Synopsis – A story about the man who is confused with his love life finds solace in his birthplace with his childhood love.
My Take – For some film makers in Bollywood it seems making a film is an easy task. Make sure you have a good looking cast, some soulful music & some spell bounding locations to make sure the film looks pretty, well thats it! Forget the story, forget an engaging screenplay & make a joke of out of the profession called directing. The wife of T-Series honcho Bhushan Kumar‘s wife Divya Khosla Kumar (she was the lead actress in the forgettable Amitabh Bachchan–Akshay Kumar film Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Satiyo) is one such film maker. After making her so called directorial debut with the 2014 supposedly youth centric idiotic film Yaariyan, which for some reason was a hit at the Box Office, decides to use the same formula with a better looking cast, better music & more visual jaw dropping locations to make her second film which makes Yaariyan seem worthy enough to be an Oscar contender. Yes! This is film is that bad! And guess what this film is even a bigger success! When will the audience learn? This film can cause severe mental fatigue and depression. Keep a one-arm distance from it can shield you from witnessing director Divya Khosla Kumar’s vehicle of self-aggrandizement. In the first five minutes, she forces herself on us by dancing to a sizzle-less item number and soon after busies herself to misdirect this 130 min long ordeal. We meet an old man reeking of dementia, asking boulders and street dogs to smile so he can click a picture. It suffices to say that this is Rishi Kapoor’s most embarrassing outing after Besharam. I read this in a review online & believe me however disturbing as it may sound this film is actually yet another candy-floss, rose-tinted Bollywood interpretation of Riverdale and its most famous love triangle. Pulkit Samrat plays Archie, Yami Gautam is Betty, and Urvashi Rautela embodies the Indian idea of Veronica. Its no wonder Urvashi‘s next film is Great Grand Masti.
The story follows Akash (Pulkit Samrat) & Shruti (Yami Gautam) who meet as children in the small snowy city of Tanakpur, and instantly fall in love, but as per a prediction by Akash’s grandfather (Rishi Kapoor), they will be together forever but will never be a couple. In order to pursue a better life in the city Akash leaves Shruthi on the prom night without informing her. A couple of years later Akash is still struggling in the city life while working for a tyrant boss (Manoj Joshi), in order to receive his well deserved promotion he must convince the company’s former business partner Mr Pablo’s ex wife Aakanksha (Urvashi Rautela) to hand him over the contract by making her fall in love with him (of course Bollywood). He flies down to a creepy unorthodox camp in Alberta, Canada. In a twist of fate Aakanksha turns out to be a child hood buddy & guess what Shruti is at this camp too for no reason. Leading to an eminently disposable love triangle which for most of its run time doesn’t make sense at all. The movie is a tackily made potpourri of cliched scenes, boring melodrama, repetitive scenes (the 500 steps scene is one hell of a sleeping tablet) and inexplicable character arcs, that’s gorgeous to look at but empty within. For a love story, it neither lets us sympathize with the characters and their predicament, thanks to a badly written script. Akash is an a-hole of a character, who ditches his girl friend for better prospects, then ditches the girl he just seduced for a contract (because hot divorcees are meant to be ditched and this film is directed by a woman!) for the previous girl and then again leaves that girl because she is dying. Yes, that’s the hero of this film. Five minutes into the film, and we see the director gyrating to a badly choreographed song, replete with fake shark fins and a fake Yo Yo Honey Singh as well. In fact all the songs are badly choreographed. The films lifts up several plot lines right from DDLJ, Kal Ho Naa Ho, Serendipity, and for some reason Katti Batti as well! The film also tries comedy, but if a usually funny Bharti Singh can’t make you laugh, something definitely went wrong somewhere. Also, the director is not sure in which era to place her film. Akash is seen donning a bad ’70s wig in his teens, but in his adult years, we see someone using whatsapp and Skype. Yet, he doesn’t think of tracing Shruti through a simple tool they call Facebook. Shruti is a weird heroine as well, one moment she romances Akash, despite he being with another girl, and the next moment, she leaves him so that fate could reunite them. What? Patchy editing means we are frequently jolted by a change of location from Mumbai to Canada, to Ladakh with some forgettable music as baggage. But the inane plot twists never cease to amaze!
When will filmmakers realize that inserting little kids to increase the cuteness quotient of their films will not make it the roaring success that Bajrangi Bhaijaan was. For that you need some lucid writing and we are painfully aware of the lack of it in this case. But the unfunny jokes and the seen-it-all story isn’t the problem. The problem lies in the lack of earnestness. The film never hooks you despite a decent effort from its actors. Pulkit Samrat is a talented lad & we have seen that before. Honestly I see why he would sign such a film – a lead role in a romantic film backed by a huge production aka the perfect launch into solo films. With a better script he will do better. Yami’ Shruti is coy, demure and beautiful. Yami has to look pretty and cry a lot in the second half. For an actress who made her mainstream debut with Vicky Donor (a critical & commercial success), its a shame to see her reduced to eye candy. Urvashi‘s character has been written to to look hot (good job at that, girl), wear bikinis and lots of make-up and also pose backless, despite all that she rises to the occasion & manages to do the best with what she is given. It is a shame that Rishi Kapoor is reducing to playing a wisely Dadaji in a cameo. The music from Mithoon, Jeet Ganguly & Amaal Mallik is excellent! For a guy who is not much into Bollywood songs the title song crooned by Arjit Singh has bowled me over. Kudos to Sameer Arya the cinematographer, your the man who has tricked us into watching this film. On the whole, ‘Sanam Re’ is a sad excuse of a yawn-fest film which should not have ever existed. It’s nice that new-age filmmakers still harbor visions of old-school romances and dreamy declarations, but you can’t YRF it up in 2016 without inherent ’90s tech-free simplicity – or without Shahrukhs, Kajols and Madhuris. I hate to say it, but the world just isn’t as black-and-white anymore for these colors to stand out. Grow Up!
Director – Divya Khosla
Rating – PG15
Run Time – 130 minutes