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Some stories are interesting to read. They may be bestsellers, no arguments on that. But cinema is a different medium altogether and not all stories are cut out for cinematic adaptations. That's the problem with Hello.
Wait, there's one more hiccup. The screenplay, credited to Atul Agnihotri and Chetan Bhagat, lacks the power to hold your attention from start to end, barring a few stray moments in the second hour.
Based on Chetan Bhagat's book 'One Night @ The Call Centre', Hello makes an attempt to peep into the lives of those working at call centres, but things are presented in such an amateurish manner that it fails to cut ice.
Perhaps director Atul Agnihotri wanted his second directorial venture to be a complete departure from stereotypical movies, but, believe it or not, there's hardly any story to tell in the first hour. Defining character sketches of the principal players should constitute maximum 15 odd minutes of the film. You don't devote your entire first hour to it.
Post interval, there's some movement in the story, but not enough to take the film to a different level. Even the culmination is so filmy. Suddenly, everything seems to be going right for the call centre personnel. It's a screenplay of convenience!
So what's the verdict then? There are good films and there are bad films. Hello is neither good, nor bad. It's just boring!
Hello talks of the events that happen in one night at a call centre. Shyam [Sharman Joshi] is losing his girlfriend because his career is going nowhere as he trudges his way around in a call centre. His girlfriend, Priyanka [Gul Panag], also works at the call centre, but her mother [Bharti Achrekar] wants her married to a wealthy NRI.
More people in the story: An aspiring model, Esha [Isha Koppikar], is hoping for the break that seems to be eluding her... Varun aka Vroom [Sohail Khan] loves Esha, but she's more focused on her career... Radhika [Amrita Arora] is constantly at the receiving end of her mother-in-law. Even her husband [Arbaaz Khan] is having an affair... A beleaguered grandfather, Military Uncle [Sharat Saxena], has been barred from interacting with his grandchild.
These call centre agents see their worlds crumbling around them. And then there's a call from God...
The screenplay tends to get so amateurish at times that you actually want to ask the writers, Hello, do you know the basics of screenplay development? Also, the call centre personnel look more like a bunch of college kids, while the Americans, calling up call centre executives to sort out their problems, come across as nincompoops.
Saddled with a poor screenplay, there's not much that director Atul Agnihotri can do to salvage the show. Sajid-Wajid's music is pleasant. The Salman song at the very outset, 'Bang Bang', and 'Karle Baby Dance Dance' are energetic. Sanjay F. Gupta's cinematography is alright.
Talking of actors, Sharman and Sohail are the pick of the lot. Sharman stands tall even in a tacky script like this, while Sohail is gradually getting into the groove. Amrita, Isha and Gul are okay. Arbaaz Khan is hardly there. Sharat Saxena is wasted. Dalip Tahil is unintentionally funny. Suresh Menon is unbearable.
Salman Khan looks haggard, as if he has been woken up from his sleep. The eye bags and double chin are too evident. Besides, the actor has been given main prominence in posters/billboards, but the fact remains that he's hardly there for a song and scene at the start, a brief scene at the interval and a scene and promotional video at the end. Katrina Kaif looks angelic, but even she has a 5-10 minute role.
On the whole, Hello is a poor show. At the box-office, it has no chances whatsoever!