If you view it in the context of what Bollywood passes off as romantic comedy these days, Kapil Sharma’s directorial debut I, Me Aur Main is a refreshingly modern and mature romance film about a flawed protagonist who has to grow up and take up responsibility. Sort of a selfish man’s Wake Up Sid minus Ranbir.
But hey, John Abraham’s not bad at all in this film. In fact, he’s quite good and absolutely convincing as Ishaan, a music producer who is so full of himself (in case you were wondering what the title was all about).
Before you get upset about a John Abraham film getting good reviews, think about the last Bollywood film you saw that actually had six significant women roles.
Any film with SIX women characters who actually have names, automatically qualifies for better than average fare. And this has six women who are strong. Every woman in the film is responsible for shaping the boy in his journey of becoming a man. His sister Shivani (Mini Mathur) bullies him, his mother (Zarina Wahab) protects him, his boss Beena (Raima Sen) snubs him, his girlfriend Anushka (Chitrangada Singh) dumps him, his neighbour Gauri (Prachi Desai) inspires him and his protégé Amala (Sheena Shahabadi) teaches him to do what the heart says, irrespective of the market. Full credit to writer Devika Bhagat and creative consultant Juhi Chaturvedi (the writer of Vicky Donor) in fleshing out real women.
Women who don’t put up with things men do.
No matter how much she loves him, after three years, the girlfriend does not want to give him another chance when he takes her for granted. His own sister sides with his girlfriend. His mother, even if she’s the last person to give up on him, ultimately slaps some sense into him. His neighbour, as attracted as she is to him, refuses to kiss or sleep with him just because he wants to. His boss... well, you get the picture.
Director Kapil Sharma manages to keep things light and breezy as well, bringing up the interval in less than 45 minutes, diving into the story from the very first frame. It’s the second half that has a couple of hiccups and plot points of convenience.
First, nobody in the film ever thinks of breaking important and urgent news via SMS or voicemail in a world that’s so connected?
And, why do romantic comedies decide to have all the subplots climax on exactly the same date — there has to be some sort of a concert to attend, some plane to catch and/or a pregnant girl developing labour pains... all on the same date, at the same time!
Think situations borrowed from Hollywood’s black book of clichés and stock situations. This film has quite a few of them, but what it also has is a pretty radical ending.
A film that’s willing to happily embrace the reality of broken families in modern India without making a big deal out of it. Because happy broken relationships are better than bitter dysfunctional relationships. Let’s face it, modern life has become all about I, Me aur Main. What the self wants has become more important than what is good for the family unit.
And this romantic comedy gives it to us, straight. No sacrifices, no drama.
With I, Me Aur Main, the Bollywood romantic comedy, and John Abraham finally, has come of age.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Director: Kapil Sharma
Cast: John Abraham, Chitrangada Singh, Prachi Desai, Raima Sen, Zarina Wahab, Mini Mathur
Storyline: A selfish guy needs to find himself after he’s dumped by his girlfriend of three years
Bottomline: Liberal, modern, mature coming of age story of an immature man.