U Me Aur Hum, and hum too

The Aazaadi Sawaari will be leaving soon. Congrats to Abhinav Bindra and Michael Phelps for their outstanding performances at the Olympics! Aamir Khan was signed by the Indian Tourism Ministry for the Incredible India campaign. He'll do it for free! Ghajini's release date was changed yet again: it's Christmas now. Raveena Tandon is still every bit as beautiful (wish more could speak like her)! Not too disappointed with the Salman-Shah Rukh incident -- SRK continues to meet my (low) expectations.

Saw U Me Aur Hum (2008) this past weekend. Starring Ajay Devgan and Kajol, and familiar faces including Divya Dutta (she's underrated, I tell you), produced and directed by Ajay Devgan (his first), and with music by Vishal Bharadwaj. The film was more interesting than I expected, and Ajay and Kajol were the biggest reasons why. Since this movie is relatively new, I'll stick to some highlights without revealing too much of the plot (well, at least not the most important bits). You might want to play this tune as you read along:

1. The opening scene was interesting. There was an adolescent who looked like a kid, and tried too hard to look and sound like Saif Ali Khan (raise the benchmark, yaar! :)

2. Ajay (Ajay Devgan) -- a doctor -- was aboard a cruise and partying one night when he saw Piya (Kajol) -- a waitress -- and fell head over heels in love with her. Very believable, only because it's the stunningly beautiful Kajol, who any sane single guy would easily fall in love with.

3. There was a good build-up to the catchy song Dil Dhakda Hai (not mis-spelled) by Adnan Sami Khan, Shreya Ghosal and Sunidhi Chauhan (promo at this link), but the final product was not my favorite. Let's just say this: if I wanted to see fit (and often pretty) women bouncing around in bikinis, I'd watch beach volleyball at the Olympics ;)

4. Of course, Ajay pursued Piya. She refused to heed his calls for attention, but eventually gave in given everything he did led her to believe they were compatible. Compatibility (I prefer the term 'strategic alignment'), like Divya Dutta, is underrated, so I liked where this was headed.

5. A song with an obvious and good Latin vibe, Jee Le was timed and used well. Singers Adnan Sami and Shreya Ghosal were fantastic again. And I've given up on a song in a Hindi film with Spanish lyrics not having the word 'amor' -- I guess that would be as singular as a Hindi film not having a song!

6. Piya overcame her reservations and married Ajay. The question was...would they be happy together? For the answer, watch U Me Aur Hum. I think it does well in engaging hum (the audience) too.

7. If you're a fan of placements of old songs in new films, you'll enjoy several bits. There's Saara Zamaana, Aate Jaate Khubsoorat, and my favorite in this case, Chalte Chalte (from Pakeezah) which is one of the best placements of a classic in contemporary cinema in quite a while. Kajol singing bits of the song was a lot of fun to be involved in.

8. The dialogue was a definite highlight. Part of Ajay's profession required him to be good with words, and his articulation of about every situation imaginable shone throughout the film. Here are a couple of examples: a) Ek sach ki umar sau jhoot se zyaada hoti hai (the life of one bit of truth is greater than that of a hundred lies); and b) Jaise pyaar ko paane ke liye junoon zaroori hota hai, waise pyaar ko nibhaane ke liye bhi junoon zaroori hota hai (fulfilling love requires intensity, just like earning love does).

9. The songs combined for a good overall effect. The title song (in player above) was excellent and fit perfectly with the vibe of the film. It was used with the opening credits, and set the tone and pace for the rest. When the line 'Apne rang ganwaaye bin, mere rang me ghul jaa' (blend in with my colors without sacrificing yours) was used, I was reminded of two things: a) A certain song by the Spice Girls that spoke of unity in romantic love, and b) A chameleon. Would you believe we we were taken very close to one of these in the film?!

left some to be desired, if only because the lyrics weren't consistent with the film's proceedings. For example, there was a sentence that accused (in jest) Ajay of spending more time with the TV than with his biwi (wife). That's great, except that there wasn't one scene with Ajay watching television throughout the film. The flow wasn't seamless. This applied to at least one more song.

10. The art direction was very good. My only complaints were negligible: a) It's 7 a.m. when our lovebirds meet daily, and there was not one soul (okay, maybe just one) around on the front deck? Really?

b) Piya had Alzheimer's, and the care facility she was sent to looked like something from the Jetsons. Still, it had its strong points, like the capturing of this ambiance:


c) The color palettes (with shades of blue and white more prominent than the rest) were spectacular. Add Kajol to the mix, and it's an unbelievably delightful film canvas.

11. The supporting cast was up to the task. Everyone (especially Ms. Dutta) did well.

12. The biggest strength of the movie was, as expected and without a doubt, the Ajay-Kajol pairing. It might be other celebrity couples that get the press, but I doubt there's a better on-screen pairing of a real-life couple than Ajay and Kajol. They must truly be absolutely in love to not need to act the part. Or maybe they're just actors par excellence (I think for Kajol at least, it's both). They were in fine form here. Kajol acted her part brilliantly, and the second half catered to Ajay Devgan's strengths.

13. The film was not without flaws. The pace with which the plot unraveled required patience (filmmakers would argue that it was required to suck in the viewers, which would be a fair response). Some comedy was of the pedestrian variety. These moments were so few and far between, one couldn't help but wonder why they were used to begin with. Not sure the film identified its target audience very well. The jokes (some good, others not quite), the marketing, and the title, suggested one target audience, and the plot (and the majority of the people involved in it), another. That could work well in some situations, I just didn't think it did here. Had they done better in developing this, the film might have done much, much better at the box office, for it certainly was a good filmy product.

14. I wished they had not deliberately mis-spelled the 'U' in the title. Then I saw this on the eBay home page last night. I rest my case :)

15. Anyone read The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough?

Overall, it's still a very good film that deserves to be seen at least once. The integration of the music, the pace of the film, and some humor that didn't do much for me, are easy to overlook if one buys into the plot -- that's where Kajol and Ajay are effective. If you are comfortable watching uncredited inspirations (yet again) from a Hollywood flick, definitely give U Me Aur Hum a shot. And while you're at it, keep a handkerchief handy.

Movie rating: 3.5/5 (Very good!)

My classification: PG-13

Music rating: 3/5 (good)

Official website (and picture source): http://umeaurhum.erosentertainment.com/


Anonymous said...

SMS-speak (and spelling) has ruined my pleasure in reading. I just cannot stand u and ur and all else like it.

*end crabby old lady rant*

I am looking forward to seeing this, but think I need to be in the mood for a bit of a downer...

Nicki said...

I haven't seen this film yet but I plan to. I want to see it mainly for Kajol cause I love her. Thanks for reminding to watch it.

S said...

Hi This is my first visit to your blog,you have a very nice one.I was not planning to see this movie since I really did not think that it would be that good,but after reading your review am willing to give it a try:)

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

I do agree with your comment about the pacing- there were times I just couldnt take it any more! But of course, Kajol & Ajal, and the supporting cast made up for that.

theBollywoodFan said...

Memsaab: datz it! im wid u :)

I find SMS-speak tolerable *only* when it's used in text messages (although 'dis' and 'dat' annoy me even on phones).

Saving this film for when you're in the right mood for it will definitely pay off.

Nicki: Kajol was *the* reason I saw this, and I can imagine the film going off-track with most others. If you're okay with the plot not being entirely original, you'll like this, especially if you're a Kajol fan.

Reviewer: Welcome, and thank you for your comment and kind words. As said in my comments to Memsaab and Nicki, the acting is really what made this movie work for me. Would love to know your thoughts when you see it! Do stop by again! :)

Shweta: There was one scene in particular (your guess) which I couldn't not forward through (if only for a few seconds). That's where the comment on pace stemmed from. Glad I wasn't the only one :)

In some ways, the film reminded me of Kyon Ki earlier in the decade (Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor), but the number of twists, not the pace, got me there :)

Sudhir said...

I totally agree with your take on Divya Dutta; she is definitely underrated. I especially loved her role in Veer-Zaara.

Wondering if you know, what was the reasoning for the spelling of the title? Was it intended to be a play on SMS?

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Sudhir: Divya Dutta's been around for so long, it's good to see her finally get more recognition. She did very well in Veer Zaara. I thought she was very good in Aaja Nachle as well. Any actress whose performance stands out in a Madhuri Dixit movie must be good! :)

My guess about the 'U' is as good as yours. Their online marketing efforts seemed to mirror Tashan's. My take is it was indeed intended to be a play on SMS-speak, given it seemed to want to attract the 18-25 demographic more than others.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Hi Bollywood Fan,

I've just read your review, complete with the handy dandy little soundtrack you included (nice touch). :)

You'll probably laugh, but this is yet another film I own and haven't watched yet--I sometimes go on so many Hindi film shopping sprees that I just cannot keep up!

I'm glad you're such a big Kajol fan (Aside:Weren't Kajol and Aamir fantastic in Fanaa? I'm going to have to read your review on that one. Matter of fact, I'll do that after I finish this comment). I just lurrvee her, even if she kind of irritates me in her interviews sometimes. She's Kajol, and I forgive her and would probably call her my fave Bollywood actress(So far). Also agree that she is just gorgeous, especially her ultra-expressive eyes.

Can't wait to see this now! It sounds like, based on your review and comments, that Kajol and Ajay made the film...and since I love Kajol, I'm sure I'll be able to overlook the tiny flaws, as you did.

Have you ever seen The Notebook starring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling? It's one of my all-time favorite Hollywood films. I've heard critics accuse this film of being a copycat of that one, but for some reason, I don't mind if it is. Kajol+The Notebook=Something I Am Bound To Love.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Nida: Thanks for your comments! You have a great to-watch list going (ditto to the shopping sprees, lol)!

I haven't seen too many Kajol interviews (I have seen the one with Aamir you mentioned), and seems like I'm better off staying away. She comes across as decent, sincere, and proud (not arrogant) and that's why I really enjoy watching her movies (it'd be interesting to know your take on her makeup in U Me Aur Hum).

Haven't seen The Notebook, and sounds like I must, so I'll be sure to write when I do. Yes, that's what the accusation against this seems to be, but as you said -- if you liked the film, there's no reason you shouldn't like a remake with Kajol and a few songs here and there.


PS: My thoughts on Fanaa are so basic, I need to re-work it soon. It was a fantastic film. And I agree with your comments on it completely (and even your thoughts -- and a hypothesis -- on the Aamir-Kajol chemistry ;)

Anonymous said...

Love on a cruise? Sounds kind of like Mann. You know I had decided to give this film a pass when it first came out. The music wasn’t that great (though Saiyan is a good song on its own) and the response was lukewarm from critics and at the box office. I remember one flaw they cited were the many off-color jokes in the film, and I thought once again Bollywood has failed to make a movie on serious subject matter by trying to add ‘masala’. But after reading your review, it sounds pretty good. I still haven’t seen Ajay-Kajol together on screen, so I’m curious about their chemistry. How was Ishq (1997)?

I agree that Divya Dutta is very talented and should be given a chance with a lead role. Your remarks on her remind me of the last film I saw her in, Train to Pakistan (1998). I picked up the movie having heard great things about Khushwant Singh’s novel of the same name. The movie was terrible, honestly the worst ‘art house’ film I’ve seen. Divya Dutta wasn’t particularly memorable, but there was a lot worse than her role.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Salek: Yep, love on a cruise is definitely like Mann! Kajol-Ajay weren't quite Manisha-Aamir, but they're very very good nevertheless, and their chemistry very well worth admiring. Especially in the Bollywood of today, and especially among couples in real life.

There were several off-color jokes in the film (one supporting actor in particular was just annoying), and they made an otherwise strong movie look silly. Still, I thought they were easy to overlook -- they didn't seem to interfere much with the plot.

I remember Ishq in 1997 being a fun-filled film (nothing as serious), although I haven't seen it a long time to remember a whole lot.

Thanks for bringing up Train to Pakistan. I'd never heard of it, and find Divya's role interesting, althought it seems I wouldn't be missing much were I to not see it. :)


Anonymous said...

I saw this movie a few weeks back & I liked it. Kajol deserves an award for this role, being a lil biase here cos I truly adore her :P
And I totally agree with your take on Divya. A really talented but a totally under-rated actress. Overall it's a nice, sweet, touching movie. Just didnt quite like any of the songs in the movie though.

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi eMa: Kajol made this movie work, and I thought was the only actor integral to the character portrayed. At the very least, she is going to get award nominations for this, can't see that not happening.

I wished there was more oomph in the songs. They could have been much better.