Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tum Milo Toh Sahi

Director: Kabir Sadanand
Starring: Nana Patekar, Dimple Kapadia, Suneil Shetty, Vidya Malvade, Anjana Sukhani and Rehan Khan
Rating: **1/2

Tum Milo Toh Sahi follows the by now familiar pattern where many separate stories collide into each other. Like the recent English film Valentine’s Day, this one has couples from different age groups, dealing with one issue or the other. And much like V-Day, this Kabir Sadanand directed film too has no fresh insights to offer on love and for most part, there is an acute sense of deja vu in at least two of the three stories.

If there’s anything worth watching here, it is Nana Patekar in the role of the diligent, no-nonsense South Indian man who lives with memories of his dead mother. It is his part alone that adds some gravitas and poignancy to an otherwise average film.

The first 15 minutes chaotically introduce you to the different players. Dimple Kapadia as the middle-aged Dilshad Nanji is a kindly, loud Irani Cafe owner. The character is clearly a take off from her Saagar act, where she yells all the time to get things done. While shopping at a supermarket, she meets the stand-offish Subramanium (Nana Patekar). Though initially annoyed at his curtness, she is amused by him as well. How ‘Subbu’ — as Dilshad refers to him — loosens up and falls in love, is what their story is about.

The second couple, Amit and Anita (Suniel Shetty and Vidya Malavde) are facing a bit of marital discord. The husband can’t stop thinking beyond work, and the wife can’t stop complaining about it. In all this, Amit promises his boss that he would use his wife’s friendsip with Dilshad to get the latter to sell her Cafe. The company is interested in acquiring prime locations and starting their own chain of cafes. Trouble begins when Dilshad refuses.
The third story is a juvenile college romance between Shalini and Bikram (Anjana Sukhani and Rehan Khan), who stir up public support for the Cafe, citing it as a heritage site.

Obviously, the only story that holds your attention is the Nana Patekar-Dimple one.
It’s not like Nana has not played a brusque and aloof man before, but here he wonderfully internalises his character, getting many of the nuances right. Yes, his Tamil accent is not always on the mark, but his is an earnest, heart-felt and restrained performance. Dimple, as the sociable Parsi aunty, is a good foil to the reclusive Nana. She does tend to go over-the-top in many scenes, but she also manages to bring out the character’s helplessness well.

The other actors don’t stand out much, but that’s because their stories have nothing new to offer. The Anjana Sukhani-Rehan Khan track — with singer Raghav Sachar thrown into the mix as well — is especially plodding and a needless distraction. Suniel Shetty and Vidya Malavde are not bad, but again, the writing here is quite sub par. Suniel is the CEO of his company, but his boss keeps making veiled threats at him that the former would lose his job if he failed to acquire the Cafe. Over one case? He goes on to say further that Suniel has his monthly installments to think of and so on! Again, all Vidya is required to do is express anger and dismay at all her husband’s actions — at all times.

Director Kabir Sadanand manages to make some of the parts involving Nana engaging. There’s also the admirable intent of drawing attention to the need to preserve the identity of many of our cities, by protecting and maintaining its old structures and sites. Sadanand would have done better to cut out the teenage love story completely, and add some more meat to the other two.

All in all, there’s not much to dislike in Tum Milo Toh Sahi, but there’s very little to rave about it as well.


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