-by Devdutt Nawalkar
Film: “Tum Mile” (2009)
Director: “Kunal Deshmukh”
Actors: “Emraan Hashmi”, “Soha Ali Khan”
Emraan Hashmi is a strange one. He looks like someone who eats Brittania sliced bread and Kissan ketchup for breakfast but his movies manage to hold my ADD-riddled mind’s attention to a fair extent. He’s not a great actor by any stretch of the imagination but there is a certain mystifying quantity about the Serial Kisser that makes it well nigh impossible to hate him. I have seen a few of his movies without uprooting the scant remains of my rapidly denuding scalp, though going by the prolonged detours to the crapper that Bollywood’s been taking of late, that dubious compliment is more flummery than anything else. Regardless, I like Emraan Hashmi because he comes in and does his thing without bullshit histrionics. I put much stock in the mediocrely competent.
Tum Mile is a story of love, ensuing obstacles, and reconciliation, against the overarching backdrop of a natural calamity that I suspect to be the July 26, 2005 flood in Bombay. Directed by Kunal Deshmukh, it stars the delectably bushy-browed Soha Ali Khan and hogger-in-chief of the review opening, Emraan Hashmi, in the lead roles. The movie opens with the Bombay meteorological department forecasting, belatedly of course, a severe storm headed for town (On a tangent, is it just me or does the met dept. seem like it’s being worked out of the back of an Udipi joint?). Cut to an airplane headed for Bombay and we are introduced to our protagonists; Akshay (Hashmi) and Sanjana (Khan), who seem to share an awkward past and spend time exchanging furtive glances and inconsequential nothings. The movie narrates its story in a reverse chronological fashion using frequent cutbacks to the past to explain what’s gone on between the two. Lost, anyone?
Akshay was a struggling artist in Cape Town, South Africa (hurray! Another location sabotaged by Bollywood towards the unholy end of embarassing as many expats as possible) who met and fell in love with rich girl Sanjana. They courted, the dalliance taking up quite a bit of the movie’s time, moved in, and started playing house in fair fashion. Of course, all-conquering Mammon had to poke his green nose in the middle of conjugal bliss. Akshay fell on hard times, unable to whore out his vision and artistic integrity, and generally grew to be an unpleasant grump. To make matters worse, his muse deserted him at the most inopportune of times as well. Lovely, sacrificng Sanjana offered to help him out with her daddy’s money which obviously rankled Akshay something fierce. Their relationship soured over the constant bickering and ego massaging. They subsequently went their seperate ways when opportunity knocked for Akshay in faraway Australia and he, in the manner of all great chauvinists, expected Sanjana to pack up after him and come smother his bread with tomato sauce Down Under.
Cut to the present, which is 6 years after the events in South Africa, and the storm’s got a thing in for Bombay. The two, by happenstance, have some business in the city, and are caught unawares in the maelstrom. Sanjana’s the damsel in distress, and Akshay’s her knight in soaking armour. You get the drift. There’s nothing like a disaster for star-crossed lovers to work out their difference and assume the convivial pose again. There are nods to The Perfect Storm, The Day After Tomorrow, and Titanic – in other words, the holy trinity of cheese. There’s a bit of gratuitous killing too; Akshay’s friend Vivek, with a loving, docile wife back home, is popped off for no good reason. But I’m always up for some senseless deaths so it’s all good.
I hope that you, reader, don’t care that I’ve given out the whole story. Idhar kuch naya nahi hai, aage chalo..
Hashmi is competent without being stellar. Soha Ali Khan is one of the more promising actresses out there. She’s peppy when needed and does the serious bits to the hilt as well. Music’s not exceptional which is a bit of a let down considering that this is a Mahesh Bhatt ripoff..er, production and that his movies usually have a couple of nice tunes.
This isn’t a great movie or anything. I haven’t the slightest idea why I’m even writing this thing. But I will say that my brain’s reasonably unscathed, and that I won’t go to bed with my scalp flaming red. Another factor that may have figured into my benevolence is that I was one of the many trapped out in the city on that fateful day four years ago. I was in a completely strange locale in New Bombay, having joined a new job, and I spent nearly twenty hours bedraggled, trying to hitch my way back home and, in general, fearing for my life. No exaggeration that; there were times when I was inside cars and the water was upto the windshields and there were times when I was wading through chest high garbage. Terrifying and unforgettable.