Hamari Adhuri Kahani: Poetic injustice

Hamari Adhuri Kahani is the kind of film where the hero, when smitten by a beautiful woman, writes her name on a piece of paper four times. He then slyly spies upon the woman using a car’s rear-view mirror. It is also the kind of film where the hero clicks a group picture only to zoom in on the heroine. When he realises that the picture is unclear, he even asks her (who also works for him) to click another one of herself and send it to him. The smooth criminal we are talking of is, of course, played by Emraan Hashmi.

With Hamari Adhuri Kahani , director Mohit Suri, fresh from resurrecting the serious love story genre with Rs. 100-crore Aashiqui 2, has made a film that is likely to appeal more to the parents (or grandparents) of the kids who patronised Aashiqui 2. Vasudha (Vidya Balan) is a middle-aged mother who, believing that her husband (Rajkummar Rao) has deserted her, falls in love with millionaire hotelier Aarav Ruparel (Emraan Hashmi). So when the husband returns one day with an adequate alibi, what is she expected to do, especially when the said husband is the product of centuries of tradition and patriarchy? While this plot seems promising, the film, in trying to become a timeless tragedy, stoops to petty sentimentality.

Genre: Romance-drama Director: Mohit Suri  Cast: Vidya Balan, Rajkumar Rao, Emraan Hashmi  Storyline: A married woman falls in love outside of her marriage.

How else would you explain a woman in 2015 saying this to her lover? “ Mujhe jeena nahi aata, tum mujhe jeena sikha sakte ho? Mujhe pyar karna nahi aata, tum mujhe pyar karna sikha sakte ho ? (I don’t know how to live. Will you teach me how? I don’t know how to love. Will you teach me how?)” Even when something simpler would have worked better, Aarav tells Vasudha, “ Sach se bhaagne ki koshish bekar hoti hain (it’s pointless to run away from the truth).” However, the funniest of the lot is the scene in which Vasudha, after learning of Aarav’s tragic childhood, melodramatically runs away from him (as he is standing in the desert) straight across a beautifully laid rangoli, knocking down a lamp in the process. There is also a running arum lilies motif that’s sure to invoke laughter of the unintentional kind every time it appears.

Performances of usually subtle actors such as Vidya Balan and Rajkummar Rao feel rather prosaic due to the film’s soap opera-like treatment. However, traces of Vidya’s calibre is evident in the scene in which she clicks the aforementioned selfie to send to Emraan. Her half-smile in the picture means so many things. I only wished the rest of the film had followed the 'Little is a lot' formula, especially when it comes to emotions. Even the moments that work, like the one where Vasudha explains why a garden is too perfect to be beautiful without a few fallen leaves and another one about daughters being asked to be more like Sita when it is Radha who’s more celebrated, are robbed of their potency by the unnecessarily heavy violin orchestrations.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani could still have an audience considering the lady sitting next to me was sobbing during the climax, but given how the three youngsters sitting in front of me were constantly on their phone, it is perhaps a story that would have been best left untold.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 2:17:03 pm |