Tumsa Nahin Dekha Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film
Sep 13, 2004 By Subhash K. Jh

If it's a Mukesh Bhatt production, it's got to be Hollywood. Having reworked two trivial Hollywood films -- "Dragonfly" (as "Saaya") and "Unfaithful" (as "Murder") for director Anurag Bose, Bhatt now pens what is presumably the third and by far the most blithe-spirited film of Bose's Hollywood trio.

"Tumsa Nahin Dekha" is a faithful and shrewd adaptation of Steve Gordon's 1981 smash hit "Arthur", where Dudley Moore rose to dizzying, doddering fame as a drunken millionaire.

Will this remake of the romantic comedy about the pickled prince and the spunky showgirl do a Moore for Emran Hashmi?

Not quite. Hashmi has great all-round support for his "Arthur"-backed part. But he looks wrong for it. The earthy bratty personality that rendered itself well in the role of the manic lover in "Murder" makes the young millionaire in "Tumsa Nahin Dekha" more a gipsy than a tipsy.

Hashmi throws in a lot of cuteness in his little-boy-lost, richie-rich, especially in his scenes with his butler-foster father Anupam Kher. And at the end, when all's well in the lovebirds' paradise, Hashmi is very amusing as he tells Dia Mirza how he'd love to be a poor desk-job worker.

But at the end of the take, Hashmi renders a role that can't go any further than Dudley Moore. Meant to look blissfully sozzled, Hashmi quite often looks like the brat next door caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Kher does a fine job of recreating Sir John Gielgud's role of the butler-cum-mentor (done brilliantly earlier by the late Om Prakash in "Sharaabi").

The pathos of the desolate tycoon Daksh, watching his butler, friend, philosopher and accompanist die of cancer (a bit of savage realism here, since director Anurag Bose too suffers from the same disease) is rendered at a scale that provides muted and mellow drama to material that makes no bones about its antecedents and yet dares to venture beyond what was done in the original.

The romantic sequences have a certain reverberating ring to them. And Mirza, so far relegated to utterly inconspicuous parts, is a revelation.

As the bar dancer who looks after her mentally challenged brother (some self-consciously sensitive scenes between the siblings) and safeguards her dignity ("I'm a dancer, not a prostitute," she screams at the tipsy tycoon), Mirza not only looks lovely but brings a certain sensitivity to her part.

At times, for instance at Daksh's engagement party, she looks as fragile and yet as strong as Audrey Hepburn.

In the role of an independent-minded, spirited and dignified working woman (still quite a rarity in mainstream Hindi cinema!) Mirza certainly makes a distinctive impact, quite different from how Liza Minelli interpreted the working-class girl's role in the original film.

The rest of the cast and crew just follow "Arthur's" lead.

What shines through this endearing adaptation is the director's romanticism. Bose fills the film with long passages of courtship.

The sequence where Daksh carries Mirza across a wooden bridge and catches a firefly for her seems like a homage to the romanticism of the golden era of Hindi cinema represented by Raj Kapoor and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Sure, the whole affair that begins and ends with a stunning smooch (the millionaire plants a wet smack right on the show-girl's lips at a bus stand and she pays back the compliment at the end) ends up looking rather unproductive in the final reckoning.

But there are innumerable moments in the film when we end up smiling at the plodding and predictable progression of the romance.

The rather parodic portrayal of aristocracy, symbolised by Surekha Sirkri's broad and ribald portrait of Daksh's grandmother, brings a quality of indulgence to the narrative. If you can't beat the super-rich, you might as well ridicule them.

Bose often catches his economically challenged (and therefore noble) heroine pottering around at home against the backdrop of fluttering mustard curtains. This recur

Subhash K. Jh