Ok ladies and gentlemen, on public demand, presenting my views and reviews on Humko Deewana Kar Gaye (HDKG for uninitiated, pls refer to the comments on the last review of V for Vendetta).
Giving a background, one of my favourite movie genre is the 'unintended comedy'. I have possibly not seen enough global cinema, but the Hindi film industry really specialises in this. I consider such movies beyond ratings, hence rank them in hos (in case nobody had got it so far, the stars I mention next to my reviews are the ratings on a five-point scale).
The unintended comedies would not include crap like Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, because it is intended as a comic film. Even regressive movies like Ishq Vishq are exempted, because to my mind, they are Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi packaged for the yuppie generation, and Kyunki cannot be too funny. But when you get classics like Kisna and Lucky: No Time for Love, the genre is bang-on. It is difficult to take such movies seriously because...I can't figure out why. But when you watch them, it is difficult to not enjoy them because of the sheer mindlessness backing what might have been a team's perceived intelligent thought.
Subhash Ghai, upto Saudagar, used to churn out potboliers by the dozen. In fact, I have enjoyed most of his masala movies upto then - Karz was a genuinely good remake with good performances and great music; Ram Lakhan had all the ingredients of a big movie (even a kiss on the sly by a leading popular pair); and Saudagar was enjoyable for giving the grandeur of an India-Pakistan war to a feud between two non-descript villages. Khalnayak was bland, a screenplay with immense potential looking for an intelligent director. However, Ghai totally lost it when he produced and ghost-directed Trimutri, recommending this film to your friends was the worst form of black humour for me. Post Pardes, Subhash Ghai discovered the Manoj Kumar within him, and all his movies since have talked about a regressive form of our culture. Remember the monologue the supposed bad guy Apurva Agnihotri renders in Pardes, and you'll get what I mean. Post Ghai's decline, the blockbuster genre was hijacked by the Chopra-Johar camp, and possibly the only movie which comes close to the traditional definition is Main Hoon Na.
The director of HDKG, Raj Kanwar is a guy who still makes his films in the traditional blockbuster format, though I do not think he is very good at it. He has made some really innane stuff like Jeet (to an extent) and Farz (totally ridiculous), but his last vehicle Andaaz (the launchpad of Ms. Universe Lara Dutta and Ms. World Priyanka Chopra) somehow just passed muster with me. But what promised a lot for HDKG was a classic he had made in the form of Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, which had everything an unintended comedy must have. Four hos for Dhai Akshar Prem ke!
So I must admit I wanted to watch HDKG for not pure directorial reasons. My intentions were (in order):
- I was seriously hoping for it to be an 'unintended comedy', as I had not watched one for a long time.
- I had also not watched a blockbuster in the theaters for a long time.
- The marketing of the movie was superb, and I wanted to go and watch a movie for pure consumerist reasons.
- Katrina Kaif looks ravishing, and possibly hinted some chemistry with Akshay Kumar.
And I must say I did not come across totally disappointed. HDKG is supposed to be inspired by a real life couple Raj Kanwar met in Canada, and I am sure he convoluted their simple story to produce this emotional film. The first hour of the movie is absolutely hilarious. Akshay Kumar plays an engineer who test(-drives) vehicles for a top auto company in India. In the beginning itself, he gets engaged to a driven and careerist Bipasha Basu , who is supposed to have soft negative shades to her character because of this trait of hers. The engagement and the impending marriage is supposed to be an arranged stuff, but still for some reason, Akshay's father-in-law is shown disapproving him, and this mystery is never solved in the entire movie. Maybe I only read too much there, it was just some intended comedy! Akshay is promoted and sent to Canada to test-drive a car which his company is planning to launch in the Indian market, but apart from doing the testing of the car once and representing his dealership in some cross-country rally, he acts like the serviceperson in the dealership. God save us from such promotions in our careers!
In Canada, Akshay keeps bumping into an Indian Katrina Kaif, and shames so flirtlessly with her that it will put any casanova to shame. He imagines the hot Fanaa... song with her, while his driven Bipasha is busy putting up fashion shows in Paris. Since they look good together and are forever doing stuff together (nothing naughty, harmless bit like dining, talking in malls, etc.), everybody assumes they are married or engaged. There is also a small episode where Akshay runs into an old time Sardar buddy, and enquires from his buddy about his girl-friend, Pammi, from college. The buddy replies that she is no longer his girl-friend, and before he could complete Akshay butts in and says good you left her, because she was two/three/four-timing the buddy. Now this buddy instead has married Pammi, and he takes such great offence to Akshay's joke that it is unbelievably funny. Pammi also comes and gives Akshay a piece of her mind, and the buddy meanwhile to wash away his sorrows, had decided to watch some football in a stadium. So we are treated to Pammi and Akshay intruding in front of a live audience, and requesting the audience by showing the Sardar's passport (wonder why was Pammi carrying it) to get him to re-unite with his love. In the end, we are treated to the climax of Mujhse Shaadi Karogi right in the beginning of the movie.
Akshay and Katrina start enjoying each other's company. They supposedly share two intimate moments: one is when they are stuck in a car and hold each other's hands and imagine singing a song, second is when they fall asleep sitting on a sofa, after dancing to the tunes of Junglee. However, there is a catch in their love-story as Katrina is also engaged, to a tycoon Anil Kapoor who never shaves, and is very ruthless and possessive. Rajeev Masand does point out how did Katrina still manage to spend those two intimate nights out of her home, that too with Akshay, when her fiance was so possessive.
In this entire episode, the fact that Akshay Kumar is also engaged is convenient forgotten. The love story ultimately fails because Katrina had mentioned about her unhappy childhood to Akshay, and how she believed her mother commited suicide because of her father's aloofness and silence. Akshay mentions this to his roommate, and his roomie in a drunken stupor, blurts it out to a group which included a journalist, who publishes the story on the front page of the newspaper. While this episode is presented as a lack of journalist ethics, it is conveniently forgotten that it is lack of journalistic credo itself, to publish a story based on some drunk man's claim, with no corroboration from the affected parties.
Both the lovers return to India, and in the meantime the career-woman Bipasha has started loving and missing Akshay when he is not around. She calls over Akshay to be with her at her project (I assume Akshay had been given some off-period to recover from his dealership stint in Canada, possibly to resume acting like a man slightly higher in the hierarchy in India). And alas, Bipasha's project turns out to be preparing the bride Katrina for her marriage.
Anil Kapoor and Katrina are married (yes not only engaged, engagements can be broken in Indian films, they are in sync with our sanskriti), but unlike Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, the lovers decide to part in real-life rather than through letters. Unfortunately, as soon as they are through with their parting hug, Anil Kapoor discovers them, and is mad that someone else could have shared some intimate moments with his to-be-wife (if only he knew what had happened). He asks Katrina that whether she had saunpoed (handed over) herself to Akshay, but obviously she is pure like Sita (sorry for the slang but chutiya Akshay).
After the showdown and proving her innonence, purity, et al, Katrina tries to commit suicide in the strangest way, by inverting a Versa-type van (she looks strong but that called for some Lara Croft stuff) and trying to burn herself when the petrol totally drips from the car and catches fire. God knows why she could not find a more convenient way. I guess she had very cleverly calculated that Akshay is an auto-guy, so possibly the only person who could have saved her, when the entire world was a witness to her saving. Seeing this great agni-pareeksha, Anil Kapoor does the unthinkable, he rips off the mangal-sutra, and unites the "Made(Anil's version)/Mad (Bipasha's version) for each other" couple forever.
Performancewise, Akshay Kumar is as decent as he can get. Anil Kapoor for some very irritating reason plays an unshaven tycoon in his typical chaalu style (if you want to know what I mean, watch Ram Lakhan and Taal, skip Trimurti if you only wish to figure this style out) . Bipasha plays a very hypocriticial character, I am told only because Akshay Kumar had requested her as a friend. Last but not the least, I think Katrina Kaif is both, more beautiful and more plastic, than Aishwarya Rai. I guess for Salman Khan, to balance his volatility, he needs such molls by his side. Anyway, I will await Katrina's Ishq Kameena for me to start finding her hot in the true sense.
The takeouts from the movie. I will definitely watch Raj Kanwar's next. And if a real Akshay-Katrina do exist, I dare not visit them, lest I am offered tea sweetened by their love instead of sugar.