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U Me Aur Hum Review

U Me Aur Hum
Samrat Sharma /
Can watch again
Good for kids
Good for dates
Wait to rent it
Wow, I had this insanely bizarre day today. First, I have to skip lunch to finish work and then hitch an auto in the heat to the cinema hall. The movie begins late because the previous show, Bhale Dongalu, doesn't end in time. Which means the projectionist starts U, Me Aur Hum immediately after, and there is a small stampede reaching the seats, during which I hurt my elbow a little. Then the seats are in the corner, so my viewing angle isn't that great...

Are you bored yet? Because if not, I highly recommend you go watch Ajay Devgan's directorial debut. But if you were even half as bored with the soliloquy as I was writing it, you will understand my pain. For the film, as good as it could have been, is weighed down by the endless soliloquies and the boring banter between people. No, it's not a talky-talky movie like Before Sunset. It's just very painfully paced.

Devgan's understanding of pacing and structure is raw yet, and that makes a film that could have been enjoyable, suffer. The first half in its entirety is an implausible and completely routine courtship. Ajay (Devgan) falls in love (no, really) with a waitress on a cruise the moment he lays eyes on her. Piya (Kajol), the girl in question, detests the advances of a drunk dude, but falls for him after he reads her diary and says all the right things.

Predictably enough, she leaves him when he confesses, but comes back in an inspired bit of narrative flip-flop. They get married, and then the trouble begins. This, and the shenanigans of their friends, the married and bickering Nikhil and Reena (Raghavan and Dutta), and the unmarried happy couple Vicky and Natasha (Khanna and Sharwani), take up the entire first half. It is slow, meandering, and entirely too self-obsessed to notice, but the film takes a solid hour and a half to get to the point.

The point then, is this - Piya has Alzheimer's. She forgets things routinely, and alarmingly, and their love and marriage must go through her sickness and emerge victorious. Smartly enough, the film is not about Alzheimer's and how horrible the disease (and the plight of the people suffering from it) is. The disease is just a peg on which Devgan hangs his love story, one that spans diverse emotions and character journeys.

This is also the strongest part of the film: the second half, despite some hiccups, works very well. The emotional journey and the cycle of horror, shame, guilt and redemption that Ajay goes through while his wife tries hard to cope is brilliantly executed. Devgan has a sure hand while directing underplayed emotional frustrations, and the cast supports him ably. The friends-as-family urban truth is visited often, and used very well in a film that uses its topicality to its hilt.

Devgan's directorial skills have a long way to go yet, however. The scenes are all shot with a whole lot of screen-time wasted. Frugality is something the man must learn lest he fall into Gowariker territory. He enters a scene way too early and leaves too late, with many pauses in between. It's not a lingering film like a Terence Malick project; instead, the beats serve as time-holes in the script, giving time to your audience to break from the suspension of disbelief.

While on the topic, the script is absolutely balderdash. Don't get me wrong - despite the shades of 50 First Dates and Away From Her in the script, the script rises above that to be an original effort. I am thinking the non-original bits come from Robin Bhatt, one of the three writers credited with the film. What the script lacks is strong dialog to keep the film flowing. The shayari-afflicted writing is painful to hear in the first half, and meanders with no end in sight in the second.

What keeps the film afloat during those groan-inflicting scenes is Kajol. The actress shows why she is still the top cat around these parts, handling her role with nuances not yet seen from her. The first half is a breezy romance, something she has down pat, so the smile returns and we are all happy. It is in the second half that she pushes the limits of her range and plays someone losing her memory and her mind with surprising pathos and understatement.

This is Devgan's strength as a director, too, as he draws a uniform and restrained performance from the rest of the cast to support Kajol's crackerjack stuff. What Devgan lacks in pacing and consistency, he makes up for in emotional depth and communication. Despite mainstream accoutrements like - heavens save us - a shaadi song, the film comes across as a sincere effort from him. Too bad it's not as strong last year's directorial debut from an actor.

U, Me Aur Hum is far from perfect, yet flawed as it is, I can recommend this to anyone who can sit through some painful dialog and a truly inconsequential first half. Before you venture out to see it, however, remember to stock up on water. Expect to gag a lot.
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U Me Aur Hum (hindi) reviews
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  • Cast
    Ajay Devgan, Kajol, Karan Khanna, Isha Sharwani, Sumeet Raghavan, Divya Dutta, Sachin Khedekar, Aumckar, Prathmesh Mehta, Robin Bhatt, Anita Wahi, Adhir Bhatt, Aditya Rajput, Hazel Croney
  • Music
    Vishal Bharadwaj
  • Director
    Ajay Devgan
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
Can watch again - Yes
Good for kids - Yes
Good for dates - Yes
Wait to rent it - No
shades of grey on 6th Jul 2008, 5:50pm | Permalink
I just watched this film and I have to say I was completely bored by the first half of it. I can’t make comparisons with ‘The Notebook’ as I haven’t had the time to see it yet. I wouldn’t be surprised however, if U Me Aur Hum was a blatant copy of it. The first half of the film was so clichéd and uninteresting for me. There were very few scenes in the second half of the film of which I found mildly appealing. But the whole film just dragged! I found myself daydreaming throughout a lot of it. I guess it’s just harder for Hindi films to capture my attention. I don’t even want to talk about Tamil films… (they’re a whole different story)…
Araj on 5th Jul 2008, 12:50am | Permalink
Araj on 5th Jul 2008, 12:29am | Permalink
Krishna on 20th Apr 2008, 9:53pm | Permalink
I liked this film. My wife simply LOVED it and wants to watch it again. Hey Tsk Tsk, your comments were pretty cool :-)

Pros: Cinematography
Cons: Pace
Mithu Hiranand on 17th Apr 2008, 10:36pm | Permalink
Learn Salsa so soon!!!!!!!!!!
Alziemher patients (can be treated) or why was she in the care centre?
And she remembered everything after 25 years........too many promises!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tsk Tsk on 15th Apr 2008, 5:37pm | Permalink
@Die Hard-5: The Notebook itself is a copy - of the book. Like Motorcycle Diaries was - of the book (referring to your comments on Gamyam). The point being - all "plagiarism" is not evil. It occasionally adds to extend the beauty of the original to a wider audience.

As an aside, your comments about Hollywood filmmakers being “victims” really cracked me up - I needed a laugh like that - thanks! Poor millionaire bastards - they toil blood, sweat and tears to grab hold of a book and make it into an “original” movie, and some guy copies their “original” script – criminal!

Though I cannot comment in as fancy a language, I must say that Indian Cinema is in the pink of its health. Indian Cinema has never been better or bigger – for every Om Shanti Om we’ve had a Bheja Fry – both doing as well as they ought to have.

If at all, its Hollywood that’s lacking “originality” – Pirates, Lords, Narnias, Spidermans, Iron Mans, Stephen Kings – do you have anything that’s not a book? Yes sir we do – Die Hard 4, Re-Rambo, Re-Rocky, Re-Indiana Jones, Re…

Originality is rare – everywhere –India or not.
Sandesh B on 15th Apr 2008, 5:25pm | Permalink
I saw notebook ..I don't think it's lifted man ..
Die Hard-5 on 13th Apr 2008, 11:54pm | Permalink
Buddy, it's a crude lift of Nick Cassevetes's The Notebook. Read it's review at Another shameful and impudent robbery by Bollywood. The humongous plagiarism taking place in Bollywood at present assumed a very severely contagious form of the most unscrupulous and unchecked art piracy and I feel it is high time the French/Korean/Chinese/Hollywood writer/director/producer victims are notified of the millions that are being milked out of the ‘free remakes’ of their originals at a ‘certain part of the world’ behind their backs. A special international court at UN to prosecute these thankless art burglars wouldn’t be out of place. I fail to understand for the life of me, whether this type of rampant forgery is just a preliminary part of a bigger artistic evolution taking place in Indian movie industry or a hideous mutant natural sequence of movie-making that has stubbornly entrenched itself in odious cultural hypocrisy, unrepentant indulgence in repulsive lyricism and blatant intellectual inertia for time immemorial. If we ever can see the light at the end of this long dark rancid tunnel called ‘Indian Cinema’, I certainly consider it a miracle.

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