Jun 13, 2015

Hamari Adhuri Kahani: Shockingly Regressive and Melodramatic

There are good films and there are bad films. And then there are some films that are so unbelievably bad that you feel like shouting - why did they make this film!!? Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the latest melodramatic overdose from the Bhatt camp, is so regressive, unbelievable, over-the-top and nauseating that you stop expecting anything within half an hour into the film. Mohit Suri, the film's director, has a reasonable track record with good little films like Kalyug, Awarapan and Woh Lamhe under his belt. In fact, Suri has also been at the helm of affairs for three consecutive blockbusters for the Bhatt Camp in the recent past - Ek Villain, Aashiqui 2 and Murder 2.
Apart from a credible director, the film boasts of three fine actors in form of Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi and Rajkumar Rao, but the end product is so mediocre, pointless and boring that even you, as regular moviegoer, would like to hang your head in shame. Hamari Adhuri Kahani's biggest lacuna is its kahani itself. Mahesh Bhatt and Shagufta Rafiq's story is so contrived, half-baked and dipped with horrendous dialogues that it can make 80s cinema look like sparking pieces of art. In fact, some of the dialogues are so cheesy and loaded that you silently giggle in your mind and think how they would become a rage once the dubsmash milieu laps them up!
Both Emraan and Vidya mouth some of the worst written lines that one can remember in recent times, but the cherry on the top is saved for Emraan's mother who looks at Vidya and asks his son, "Kaun Hai Ye Banjaran?" Not just that, she even goes on to lecture her on how its time she stopped being 'Sita' and became 'Radha'! Phew! Such rhetorical verbal stone pelting may have been 'cool' in the 80s but is definitely out-of-date and bogus for current times. It is annoying when none of the characters in the film talk to each other in simple words. They are all perennially grim, look heavily constipated and thrash each other with verbal and metaphorical bricks. There is a constant and disturbing imagery of flowers and a VFX-enabled climax in a "valley of flowers" near Bastar (I am sure no place like that excists near Bastar) that looks so odd that it makes special effects of Mallika Sherawat's Hisss look pretty cool.

For those of you who are still interested in the film's story and plot - Vidya Balan plays Vasudha Prasad, a young mother of a 5-year, old whose husband Hari, played by Rajkumar Rao, leaves her an year after the marriage. We are told that Hari is a really bad guy because he has forced Vasudha to get his name tattooed on her arm, and constantly evokes their saat janam ka rishta, sanskaar and peedhiyon se chali aa rahi sanskriti. Vidya, on the other hand, is the lady in distress who always clutches at her mangalsutra as if it were a trophy, but eventually is serenaded by Aarav, played by Emraan Hashmi, the billionaire hotelier who has his own sad past.
It's tough to digest how the film's writers reinforce regressive mindset and beliefs by investing too much in symbolism of a mangalsuktra, pati parmeshwar, sanskaar and then foolishly try to fake feminism towards the climax with an artificial Durga imagery. The principal characters in the film are mere caricatures and lack soul, motive and purpose. You never really take up to Vidya's tears or understand Emraan's fetish fatale with her. Strangely, you do not even hate Rajkumar Rao's character and pity him for landing up a role that lacks layering and conviction.
From Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani in 2012 to Mohit Suri's Hamari Adhuri Kahani in 2015, life seems to have come full circle for a certain Vidya Balan. Be it the traditional yet poignant Lalita in Parineeta (2005), the chirpy RJ Jhanvi of Lagey Raho Munnabhai (2006), the hysterical but effective Avni of Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), the shrewd Krishna of Ishqiya (2010), the spirited and seductress Silk in The Dirty Picture (2011) or the feisty Vidya of Kahaani (2012) - Vidya Balan has given us some of the most memorable female characters in recent times. With Hamari Adhuri Kahani, Balan nosedives to a new low in her career, so much so, that it not just hurts but even shocks you to believe that she gave her consent for a film as regressive, ridiculous and nauseating as this. Emraan Hashmi looks disinterested and the film does little justice to his acting potential or even his kissing caliber! Rajkumar Rao is wasted magnificently and it is painful to see an actor as brilliant as him to do a poorly written role as this. The film's support cast borders on being incompetent with the actor playing Emraan Hashmi's mother looking naive in her dialogue delivery and younger than Vidya Balan even with those fake grey strands.
The film's music does not live up to the melodious reputation of the Bhatt camp. Except for "Humnava" none of the songs have that repeat value or a humming quality that sticks on to you. The film's cinematography (Vishnu Rao) is below par, so is the background score that uselessly tries to build up tempo in this lethargic, boring film.
Overall, Hamari Adhuri Kahani will easily qualify as one of the biggest letdowns of recent times; specially for Vidya Balan who has wowed us with stellar performances in the past. This is one film that you can definitely miss and thank this reviewer for saving you your hard-earned money. 
Rating: * (Poor)

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