Directed by: Kunal Kohli
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
Comparing the way society deals with relationships in the present and the past in film may seem a relatively simple concept to execute but in reality, is fraught with hidden danger, not only trying to satisfy an audience with a range of viewpoints but also what the film itself is trying to say. And therein lies my problem with Teri Meri Kahaani (TMK)- when the end credits rolled and we were shown Kohli’s utopian 1960’s Bombay filmed against a green screen (which is glaringly obvious in the final print so why explain it at the end? Oh that’s right, what does the viewer know about anything? Silly me.), I had no idea what TMK had to say on the subject – were love and relationships easier in 1910 or 1960? Or are we better off in a technology dominated 2012?
It is almost as if TMK is afraid to offer its opinion which is where the whole film falls apart as if the film has nothing to say, why watch it? The film’s greatest strength and most interesting strand is the story of Krish and Radha in England in 2012. It is clearly evident that Kohli knows these characters inside out and has a take on modern relationships that is entertaining and most importantly unique. Furthermore, for me at least, this is the part of the film that absorbed me the most, with witty dialogue, good use of technology and peppy music. If TMK as a whole had been framed around 2012 or had given us more 2012, we would have had a better and stronger film here.
The biggest crime is the waste of chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Quite simply, the two sizzle on screen and faithfully perform as directed. Yet at times, I was in disbelief that these were the two actors who did such a stellar job in Kaminey, as they are not even at 40% capacity here. To be fair, I thought Priyanka was better than Shahid who desperately needs to change things up in my opinion – TMK is commercial Shahid all the way (wrinkling his nose, delivering dialogue in a sing-song voice and body rolling) whilst the Shahid the actor is kept firmly off set, nowhere to be seen. Priyanka is very good in the 1910 segment showing spirit and strength. As Radha in 2012, it is evident that Priyanka understands the character and really does get into the swing of things. I was also impressed by Prachi Desai who I felt had played a similar role in Once Upon A Time In Mumbai (yes,that was a different era, I know, calm down) but pitched her role correctly so that we do feel sorry for her and want to know what happens to her after the film ends.
It is a real shame that TMK gets itself into a muddle – a film like Love Aaj Kal covered the same ground in way that was far more eloquent than TMK and made the connection to the present day crystal clear. It is not as if Kohli doesn’t know how to do this – Hum Tum has so many thematic similarities with TMK that had TMK been a Hum Tum for today’s generation (which is what I felt the 2012 part could have been), TMK would have realised its premise fully. I also felt presenting 1910 and 1960 in the most cliched way did not help – if anything, I was more annoyed than amused by the wastage. TMK really is one to watch on DVD or telecast – ignore the 1960’s, watch 2012 and the songs and then wonder at what this film could have been – a story for me and you…