Hamari Adhuri Kahaani – Movie Review – Incomplete and Imperfect

Have you seen the trailer of Hamari Adhuri Kahani? That should suffice for now, as you’ve already seen the best the movie has to offer. Sometimes the trailers look so promising that when you finally watch the movie, you’ll realize why you should never never judge a film by its trailer.

But would I call it a bad film? No. Most certainly not.

HAK has its heart in the right place and tries to tell a very poignant tale of forlorn love. The emotion is all there, with all its intensity. Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi pour their heart and soul into their roles and I might have just developed a new-found appreciation for Emraan as well.

What the movie gets terribly wrong though, is in the way it tells the story.

I have a big problem with movies that decide to tell rather than show the story. 

Yes, this is an issue that plagues not just books but movies as well. Whatever happened to subtlety? I want movies to give me the chance to unravel the characters and their thoughts by myself, by reading the expressions on their face. I don’t like to be told what I’m supposed to be feeling. With this movie, you never have to think too much. The writers are pretty much like, “Want to know what this character might be feeling inside right now? Let us put that in a dialogue for you!”

Seriously, the number of times I’ve felt that that a dialogue was just over-the-top is astounding.

Why do people talk like they’re characters in an 80’s novel?

I mean, seriously, hadn’t the director thought for one second that this movie was a tad anachronistic? Though I’m just being polite here, it’s more than a “tad”. I mean I can understand one reflective observation once in a while, but when the entire film reeks of “supposedly” poetic dialogue, it’s just too much to handle.

It just feels artificial. Like these people are reading lines from a bad soap opera. And no one in real life speak like that. So the youth will definitely not be able to connect with anything either Vidya or Emraan are uttering. I appreciate the shunning of Hinglish, but does it have to be so gratuitous?

Why so many plot holes? 

I want to see the bound script of this movie, please? If there had been any, that is.

No one can read the story from beginning to end and go, “Wow that’s a real tight screenplay.” Indian movie audience are used to cinematic liberties, but this one just gives it a free hit. A lot of things don’t make sense, for eg. Vasudha’s husband writing down stuff in his diary what he couldn’t possibly have known.

You start to think even for one second, the plot holes begin to stare right back at you.

Weren’t we past cookie-cutter characters yet?

Each one of the characters is typecast. They are not allowed to be complex. So the first thing you hear about Aarav (Emraan) is that he’s the most eligible bachelor in the country. Yea, thanks for spoon-feeding that as well!! Vasudha is the damsel in distress. Who is loyal to the husband she hates. Wow. Powerful stuff. Hari, her husband, is your quintessential misogynist. And the less talked about Saanj, their son, the better.

Looks like I have more problems with the movie than what I’d thought when I’d started this.

Now for the good:

The Music

It’s a given that any Mohit Suri film is gonna have good music. This one’s no exception. The songs and the background score in particular are what salvage this film. Right from the very first frame till the end, the music never leaves hold of you. It sounds pristine, and wonderfully complements the emotions on screen.

Go on, listen to this song once more. You know you love it.

The Performances

Well, credit has to be given where due. Almost all of the characters walk away with their heads high. Vidya Balan again proves why she rules over anyone when it comes to sheer acting prowess. She is relegated to a crying mess in the second half but she shines nevertheless, adding layers to an otherwise poorly written character. The same goes for Emraan Hashmi and Rajkumar Rao. Emraan, in particular, shows amazing restraint. But lays his soul bare wherever required.

The whole romanticism of it all

Flowers being used as metaphors for a woman is nothing new. But I enjoyed the way it was done in this movie. It does get over-the-top in some places, but it serves an important thread. Aarav first sees Vasudha when she’s setting a bouquet of Arum Lily flowers. From then on, he has a new found meaning for those flowers. He sees her in them, and gets comforted at their sight. But how the same flowers also cost him his life has to be seen on screen.

So, there you go. I feel very ambivalent about this movie. It had so much potential and it’s baffling how someone can get something so wrong sometimes. Were the dialogues really written in the 80’s? And no one bothered to modernize them?

All I can say that is that this wasn’t a boring film. Never once did the proceedings drag, never once did I restlessly check the watch. This is an intriguing movie that got mired in the method of making. It’s one of those ‘if only’ movies.

Other things that stood out in the film:

1) Apoorva! This guy rocks. He gets the best lines in the movie and left the audience in splits. Just notice the way he stares at Aarav. This guy genuinely cared about his friend, and was his reality check most of the times. He also says something to Aarav that I completely agree with, “I don’t get you, man. I don’t get you.” 

2) Vasudha’s mangalsutra, and her mannerism of stroking it whenever she fees lost. Or impure.

3) This dialogue. Aarav shows Vasudha a beautiful Japanese garden and asks her why it doesn’t feel complete. She replies back – “This garden is missing fallen leaves and dried up flowers. Because anything that’s too perfect doesn’t feel real. It’s the imperfections that add character to anything.”  Well said.

4) Amala Akkineni’s appearance was a surprise! She plays Aarav’s mom and makes a good job of it too.