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‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’: What kahani?

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MUMBAI: At times, Vishesh Films, the banner run by Bhatt Brothers, Mahesh and Mukesh, grab some media by tagging a film as based on Mahesh’s personal life. This time, they present Hamari Adhuri Kahani, reportedly based on the life of their father. The film, to avoid the travails of a period movie, is told in contemporary times. But, as a biography or inspired from someone’s personal life, it is a bizarre tale to tell!

Vidya Balan specialises in arranging flowers. It is not clear if she is a florist or works for a hotel, which Emraan Hashmi plans to buy out. He is impressed by the way she does her flower arrangements and  sees her humane side. He is not familiar with such behaviour as he is a selfish go-getter. Emraan is a hospitality business tycoon already owning 108 hotels worldwide. Before adding any new property to his repertoire, Emraan conducts a test as to how the hotel is managed and how good the staff is.

Having checked into the presidential suite of his target hotel, he instructs Vidya to put a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on his door since he hadn’t slept for 18 hours, he needed rest. Don’t the guests do such chores on their own instead of treating a florist like housekeeping help? Soon there is a fire on the top floor of the hotel close to the presidential suite occupied by Emraan. The staff, all of six or seven people (for such a huge hotel) run out of the hotel including the security personnel whose priority should have been to vacate the guest rooms first.

Vidya has followed the herd of deserters but soon realizes Mr Hotel Tycoon is still in his room catching up on his 18 hour sleep. Vidya runs back in the hotel to alert Emraan and save his life. He seems to be the only guest in the hotel. Impressed by her flowers and her demeanour already, Emraan is overwhelmed by her loyalty and sincerity to her job and responsibilities. He has already fallen in love with her and wants her to join his Dubai hotel property and later wants her for himself.

Vidya is a traditional Indian woman, married to Rajkumar Rao, whose name is tattooed on her forearm. She may say that she would never remove her mangalsutra and it will burn with her on the pyre when she is dead. But, for convenience, she never wears her mangalsutra when on the job. So much for mangalsutra and pyres!

Though Vidya finds Emraan to be a nice man and never rejects his romantic advances, the Indian nari gets the better of her when Emraan proposes. She reveals that she is married, has a husband who is untraceable for the last five years; and she also has a child. She thinks he has deserted her, tells her child he is abroad while the police tell her he is somewhere in Bastar and has become a terrorist. Things get more puzzling as Rajkumar had left from Kolkata for Jharkhand but was traced in Bastar in Central India pointing a gun at some foreign tourist. The police has his picture aiming a pistol at the foreigners.

Finally, convinced that her husband has strayed, Vidya agrees to Emraan’s advances. She falls in love with him. That’s the cue: it is time for Rajkumar to stage a comeback. It does not matter that he is a terrorist and there is a police posse posted right outside his house! His house has been empty for years but he is hiding under a bed, only God and the makers know why! The timing is perfect. Vidya has decided to return to becoming Indian nari again, tells off Emraan and returns home to find Rajkumar under the bed.

Rajkumar, after all, was not a terrorist, but was forced into it, he explains. But, it is too late for him. Vidya has found love for the first time in her life in Emraan. While Rajkumar wants his legally wedded wife back, Emraan loves her so much that he is willing to stake his 108 hotels for her sake (there is a folklore about a shipping tycoon eons back in Western India who owned 99 ships, fell in love and staked his fleet for her sake. Even today, a lot of prime Mumbai property stands in the name of his trust.)

It is unbelievable that the story of Hamari Adhuri Kahani is written by Mahesh Bhatt. It is banal. The proceedings are directionless. Music lacks appeal. Dialogue is pedestrian. Photography is uninspired. Editing this film would be a challenge. Most of the 131 minute run time of the film is between Emraan and Vidya and their romance, which is grossly unconvincing and lacks any sort of chemistry. Rajkumar starts the proceedings but vanishes till after interval (the fact that Vidya is married should have been kept till later when Emraan proposes to her). The fact that two men, a tycoon and a driver, are pining for her love is a bit farfetched. Since there is no scope for showing talent, none of the three oblige. Amala is the only pleasant presence on screen though only for a few minutes. Then there is a Dilton Doily (Archie comics) who plays Emraan’s sidekick whose very presence makes the audience laugh.

Hamari Adhuri Kahani is a major let down coming as it does from Mahesh Bhatt’s penmanship and the rest joining to realise his vision or total lack of it. The box office prospects are very poor.

Producer: Mukesh Bhatt

Director: Mohir Suri

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan, Rajkumar Rao, Amala

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