Friday, November 13, 2009

Review: Tum Mile

Where's the flow!

Starring: Emraan Hashmi, Soha Ali Khan
Director: Kunal Deshmukh
Rating: **

Mixing of genres can often be tricky, because there's always a chance of the story seeming disjointed. In Tum Mile, while the Mumbai '05 floods add some curiosity value to the film -- which is otherwise an out an out love story -- there is no natural intermingling of these two genres. It could have been any crisis at any place in which these two lovers meet after a period of estrangement and it wouldn't have made a difference. This lack of resonance is one of the reasons why the film doesn't really work as a love story-cum thriller.
Also, unlike Mumbai Meri Jaan, where the sense of pervading dread comes across effectively, partly due to the universality of the subject and the handling of it, in Tum Mile the connection with the city is weak -- as the floods can easily be viewed as an isolated crisis.

Kunal Deshmukh intercuts between the past and the present, trying to balance between the two genres from the very first scene. The weather department in Mumbai gets the signal of the impending crisis but takes it casually. The film then cuts to Emraan Hashmi who is flying to Mumbai and notices his ex flame Soha sitting in a seat nearby in the plane. Through numerous flashbacks, you are acquainted with their past lives. The back and forth lends the film a much-needed sense of urgency, and Tum Mile stays pretty much on course (or at least mildly engaging) till the last 35-40 minutes, when it goes awry.

In Cape Town, Akshay (Emraan Hashmi) is an aspiring painter, where he meets the bold, rich and independent Sanjana (Soha Ali Khan). The two get drawn to each other, in spite of the difference in their economic status. Gradually, they start living together and the couple seem perfectly happy, until Akshay starts becoming conscious of living off his girlfriend. There is a final break-up when one of them wants to move to Sydney. This of course is the flashback, that is intercepted with them meeting again after six years on the fateful day of the Mumbai floods.

All through the film one is never unduly concerned about the floods (the water doesn't even look that natural). Where one is indeed invested in is the love story, which Deshmukh tackles quite well, peeling the layers slowly and gently with compassion. On the face of it, there is nothing terribly fresh in the portrayal of the slow breakdown of a relationship. We've seen that in many films, and yet, Tum Mile stands out for its contemporary and realistic treatment of the complexes and dilemmas faced by couples today. It's refreshing to see people in the film talking and behaving like one encounters in everyday life.

As much as the love story is languorous, Deshmukh hurries through the last 30 minutes. It's not convincing why the couple had to separate earlier. Also, many of the flood scenes are reminiscent of what one saw in Titanic with water gushing through the walls -- even as the couple searches for keys in neck-deep water. Deshmukh tries his best to infuse gravitas to the flood situation - Emraan's friend gets electrocuted due to a short circuit! But save for one scene, where Soha gets trapped in her car, there is no real dread you feel as a viewer.
The music of the film is hummable, but it is also too generic. This film could have truly benefitted with a superior soundtrack and background score, given that the story strives hard to evoke nostalgia. Also, the dialogues - which are generally the high point in Bhatt films - are surprisingly commonplace and lame in this one

Yet, if the film is a decent one time watch, it is thanks to the credible performances. Soha gets a very meaty part and she does justice to it, making her character very believable. Emraan continues to play the hassled guy, so not much freshness there. In fact, his act looks repetitive.

Deshmukh has today's sensibilities which serves him well in the film. But if Tum Mile doesn't work very well in the end, it is because the mixing of genres leaves the audience with a muddled feeling. Ultimately, the Bhatts too - like rest of Bollywood- seem to be going through a phase of narrative exhaustion.
- Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing else but just a brave attempt by the director

November 13, 2009 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous rooney said...

cool thanks sandy... iavoided this one as though the promos looked good i had instinct that it will be better to go for 2012.. m going for i t today not expecting much in script but some cool special effects.. ;-)

but this one has opened good and m happy for soha.. will catch on dvd..

November 14, 2009 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger bollywooddeewana said...

yes like Rooney looks like i'll wait for this on dvd, stumbled across this blog a few days ago and i'm utterly in love.

November 15, 2009 at 6:31 PM  

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