From the 1960s to the 1990s, the Mills & Boon publishers loved to rehash certain kinds of love stories. One of these more popular plots revolved around women willingly pretending to be a man's make-believe girlfriend/lover/wife for some reason or the other. And then, inevitably, the woman falls in love with the man.
All that changed with the turn of the century, when women began to call the shots. Tanveer Khan, however, decided to revisit the golden days when women had no self-respect, and incorporate that aspect into his rather amateur screenplay.
In Miley Naa Miley Hum, Anishka (Kangna Ranaut) is a struggling model who has a problem exposing too much skin in a soap ad but agrees almost instantly to play the role of pretend-girlfriend to Chirag (Chirag Paswan) for 20 days (compressed into one song and a couple of scenes). Of course, Chirag has a reason - the done-to-death-warring-and-separated-parents, who have chosen two different young girls to be the bahu of the house.
Siddharth Mehra (Kabir Bedi) and Shalini (Poonam Dhillon) lead separate lives and businesses. Their son Chirag has always had to shuttle between the parents. Chirag wants to reconcile his parents, but meanwhile, he wants to be a tennis champion, although one is never sure which tournament he aims to excel in.
His mother hates the sport, because her husband used to give it priority when he was a player. So the young man with the consistent (designer?) stubble sneaks out to practise when he lives with his mother.
Will Anishka and Chirag fall in love? Will his parents get back together? Will he win the tournament? You already know the answers to all of the above, but it is the journey that is important, right?
Unfortunately, Tanveer Khan has made such a mess of the genres (romance, family, sports) that not one of them is given its due, thus resulting in chaos as far as the writing and direction are concerned.
At no point does Chirag Paswan make you want to believe that he could have shone had his launch pad been a better one. He is an average actor, far too preoccupied with his awkward body language, bad rhythm and too much jewellery. His effort is sincere, and some professional polish may make him more presentable, but as far as talent is concerned, this is it. Also, his tennis moves are anything but convincing, but then which star actor has ever managed to play a sportsperson credibly?
Kangna Ranaut, whenever on screen, is hardly recognisable behind her bee-stung lips (a surgical after-effect that refuses to go away). She has been given some terrible dialogues (not her fault), but still manages to overshadow the star in the limelight.
Kabir Bedi is a handsome man, even now, and manages to look elegant. Poonam Dhillon, on the other hand, with all that pancake, is not a very convincing mother. She screeches a bit here and there, but does look good in certain sequences.
Neeru Bawja as the rustic Punjabi girl and Sagarika Ghatge as the NRI are commendable in their small roles. They do more than justice to their roles, and it is a pity that they are not considered lead-actor material in Bollywood.
Kunal Kumar as the friend, Dalip Tahil as Kair Bedi's friend, and Suresh Menon as the south-Indian (again!) manager are wasted.
One saving grace for the bad screenplay could have been production design, but that department fails miserably. The costume design is nothing to write home about, but Chirag's clothes are worse than those in a low-budget regional serial. A couple of songs are done well, both visually and in composition.
After last week's disasters, Miley Naa Miley Hum is not completely avoidable, but be prepared for moments of ennui.