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Hum Tum

ONE OF those films where you would walk out with a broad smile on your face! Feel good, feel nice and generally feel that it was time well spent. That, one supposes, is bound to happen when Harry met Sally er ... when Hum met Tum, sorry when Karan met Rhea!

Yash Raj film's "Hum Tum," with direction, dialogue and story by Kunal Kohli, is extremely suave and incredibly charming. It does not matter that the storyline has been inspired by one of Hollywood's delightful romantic comedies — the fact is that it has been well Indianised and set in context in a changing world of gender equations. Right from when the credits roll, the tone of the film is set with the protagonist seeing life through his cartoon characters Hum and Tum. Male and female who can neither live with each other nor without. The animations are not crude but cute and sweet without being cloying. Urbane and romantic it is very much like a slice of life.

Karan's mom (Rati Agnihotri) is separated from her hip, fashion photographer husband (Rishi Kapoor) who believes in a bohemian life without too many commitments. Rhea's mom (Kiron Kher) is a savvy but typical Punjabi woman who will protect her girl like a lioness. Karan is the happy-go-lucky guy who flits from girl to girl and hates commitment of any kind , while Rhea is a tad serious about life. They get on each other's nerves, not as you would see in the typical Hindi film style, but more in the intellectual way. At a stopover at Amsterdam, they explore the city together, till in a weak moment Karan kisses her and gets a resounding slap in return. You would think Karan would be fretting and fuming — but no, he just moves on.

Fate brings them together again in Delhi where Karan is back with his mom who is a wedding planner and ropes him in to help her for a designer wedding — which turns out to be Rhea's and Samir's (Abhishek Bachchan in a guest appearance).

Karan then meets Rhea on a train when she tells him she is no longer with her husband. Even if all is not entirely well with the film— a trifle dragging second half and some songs (Jatin Lalit) that are nice by themselves, but which slacken the pace, for instance.

But Saif Ali is amazingly natural as the flirtatious easy going Karan. Rani Mukerjee is self assuredly competent and makes you believe she is Rhea. Kiron Kher is terrific. It is a pleasure to see Rishi Kapoor, albeit rotund and huge as Karan's father. Jimmy Shergill who plays Karan's friend, is the suitably unsure, conventional foil to the effervescent Karan. Just as Rati Agnihotri makes you believe in the harassed single woman trying to balance home and career. The sheer naturalness of the dialogue and situations is what makes "Hum Tum" so nice.

CHITRA MAHESH

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