Mohit Suri has attempted various genres and dealt with different subjects in his decade long career as a director. The one thing that is common in all his films is the fact that a strong emotional undercurrent runs through the narrative. He is a filmmaker who is known to portray emotions effectively. Mahesh Bhatt had given a then 22 year old Suri the responsibility to make a mature love story based on his relationship with actress Parveen Babi. Mohit fulfilled this responsibility by making ‘Woh Lamhe’, a compelling romantic drama starring Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut. ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’, written by Mahesh Bhatt, is inspired from some of the incidents from Bhatt’s step-mother’s life. Mohit is asked to wield the megaphone, again, for a film that seeks inspiration from Mahesh Bhatt’s life.
After the demise of his mother Vasudha (Vidya Balan), Saanjh (Namit Das) sees his father visiting their place. But, instead of paying last respects to his dead wife, Hari (Rajkummar Rao) starts talking ill of her. An enraged Saanjh asks him to leave. After a while, his wife (Madhurita Tuli) informs him that it was a mistake on her part to call Hari home as he has run away with the vessel containing Vasudha’s ashes with him. He leaves a behind a diary for Saanjh. The diary chronicles a part of the lives of Aarav (Emraan Hashmi), Vasudha and Hari. The film moves twenty years back in time where we see Vasudha being forced to marry Hari. Hari turns out to be a violent and abusive man and leaves Vasudha within a year of them getting married. Vasudha starts working as a florist for a hotel in Mumbai owned by Aarav Ruparel. The multi-millionaire Aarav owns as many as 108 hotels but does not own a house. He meets Vasudha while on a visit to the hotel and finds himself drawn towards her. Impressed with Vasudha’s dedication towards her work, Aarav offers her a job in his Dubai based hotel. Soon, Aarav confesses his love for Vasudha. Vasudha turns him down at first but accepts his proposal eventually. She dreams of starting a new life with Aarav and her son. Just when things had started looking bright for her, Hari comes back into her life. Though he is still the same abusive person he used to be, he tells her about the hardships he went through in the last five years he was away from her. Vasudha tells Hari that he should forget as she is in love with another man now. Unfortunately, circumstances drive Aarav and Vasudha apart from each other.
There is nothing subtle about ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’. The film is high on melodrama and is punctuated with heavy duty dialogues at every juncture. While this does result in a few poignant moments, it largely works against the film. There are times when you feel as if the director is trying to force emotions out of situations so that the audience would react to them. There is no surprise in store for the audience and things unfold as you expect them to. A predictable plot can engage you if it is executes deftly by the director. Mohit handles some scenes beautifully and serves the viewers with some poignant moments to relish but he forces too much melodrama in several scenes that ideally needed a subtle touch. There are a few scenes that make you laugh instead of rousing any kind of emotion in you.
To give the credit where it’s due, there are certain sequences that have been shot well. The first half is full of clichés but the crackling chemistry between the lead pair serves as a saving grace. Even though the writer and director do not write scenes that would explore their chemistry to its fullest potential, it is to the credit of the two actors that they bring life to the dullest of scenes. The drama picks up in the second half with Hari’s re-entry. The last twenty minutes of the film register a good impact.
Mohit Suri tries to make the most of the script he has been given to make a film on and manages to help it go a few notches higher than its mediocrity. The one thing he needed to do was tone down the high voltage drama in several scenes. The unnecessarily loud tone of the film dissipates, instead of augmenting, the tension. The screenplay, written by Mahesh Bhatt, is full of clichés and has the kind of drama that seems old-fashioned today. Worse, there are certain sequences that are written with the sole purpose of making the audience teary eyed. Forget making one emotional, these scenes makes one cringe. Yes, there are certain scenes that make an impact but they are overshadowed by the ones that don’t. Shagufta Rafique’s dialogues are corny and cheesy. There are a few memorable lines including the monologue that Vidya Balan delivers towards the end of the film. But, most of the dialogues come across as loud. Mohit Suri’s films are known for their hit scores. The film has two terrific songs in the title track (Jeet Gannguli) and “Humnava” (Mithoon). The inclusion of the number “Zaroori Tha” from Rahat Fateh Ali Khan’s was a masterstroke as it makes a solid impact when it arrives. The background score (Raju Singh) is in sync with the mood of the film. ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’ is one of the best looking films directed by Mohit Suri and the credit, for that, must goes to DOP Vishnu Rao. The bright and vivid shots are appealing to the eyes. The film has a slow pace and the editing (Deven Murdeshwar) could have been better.
Emraan Hashmi delivers his career best performance as a lonely, lovelorn man with a troubled past. He brings out the anguish, forlornness and love of Aarav masterfully and makes you empathize with him throughout the film. Vidya Balan is very good but her character comes across as half baked. She displays a range of emotions but you do not connect to her character as much you should. Rajkummar Rao stays away from the screen for a long time but makes a good impression whenever he is around. Prabal Panjabi has a very likeable presence. Suhasini Mulay makes her presence felt in a five minute role.
‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’ is a film that stirs you emotionally in parts but makes you feel indifferent in the rest of the portions. Mohit Suri is a competent director who handles drama well and transmits emotions onto the screen effectively. Hopefully, the next time around, he will come armed with a better script. The 80s-style melodrama does not work anymore.