When Deepa Sahi decides to make a movie, you expect the intellect that comes across in her acting. Add to that the fact that her husband Ketan Mehta, along with Anup Jalota, both well-known names, are producers, and you have all the right ingredients for a great film.
However, the warning bells should set in about the time that you are told that Tere Mere Phere is a 'romantic comedy'. Indian cinema does not seem to have a grip on the genre, unfortunately, and more and more new directors want to begin their careers with it. Not everybody is an Imtiaz Ali (Jab We Met
), or even a Saket Chaudhary (Pyaar Ke Side Effects
Tere Mere Phere begins with newcomers Sasha Goradia and Jagrat Desai playing a newly-married couple, Pooja and Rahul. They live out their dream of a perfect honeymoon by driving through the Himalayas in a trailer, and life seems perfect. Till familiarity becomes contempt, leading to constant bickering and sudden antagonism towards each other. You wonder why they did not sort out their issues before they got married, but then, that is what the hook of the movie is.
Enter Jai (Vinay Pathak), a small-town man from Himachal Pradesh. He is looking forward to marrying the love of his life, small-town girl Muskaan (Riya Sen). And then he meets the warring Pooja and Rahul, and is soon fed up of their quarrels. Since he is stuck with them, he soon develops some serious doubts about getting married. Muskaan, however, is not going to let go so easily.
The story is weak, to begin with. Jai may be in a hurry to meet Muskaan, given that she is marrying somebody else, but what keeps him from hitching a ride with somebody else? If the story is all about Jai and his journey, then why on earth should he, or the audience, be subjected to screeching and gesticulating that becomes more and more exaggerated with time?
Vinay Pathak is one of the best comic actors that this industry has had the privilege of casting - of that there is no doubt. However, he will soon lose credibility if he agrees to unfunny slapstick comedies, since that is what Tere Mere Phere is. He looks positively bored at times, and most of his humour falls flat. That, of course, is more the fault of the director and the writer than the actor's, but he could have delivered his lines more effectively.
The biggest boo-boo is casting Riya Sen as a small-town girl. The poor girl is not talented enough to pull it off, nor can she get rid of her very urban, Western accent. She looks pretty, though.
Sasha and Jagrat (who is also the co-writer along with Deepa Sahi) could not have asked for a worse debut. They overact throughout, although some of their lines are genuinely funny. What is missing is comic timing, amongst all the characters, and this out-of-sync interaction makes the film almost unbearable.
The only reason to watch Tere Mere Phere is to sit through the visuals of Himachal Pradesh. Some of the shots are breathtaking, and all credit goes to the cinematographer Christo Bakalob, who must have switched off from the nonsense and concentrated on the landscape. Production design is nothing much to write home about.
Watch Tere Mere Phere only if you are a die-hard Vinay Pathak fan, or if you are a closet masochist who can sit through a torturous attempt to prove exactly why the phrase 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' exists.