Hamari Adhuri Kahani is the latest from the Vishesh Films and Mohit Suri assembly line. Sometimes the assembly line does churn out interesting material that may not work as a whole but throws up a thing of note or two. And more often than not the music clicks, their biggest selling point. Hamari Adhuri Kahani though is a tame one on that front too. It’s notable how they have so spectacularly missed the bus this time and come out with a feature without a single redeeming feature. There isn’t even a kiss to remember for their favorite boy Emraan Hashmi. Pretty much everything about this goes in front of the nightmare label.
The story is a mishmash of many things written on a napkin. Of course great things have been written on napkins before but Hamari Adhuri Kahani doesn’t even try. The problem with it is that you are always ten steps ahead of it. This is in terms of the script, the story and also the filmmaking. You have loads of sanskaar dialogues and neck baring mangalsutra symbolism. If you have to resort to that then you clearly woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You have the woman running across the hall damaging her own art on the floor. You have lamps going off at inopportune moments and rains and, well, you name it from old world Indian mainstream cinema and you got it here. It’s all there with no account for taste or effort or even a hint of sincerity.
Add to all of this Vasudha (Vidya Balan) plays a florist and is often compared to flowers and the gentleness – well you get the drift. The film tries to be about tough love (a colossal fail in its realization) on one side and a tragic love story on the other (no kick in it whatsoever and no thanks to the writing and performance of Hashmi). The character of Vasudha never evolves with the film and it is extremely frustrating to watch. Suddenly in the end the character and the film gets all preachy about feminism and domestic abuse while there is Durga Pooja All this while Aarav (Emraan Hashmi) in his very second scene is reprimanding his security staff for not doing their job by pointing out that a woman was more attentive than them. Vidya Balan’s character has no agency whatsoever in the film while the story itself revolves all around her.
Mohit Suri was never a great talent but this is still quite a ridiculous fall. His cardinal sin however has to do with this small character of Aarav’s mother that is played by – horror of horrors – Amala. For anyone holding on to happy memories from the Ninnukori era, Hamari Adhuri Kahani is a giant killer. Watch out.
(An edited version of this was published in The New Indian Express)