by Rakesh Budhu, Planet Bollywood
To be or not to be, that is the question. To be, a Yash Chopra romance, or not to be a poor re-hash of many a Bollywood films. Mujhse Dosti Karoge is both, if at all possible, has its redeeming factors but is most beneficial in providing entertainment. Forgive the poorly compiled first half and you have another great entertainer under the Chopra banner, but the poor first half for which Kunal Kohli shows his first time directorial handicaps brings down the film from that easily acquired status.
The scenario is partially new and much revisited, which at times appears like lifts from Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (the gym) and
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (the cricket field). While those are the predominant physical similarities, the story, filled with romance that we%u2019ve all been accustomed to love, switches paces between innovative and typical. However, to say that people expected anything very unique from the Chopra banner would be ridiculous. At this present time, the banner, which promises entertainment, has always delivered. Whether it is under the same setting, under the same genre, they have given us that important factor which ultimately leaves the last impression on the viewer. Entertainment is important, and that they deliver, in their recent releases, and now in Mujhse Dosti Karoge.
As the title suggests, Mujhse Dosti Karoge is about friendship and love. Understanding the differences and realizes which requires that eternal sacrifice. Taking the story of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai a little further (or trotting where it left off), the film sticks with its main plot of a friendship convoluted with love. Raj (Hrithik Roshan), Tina (Kareena Kapoor) and Pooja (Rani Mukherji) are the three child hood friends. At one point through their childhood, Raj left to London to study. At that point, the loose and carefree Tina explored her talent to acquire many a male friends. But Pooja kept in touch with Raj via emails, however, under Tina%u2019s name. The truth is Raj was infatuated with Tina, and to satisfy him, Pooja continues to act as Tina in the emails for fifteen years.
Raj makes his way back to town for which Pooja asks Tina to pretend as if she has been writing to him. Tina agrees and falls in love with the obsessed Raj. Eventually, the truth must be revealed, and it is, first to Raj, then every one else. In a discrete description, this truth leads to the culmination of the understanding of friends, love and sacrifices one must make.
The first half of the film is quite poorly developed. This is essentially tagging on the film overall and takes away the positive Chopra stamp that most Yash Chopra productions have. In its favor, the second half more than makes up for it with everyone one would expect in a resolution and climax (even though typical and predictable) in a film of this kind. In the first portions most of the relationships are undefined and some dramatic sequences are not given the accurate emotional content. At one point the great friendship that these three once shared is almost oblivious. It is not until pre-intermission that the Chopra stamp arises. The sequences with the bracelet, the book titled %u2018Love Story%u2019 and the amore towards old songs, which is played off with the medley, are all likeable. It almost seems as though Yash Chopra came in for the second half of the film. The only beneficial factor of this is that the second half is the one most memorable to the audience as they walk out the cinema and this should help the film.
Aside from that flavor, the performances from the two main leads carry this film to much greater heights. In combination with their star power, Rani Mukherji and Hrithik Roshan have given one of their great performances of their career. Rani Mukherji displays great emotions in every frame and while she is mostly asked to look torn and hurt, her expressions are very far from fake. She is utmost sincere in her performances and definitely touches the audiences, which is very important in these kind of films. Her mature role is easily comparable to Kajol%u2019s in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.
Hrithik Roshan is more successful in his non-romantic portions. His character has been given dimensions of anger and like in Mission Kashmir and Fiza, Hrithik expresses anger with great talent. In his romantic portions he is great as well.
Kareena Kapoor is the most average of them all but her performance, like the film, improves in the second half. This is most probable because the initial portions seem like they are quite blatantly an extension of Poo (from K3G). Her introduction sequence is quite frankly stupid and tries hard to repeat, %u201CIt%u2019s raining men%u201D. While the Poo skit was highly entertaining in K3G, it doesn%u2019t work in the first half. The emotional portions in the second half and original characteristics fit her and her role much better.
Uday Chopra makes his way in a Salman Khan ala Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but his role doesn%u2019t do much to the narrative but help the story minimally. He does a convincing job and it appears comedy suits him better.
The cinematography and camerawork is eye catching barring the ever so familiar portions. The scenes shot in London are riveting and do the film some well, but still, again of Chopra nature. The music itself by Rahul Sharma is made for Yash Chopra, no ifs ands or buts about it. The best being the theme song, %u201CJaane Dil Mein Kabse%u201D, and the most sad part being that the most experimental tune is the stupid, %u201COh My Darling%u201D.
The songs lose their impact, again in the first half, because they appear too frequently. The shoddy camerawork for the title track is also mind boggling, in a negative manner. Otherwise picturizations and music are complimentary to the film. Choreography, non-existing for the most part, is pretty lame, especially in %u201COh My Darling%u201D. The best portion, probably of the film, and song is the medley. A key part of the film, each song is essential in describing the progressiveness of Raj and Pooja%u2019s relationship. The picturizations is beautiful and highly enjoyable.
Directorially, Kunal Kohli probably had intentions of creating a typical first film under the Yash Chopra banner ensuring it would be a success. While that remains to be seen, he is far from Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar mainly because of the poor first half. Establishing a long chain of continuous emotions is quite essential. Again, the first half has some sequences, which pale in comparison to the many in the second. Throwing in the clich%uFFFDd picnic sequence (title song) and the medley, which works in the film%u2019s favor, becomes very draining and redundant. The only beneficial thing is that the film moves at a fast pace (and even finishes in equally fast fashion).
Hrithik Roshan may constantly be bashed by the media, and in some sense rightfully so. Yet, Mujhse Dosti Karoge is far better than the overly boring and poorly made Yaadein and Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage. There is a lot more emotion and many more things to enjoy in this film. Hrithik and Rani share evident chemistry and make Mujhse Dosti Karoge a definite decent watch.
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