Hamari Adhuri Kahani: A melodramatic tragedy

Hamari Adhuri Kahani: A melodramatic tragedy

Not even a soulful performance from Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi can save Hamari Adhuri Kahani from degenerating into a melodramatic tragedy.

By Ambica Sachin

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 8:55 PM

Last updated: Sat 11 Jul 2015, 12:41 AM

Towards the end of Hamari Adhuri Kahani, there is a scene where Vidya Balan, clad in a striking red outfit, with the figure of Durga in the background, spews forth on the worth of a woman to her abusive husband. If only there were more such scenes in the Mohit Suri directed film, reportedly based on producer Mahesh Bhatt’s parents’ love story.

Sadly it comes too late to salvage what could have been an intense love story between a hotshot hotelier, Aarav Ruparel, and a modest florist Vasudha Prasad. Impressed by her ‘guest-relation’ expertise as well as her talent for arranging flowers, he whisks her away to work in his Dubai hotel but when she gets a whiff of his real intention (surprise, surprise) she develops cold feet and literally walks into the desert with her suitcase. Perhaps hoping to come by a wayside camel to drop her to the airport?

Their relationship is doomed from the beginning and things come to a head when Vasudha’s absentee husband Hari (Rajkummar Rao), who has been branded a terrorist by the police, turns up after five years, claiming innocence and wanting to regain his marital rights. Just when she was planning to ditch her devout wife role and walk into the sunset with a millionaire (who, by the way, has a sob story of his own to tell courtesy a cabaret artist mother played by yesteryear actress Amala Akkineni in a surprising cameo). A wily husband, a self-sacrificing lover and a woman stuck between the duo – the ingredients are all there for a great love story, but Mohit Suri unfortunately misses the opportunity and instead saddles us with a cheesy romance that makes us balk and at times laugh rather than shed a tear.

Despite the presence of a stalwart actor like Balan and the talented Rajkummar and a not-so-bad performance from Hashmi, the movie quickly degenerates into a third-rate Mills and Boons story. The main culprit is the melodramatic dialogues the characters are saddled with which weighs down each scene and draws our attention away from the plotline. Which is as intense as they come - a rich eligible bachelor falls for a married woman who shackled by age-old traditions and customs is torn between her abusive husband and her newfound love. While Vasudha’s character might seem regressive – she has the name of her husband tattooed forcefully on her arm by a man who believes they are bound together for seven births – there will no doubt be millions of abused women across the world who empathise with her situation. For a traditional woman, brought up to believe in the sanctity of marriage, it can be unthinkable to break away from an abusive relationship, and set up home with another man. And one who can sing at the drop of a hat (like all Bollywood heroes of course) unlike the husband who returns after five years only to ask in true chauvinistic fashion: “I’m hungry. Can I get something to eat?” Marriage is never having to say sorry or make grand proclamations of romance, we guess.

It’s high time the Bhatts learnt that romance need not be melodramatic and an overdose of poetic dialogues only makes the audience laugh out loud instead of empathising with the characters. Here’s hoping that the next film to roll out from the Bhatt stables will have a more ‘complete’ story to tell. Watch it if you want to spot Dubai landmarks including the Miracle Garden...

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