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Friday, 1 March 2013

Movie review: I, Me Aur Main

Movie review: I, Me Aur MainCast:John Abraham, Chitrangda Singh and Prachi Desai
Director: Kapil Sharma

SPOILERS AHEAD

A rom-com about a self-obsessed music producer who loves himself too much to notice that life might be passing him by is anything but oven-fresh. But in the larger context of popular Hindi cinema, a love story that does not culminate in a big fat Indian wedding is certainly a novelty.

Debutant director Kapil Sharma constructs a narrative that, superficially, appears far more interesting than it actually is. Nobody in the film gets exactly what he or she really wants and yet everybody goes home happy.

Unfortunately, the audience doesn’t because I, Me Aur Main is a rather listless drama about grown-ups who still have much growing up to do. Eventually it amounts to much ado about nothing.

The primary problem with the film is that the male protagonist is an outright cheapskate surrounded by at least half a dozen women who deserve much better than this twerp.

He is a thoroughly unlikable bundle of contradictions who is commitment-phobic and self-centered and shies away, despite several protestations to the contrary, from taking his live-in partner to his mom in Pune and talk about marriage until it is too late.

But when push comes to shove, all that the man needs is a gentle verbal nudge from his over-protective mother to see where exactly he is going wrong. The climactic course correction is all very contrived and cutesy to be convincing.

I, Me Aur Main is about a music company executive, Ishaan Sabharwal (John Abraham), who lives in the apartment of his well-to-do girlfriend Anushka (Chitrangada Singh) but refuses to share either the workload or the expenses of the household.

When the milkman is at the door – the lady’s name is emblazoned on it – he refuses pay up because, as he unabashedly insists, he “does not drink milk and even has black coffee”.

Ishaan is the sort of guy who, when his girl says that she loves him, responds with “I love me too”.

It definitely can’t be easy having a man like him around, so one wonders why the woman takes three years to decide that she has had enough of him.

When he is down, Ishaan stands before a mirror, pretends to be a boxer facing an imaginary punching bag, and mutters: “I am the best, I am the best.” That certainly isn’t the greatest way to confront life.

He is finally unceremoniously locked out of the house by an exasperated Anushka when he stumbles back home after a late night binge.

Ishaan’s mother (Zarina Wahab) lands up in his new pad to guide him through the low phase.

He also begins to receive the amorous attention of a chirpy fashion stylist-neighbour (Prachi Desai). She describes herself as a “part-time electrician”. The sparks do fly and a love triangle ensues. Ishaan is caught in a tangle of his own making.

It takes the efforts of four women – the mother, a sister (Mini Mathur in her first big screen appearance) who happens to be his estranged beloved’s confidante, and of course the two contenders for his love – to bail him out of the corner he paints himself into.

Part of the film also meanders through a maze of limpid music industry rivalries involving a boss – another lady (Raima Sen) determined to put the cocky man in his place – and a couple of new female singers who are looking for the big break. That’s a pretext for a couple of musical numbers.

But like the rest of the film, the songs barely pass muster.

The performances are, however, generally earnest and manage to attain an even quality. John Abraham, hot but not always happening, wisely stays firmly within his limits.

The high point of the star turn is when he takes off his shirt to jump into a swimming pool and Prachi Desai intones: “Wow, striptease!”

Chitrangada strikes the right notes for the most part and Prachi Desai lends a bubbly energy to a few of the scenes. Both Zarina Wahab and Mini Mathur bring a touch of warmth to bear upon an otherwise hopelessly soggy film.

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