Seen this, seen that... all the same
A scene from the film, "Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai", now showing across Delhi.
AAPKO PEHLE BHI KAHIN DEKHA HAI
(At Odeon and other Delhi theatres)
THIS FILM with a mouthful of a title is actually a hand-to-mouth delight. And makes one wonder if it has been made keeping popcorn economics under consideration! As you see this slow moving, often meandering film with many a listless song, there is plenty of opportunity to pamper your taste buds. And chew corn, a steaming cup of coffee ready in your hand. Relax! Cross your hands behind your head, keep your feet apart, wear a smile of contentment. Watch this film at ease. It won't challenge your grey cells. It won't take you down memory lane either. It would merely evoke a few smiles with the old faithful duo of Om Puri and Farida Jalal back to their old tricks. They provide quite a few moments of squeaky clean fun, helped no doubt by some fine one-liners. Seasoned pros, they are natural and affable. Between these smiles, there will be plenty of yawns, stifle them, walk out, buy yourself another coffee. Stay in harness.
Soon enough you will find a Jagjit Singh-Asha Bhonsle ghazal which would keep you interested in the proceedings. "Aesi aankhen nahin dekhin, aesa chehra nahin dekha..." may not be a memorable number but it will help you in remembering Saakshi, that reverentially fragile girl, whose slender frame can surrender to anything stronger than a breeze, whose face can register anything other than love and hate, joy and anguish. And considering she has been on the silver screen in the past, some cinemagoers may just be entitled to say, "Aapko Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai"!
Anubhav Sinha's film comes with a great punchline - "Love is a beautiful feeling... until it happens to your daughter." The film is not as great but it would be unfair to write it off completely. It opens as the tale of a young girl and a not-so-young father. As in many other commercial potboilers, they are based in Canada but retain Indian values. The two share a splendid relationship, they are on the piano together, they play the guitar side-by-side. They run in the fields, they share jokes. And life. Until there arrives Mr Right in the girl's life to send everything horribly wrong! Papa Dear is Papa all right but not so dear anymore. Nor is he always right. Not anymore. There is somebody to share her dreams. And joys.
In a fine departure from the Bollywood tradition, the father gives in before the girl can walk out of his mansion and into the arms of her beau. Yet, there is more. The guy is not as simple as he looks. He is a suspended cop on a mission... . He loves her but loves his duty more. Still interested in this convoluted storyline? Well, never mind, where your interest sags in the story, the side guffaws between Puri and Jalal will keep you smiling. And the fine interplay of emotion between a man learning to let go of his child and the girl doing a fine balancing act between her man and her Dad keeps you interested.
When the director is not keeping the popcorn vending machine in motion, he aims to tug at your heartstrings, feed on your emotions. What is more, he also succeeds. But the fertile patches of success are interspersed with many a barren yard. They make you yearn to get out of the hall, and come back only to watch the seasoned pros, if that were possible.
Sorry, Anubhav, we saw you earlier in "Tum Bin". That product was better. "Aapko Pehle... " would be appreciated by those who do not know what this guy has delivered in the past and what he is capable of.
ZIYA US SALAM
Send this article to Friends by