of it and Na Tum Jaano Na Hum doesn’t provide us with anything much different.

Taking inspiration from Yash Chopra, as evident with the opening, which takes lending from Dil To Pagal Hai (and the “Ek Dujhe Ke Vaaste” song), Arjun Sablok’s film is a sincere look into the romantic lives of Esha (Esha Deol), Rahul (Hrithik Roshan) and Akshay (Saif Ali Khan).

Starting off eloquently (but slightly reminiscent of Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham) with the sweet “Yeh Betiyan”, Esha opens the tale with her romantically innocent life. It shows us her progression from a young little girl to an older innocent girl. A faithful girl, she starts a relationship with a young man via letters. Her relationship began over a radio station where they both try to learn, “kya yehi pyaar hai” through the song itself. (Thankfully, it’s the tune from the original kya yehi pyaar hai). The relationship slowly develops into situations where Esha and the young man, Rahul, can come to understand each other, their likes, dislikes, etc.

We are then introduced to Rahul, a young playful, happy young man who is equally as faithful as Esha in God, life, and love. He is benevolently awaiting her presence. His life consists of many friends, but specifically his buddy, Akshay, a loose, free guy who takes relationships lightly simply because he doesn’t understand them. The relationship between Rahul and Esha continues as each of the two continue to live their life as if they are in a real relationship though they know nothing of the physical features that each other hold. So much so that they do not know when they meet at a fashion shoot. From that point they are together but are unaware of each other’s identity. While they continue to write letters to each other. The story continues so forth until Akshay actually realizes that with Esha he too can fall in love and understand it better. However, Akshay’s relationship with Esha is arranged, and was it not for the arrangement Esha would be just another girl to Akshay. But the trouble arises when Rahul realizes Esha is his pen pal and through their letters they have fallen in love. Naturally, this is a problem since Esha and Akshay are arranged for marriage.

Despite sounding a lot like the Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan starrer You’ve Got Mail, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum doesn’t come across as dramatic or clichéd to the point where the audience wishes they found out about each other’s identities already. Instead, it plays on the romance between the two who don’t know each other’s identities. Now, unfortunately, that is not much different. Just much less dramatic and that is somewhat of a relief for those of us who think we’re about to see a melodramatic piece of crap. But there is indeed one sequence where the pen pals plan to meet, and do meet, and the background music gets dramatic et al.

Some also claimed that the film’s basic plot, a relationship through letters, is out dated, but the situation is surely not so. We’ve come to expect the overdose of computers in cinema today. Films trying too much to be modern. Just because email has become popular doesn’t mean that writing is out of style.

The Dil To Pagal Hai hangover is heavily seen again when Esha and Rahul start jamming on the dance floor at a college party. If this isn’t The Dance of Envy, well, it may not be, but the music is quite similar… (But of course, Esha Deol and Hrithik CAN dance and that is quite evident).

Sablok can direct a film, but he writes a typical romance fare here, a fault that the industry revived with change, is not willing to forgive. Romances are surely not going to be big winners as much as they were previously. Though the film is less clichéd than it can be, there are many scenes which have the Bollywood ‘been there seen that’ stamp including the “provocatively dressed girl attracting the wrong kind of guys” scene. He is much better as a director than as a writer. The climax of the film tries to keep the film’s theme in mind but doesn’t completely work. It definitely has some unneeded melodrama there. One also doesn’t need to figure out that Sablok once worked with director Yash Chopra.

For the fact that most of the comedy occurs between the main protagonists, the comedic portions are tolerable. Though one can’t figure out if we are laughing at them or with them. The latter situation proves true with comedic bits on the friendship that Rahul and Akshay share, though it is a unique attempt. That portion contains a very small role by Preeti Jhangiani. Too small of a role (you blink and you won’t even notice it is her!) in fact, that’s a bad career move, though Jhangiani does have a number of big films lining up.

The picturizations for Rajesh Roshan’s mediocre songs vary, but lean more towards artistic more than anything else. “Aha Aha” starts off as a typical heroine number, progresses to an artistic picturization only to end up as a promotion for Playboy (though I am sure Saif Ali Khan did not mind). And for that matter, for a romance film, the sexual humor was a bit crude and unnecessary. “Hai Ram” is one of the most artistic presentations we’ve seen this year (one can expect biggies like Devdas to outshine it), and the placement is also good. “Dil Leke” is typical and the song also reminds us of “Ghoongte Mein Chanda” from Koyla.

Tum” is truly too slow to catch our attention though it is a pleasant song from singer Kamal Khan and is picturized more like a music video more than a song in a film. Most of the songs display a certain artistic sense that Sablok has but he fails to intertwine this artistic appeal, contrasting colors, symbolizing the burning plane and so forth, into the film. The choreography (some of which Sablok has done himself) is average to bad; especially in Dil Leke where they look they’re doing typical gymnastic movements. In their defense only “Chunariya” requires fast movements. Manoj Soni’s cinematography shines in many of the songs while remaining normal in the regular scenes. Pratibh Acharya’s dialogues are overall just okay, with only few scenes leaving an impression. In the editing department, the film moves at a decent pace. Certain portions deserve chopping off, but the film moves at a much faster pace than Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (most of us couldn’t truly finish watching that one). The song “Jaa Sanam” should be deleted, one because its boring, two because while it narrated a story with pictures, the lyrics do nothing to move the story forward except reiterate what we already know. Raju Singh’s background score is typical. Nothing spectacular at all.

Rati Agnihotri is there just to be a mother figure. While she looks young as ever, she has nothing much to do. Alok Nath is also just typical. Moushami Chatterjee is also just another face amongst the many in the film. The film also abounds in supporting cast members like Achla Sachdev, Smita Jaykar and several others. None leave a mark, not even a smudge on the audience’s memory.

Esha as Esha (strange coincidence that Esha will be featuring with the same screen name in Kyaa Dil Ne Kahaa, Kya Pyaar Karogie Mujhse and featured with it in Koi Mere Dil Se Pooche) shows a dramatic improvement from her debut. She handles the youngster grown with a lot of ease, confidence and much better dialogue delivery. She also looks prettier, and can classify herself amongst the Kareena’s of the industry now (even if the film has done average business). Her comedic sequences are much better than in her debut and she has given an overall good performance. At points we are able to see the “sparks of brilliance” that Sablok has spoken about so much.

Hrithik Roshan walks through the film like with little effort. The role is certain not award worthy and neither is his performance, but he does do a nice job. Smiling all the way (crying much less than in AMALL, thankfully!), Hrithik proves that AMALL was just a bad film. He hasn’t earned the title of a good comedian, but his presence is surely felt and is a pleasant surprise after his last dud. He is enjoyable without being a sex appeal playing the author-backed role with the talent we know he has. He isn’t going anywhere folks, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum proves that.

Unfortunately, Saif Ali Khan doesn’t have much to do until the latter portions of the film (and that isn’t much either). While rumors were rife that Rakesh Roshan had edited the project to give Hrithik more screen time, they stayed as rumors, and Saif’s presence in the film is felt. Though Saif seemed to have trouble in “Chunariya”, both with dances and facial expressions. (It was also weird seeing him don the kurta, something he doesn’t do too often). Never the less, Saif is appreciable in his very small role, he has definitely matured as an actor and his confrontation scene with Esha and Rahul later does show us this.

It seems that if a name like Yash Chopra, Karan Johar etc. were attached to this project; the film would have probably been better accepted by the media and even the audience. Since Sablok is just an old assistant, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum faced a much bigger task in getting recognized for its few distinguishing qualities. That there are, undoubtedly. Truthfully, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum is certainly not a bad film.

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