Film Review: Milenge Milenge

Directed by: Satish Kaushik

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Kirron Kher

I’m concerned. For the second week in a row, I have not felt the urgency to rush to the cinema to go and see the latest release. With My Name Is Khan, my world would have crumbled if I hadn’t got into a preview screening (hey, watching all these films makes me dramatic by osmosis!). With Raajneeti, I had to go in the opening weekend. For Raavan, I went to the first day, first show on my birthday (yup, I love films more than life itself).

But after I Hate Luv Storys (not how I would spell it), I was not too keen on seeing Milenge Milenge. Despite the presence of Shahid and Kareena, and Satish Kaushik directing, it was still an ordeal to pull myself together and get myself to the early bird screening. As I walked into the cinema, I saw my lack of enthusiasm mirrored in the faces of the five other people who had come to see the film (obviously hardcore fans – we were now in this together) and as I watched The A-Team trailer for the umpteenth time, I tried to remain positive, unable to shake off the feeling of dread that this was going to be an awful film…

To be fair, Milenge Milenge is a product of its time. Had this film been released back a few years ago (certainly before Jab We Met), it would without doubt have been better received and would have stood a realistic chance of doing quite well at the box office. Unfortunately, the film feels out of date and out of synch with modern tastes and worse still, is coming on the back of a successful film (I Hate Luv Storys) that has declared this style of film to be passé to the very market that would patronise MM.

There is alarming lack of characterisation and finesse in MM – Immy’s character changes tracks in a heartbeat and the second half relies on the audience buying this change of motive wholeheartedly. Worse still is Priya’s character who seems to be from another planet – writing all her thoughts in a diary (but she doesn’t notice it goes missing) and incredibly naïve, following a tarot card reader’s advice to the tee and taking Immy’s lines without question. The one thing that gave me false hope is when Priya tells the tarot card reader that she is not interested in a career but would rather be a homemaker. I thought this was quite interesting and could have been a unique premise, especially as Hindi films don’t explore this angle without showing the heroine to be a wet lettuce who is not a believable person and does not connect with viewers. Had the film delved deeper into this vein or used this as a sub plot, it would have given the film a much needed core and would even have given the film a longer shelf life.

I wasn’t too keen on the music, with only two tracks sounding bearable (though I can’t stand Himesh Reshammiya as a rule) and despite a few fast forwarded montages and aerial camera shots, MM really does have a Sirf Tum hangover. All is not entirely lost – it feels strange but exciting to see Shahid and Kareena on screen together after such a long time, and there is an added dimension in the fact that they are not a real life couple anymore  – much like Mr and Mrs Smith with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, there is a voyeuristic element as we watch them romance on screen. Their on-screen jodi also takes the viewer back a few years, to the kind of films that were the norm and shows how Hindi cinema is developing, even over a short space of time.

Usually, I would comment on the styling of the film but alarmingly, words fail me for the atrocity committed to Kareena’s hair in the first half (crimped, then blonde – WTF) and I was also concerned with Shahid’s wardrobe too. Salvation came in form of Kareena in the candy pink wedding dress where she looked absolutely stunning and belongs to that elite group of heroines who rock a shaadi ka jodha with elaan (see also 3 Idiots and Ajnabee for examples – other gorgeous brides for me are Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu who seem to bring that extra to the table when decked out in Indian wedding gear).

Performance wise, Shahid and Kareena are wasted, especially since they have both gone on to achieve career best accomplishments in the interim of making MM and its release. Shahid attacks the role with enthusiasm and an earnestness that is hard to fault and he clearly does everything he has been asked to do. Unfortunately, there is nothing of substance here and there is no scope for a memorable scene – I even found the comedy track irritating after a while. Similarly, Kareena is 100% committed to the role and plays Priya with such innocence, I wondered if she was being held to ransom or maybe the role narrated to her was different to what was shown. The chemistry between the two is electric and really makes some scenes feel above average (though ultimately, a poor script lets everyone down). The real winners are Satish Kaushik in a cameo as a bookseller and Kirron Kher as the tarot reader who steal the scenes they are in, bringing an extra dimension to roles which aren’t meant to have any.

Had this been a Hollywood film, I suspect it would have been buried as a straight to DVD release or put on television straight away. I really wish that Boney Kapoor had done that as I think this film is better viewed on DVD or television and would have attracted a more sympathetic audience and be better received than the reception it is most likely to receive. Worse still, this film did not shake me out of my comatose attitude to seeing a new release, which means the film has ultimately failed for me. This is a real shame as everything was there for MM to be a good film and do well but does not even merit a time pass status. The only positive I take is that I do not have to watch Serendipity which the film is said to be similar to. But otherwise, unless you are a hardcore Shahid-Kareena fan, this is strictly a home viewing film, and instead, I would suggest rewatching Jab We Met or even the hugely underrated Sirf Tum (that MM has shades of and is far inferior to).

Final verdict on Milenge Milenge? As Kareena says in Main Aur Mrs Khanna – not happening!

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