By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Friday, August 25, 2006
Dharmesh Darshan has, in the past, made films that emphasized on drama. If the discord between a newly-married couple was the core issue in Raja Hindustani, a married woman torn between her husband and lover was the crux of Bewafaa. The one thing that remains a common link in most Dharmesh's movies is conflict.
Now, in his new outing Aap Ki Khatir, Dhamesh changes gears. He attempts a light entertainer this time. For those who're unaware, the ace director takes the inspiration from director Clare Kilner's Hollywood film The Wedding Date [2005; Debra Messing, Dermot Mulroney]. Wait... Besides The Wedding Date, Aap Ki Khatir bears an uncanny resemblance to Hum Aapke Hain Koun as well as Monsoon Wedding.
So, does this fusion turn out to be a delectable affair? Armed with a different theme this time around, you expect Aap Ki Khatir to be a refreshing change from the overdose of melodrama that dominates Dharmesh's films. The best thing about Aap Ki Khatir is, the light moments [in abundance in the first hour] work. But the sad part is, the drama in the second hour doesn't.
Aap Ki Khatir rests on a thin plot. Fine, that can be overlooked. But the director should camouflage the deficiency with an arresting screenplay. The sequence of events should have the power to keep you focused to the screen for the next two hours. Dharmesh establishes the plot well. The 'deal' between Priyanka and Akshaye brings a smile on your face and keeps you in good spirits all through the first half.
Just when you thought that Dharmesh had got it right this time, he throws up in the subsequent reels. In the pre-climax and climax specifically. The last 20 minutes of the enterprise act as a complete spoilsport. The culmination to the story takes the film to its nadir. The writing [Sunil Munshi] is clearly the culprit here.
To sum up, Aap Ki Khatir could've been an invigorating experience. Instead, it turns out to be a half-hearted effort that lacks the stamp of an accomplished storyteller.
Anu [Priyanka Chopra], a London-based Indian, lives in Mumbai after her break-up with Danny [Dino Morea]. But she has to return to London. Reason: Her stepsister Shirani [Amisha Patel] is getting married to New York-based Gujarati businessman Kunal [Suniel Shetty]. As luck would have it, Danny is Kunal's best friend and also happens to be on the guest-list.
Anu hatches a plan to get back at Danny and make him jealous. She hires an escort, Aman [Akshaye Khanna], to accompany her to the wedding as her new beau. The plan works gradually. But the skeletons tumble out of the cupboard: Shirani was involved with Danny after he broke off with Anu.
Meanwhile, there's a twist in the tale. Aman realizes that he's in love with Anu. But Anu is keen on Danny.
Aap Ki Khatir can be compartmentalized in two sections. The first hour focuses on light moments [refreshing; there's not one serious moment all through this hour], while the post-interval portions try to highlight the misunderstandings that encircle the characters.
The film has a couple of lively [and likable] moments. The light banter between Akshaye and Priyanka and her attempts to make Dino jealous keep you entertained. The sequences between the parents [Anupam Kher, Lilette Dubey] and Akshaye as also between the sisters [Priyanka-Amisha] are expertly handled. But all this happens in the first hour. The second half is plain monotonous and moves about in the most predictable fashion.
Also, there are inherent flaws from the writing point of view. Like, for instance, the writer doesn't bother to develop the relationship between Akshaye and Priyanka. It sort of materializes out of thin air. One moment, they are client and employee, discussing the terms of their arrangement, and the next, they're in love. It's a mystery how this transition occurs. There had to be a solid ground for them to develop strong feelings for one another.
The climax is a complete downer. The confrontation between Suniel and Dino looks fake primarily because Suniel comes across a narrow-minded individual. Agreed, his wife-to-be had a past and when she confides into him, he decides to act in the most irrational manner by creating a ruckus. Hello, should someone who was brought up in NY behave so fickle-mindedly? And why does Priyanka go back to Akshaye? Is it on a rebound since Dino doesn't love her, but loves her sister Amisha? And why does Dino broach the topic with Amisha a day before her marriage? Not happening, Mr. Writer!
Dharmesh Darshan's direction is just not in league with his earlier works, Lootere, Raja Hindustani and Dhadkan. The emotions don't strike a chord because Dharmesh is handicapped by a sloppy screenplay [second half]. Himesh Reshammiya's music is first-rate. The title track [during the beginning titles and also when Akshaye-Priyanka land in London] as also 'Tu Hai Kamaal' are pleasant-sounding. The latter is well filmed in a nightclub.
Surprisingly, W.B. Rao's cinematography is not at par with his accomplished works. In fact, the frames aren't as striking as one would've expected them to be. Dialogues are wonderful.
Akshaye is the soul of Aap Ki Khatir. The competent actor ignites the screen with a fascinating performance that's sure to win accolades by one and all. Priyanka goes over the top initially, but is controlled in the penultimate portions. Dino is perfectly cast; he looks suave and carries the role with effortless ease. Amisha does a decent job, although her role doesn't call for histrionics. Suniel Shetty is completely miscast. Bhumicka Singh is fair. Anupam Kher is alright. But it's Lilette Dubey who excels as the mother. Tiku Talsania, Kamini Khanna and the jing-bang [Suniel's family] try hard to make you laugh.
On the whole, Aap Ki Khatir is too mediocre a product that has some lively moments, but a weak second half [and climax] throws a wet blanket. At the box-office, the only advantage is its solo release, but the sustaining power is remote.