You know something? There are times when I sit still in front of the computer for hours, staring blankly at the screen. Not because I suffer from a mental ailment, but because I have just suffered another hopelessly mediocre Bollywood film at the theatres, and don't quite know what to say about it.
You know something? This is one of those dreaded (Fri) days. For your information, the movie in question is Ajay Devgan's directorial debut U Me Aur Hum, a film that is mercifully better than its ludicrous title, but then- believe me- that isn't really much respite.
You know something? I actually feel guilty saying such bad things about a movie that is basically so sincere and nice-hearted, despite the fact that the film left me quite cold, and the air conditioning system at the multiplex- set to an unearthly temperature- wasn't the only thing to blame.
You know something? If you are already irritated by the fact that this is the fourth time I have repeated the above question in this review, imagine my plight. I have heard it being mouthed meaninglessly and relentlessly by Ajay Devgan (at least a 100 times) throughout the course of the movie.
Alright, I know I have a job to do here, so let me stop this little indulgent, one-sided conversation between U (the reader), Me (the bitter writer) and Hum. Ajay Devgan's film, evidently inspired by The Notebook, begins with a syrupy opening credit sequence; where quotes about love from Albert Einstein to Mahatma Gandhi frivolously float among clouds, setting the tone for a dreamy love story, set on (what else?) a cruise liner. Fair enough, and thus, one prepares for a heady dose of mush and good old' romance between the real life miyan-biwi couple. What one gets is some terrible stabs at humor, made all the more painful by some hysterical acting from the cast, and what is hopefully Mr. Devgan's last (failed) attempt at being funny.
The biggest problem with Ajay Devgan's film is the sheer lack of consistency in tone, whether visual or emotional. It doesn't take a psychologist to realize that this movie clearly suffers from huge bouts of schizophrenia. While the tedious first half alternates between half-baked romance and puerile comedy, the reasonably engaging second half, which centers on Kajol's affliction with Alzheimer's disease, is equally marred by unevenness of mood. Devgan evidently tries too hard to show off his technical flair, and his visuals and editing style are equally inconsistent and jarring at times, as is the sound design. The screenplay is confused, and just as it comfortably slips into a certain ambiance, there is an inexplicable change of mood that leaves one exasperated.
The second and perhaps more evident irritant is the film's cheesy dialogue by Ashwani Dhir, which almost makes you wish that Vishal Bhardwaj (who delivers a generally tepid musical score here) had actually wielded the pen rather than the baton, and possibly lifted the film by a few notches. The lines are unforgivably bad, dominated mostly by cringe-inducing PJs and some banal 'gems of wisdom' on love and togetherness.
Still, there are intermittent moments in the latter half that almost manage to salvage the film, anchored by credible performances by the lead pair. Devgan does well as the harrowed husband, portraying angst through his eyes like only he can. An actor who has always been best when he speaks the least, he is effective except when he decides to break into tiresome monologues.
As for Kajol, this is what can be called her second 'comeback' after her return to action in the disappointing Fanaa two years back, and she is as effortless and dependable as usual. She pulls off her difficult role admirably, and even as she threatens to get screechy at times, she manages to restrain herself, and turns in a fairly solid acting job.
Yet somewhere, as we struggle with our own memories of the actress, we know that the Kajol we once knew- the one sheer bubbly and effervesc