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Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. 



Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna, Review: Limerence, belligerence and incoherence

Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna, Review: Limerence, belligerence and incoherence

A clutch of songs, exquisitely picturised, with little or no lip sync, linked together by a skeletal story about obsessive love, came to Mumbai cinemas today under the title Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna (How Much Do I Love You). Taken from a hit number from the film Kudrat that was popular in the early 80s, the title of the film is appropriate, and the original song itself occurs several times in the film, on the radio, or as a caller tune, and there is even a new version. You have just been told all that is worth commending. For the rest, this long music video, passing off as a movie, is a damp squib.

A romantic thriller (so-called), it hovers between the liminal points of hooded ‘hero’ Dhruv’s fixation for sexy Hindi literature Professor Ananya, and his mental illness that drives him to murder. Ananya is a published author whose work Dhruv dotes on. He sets up a state-of-the-art book-shop right next to her house and stocks umpteen copies of her books. A female friend helps him run the shop, which has a café attached to it. Ananya is engaged to be married to Ranvir Dhillon, a rich man who has helped Ananya’s paralysed mother get proper treatment. Dhruv, however, is sure that she will become his, sooner or later. He writes her letters dipped in blood, and makes calls to her, without saying a word. His prized possession is a book of poems, autographed by the poetess herself.

Day-dreaming almost non-stop, he first targets all those who are close to her and then goes for the big kill: eliminating Ranvir Dhillon himself. All through, his crimes go undetected, though a cranky Inspector, named Sherawat, is trying his deducing acumen in unravelling the crimes. At one stage, he suspects Ananya of trying to eliminate Ranvir, in order to settle down with her crazy lover, Dhruv. Elsewhere, in a fit of rage, Dhruv sets fire to his own shop, and many of the books are burnt. Ananya goes there to take a look at what happened, when, suddenly, Dhruv appears from nowhere, his infatuation at its peak, so also his belligerence.

Five writers have pooled their resources to compose the story, screenplay and dialogue of this film: Faisal Akhtar, Karanvir Bohra, Rahul Patel--Nandan (screenplay) and director Lalit Mohan (dialogue). One can presume that Karanvir and Faisal worked on the story. Painful but true, none of the five have done anything to write home about. Story is stale and inspired by the 1993 ShaRukh Khan starrer, Darr; screenplay is conspicuous by its absence; and dialogue is a pathetic attempt at sounding poetic and philosophical with the help of Urdu language, known for its grace and expressive sounds. Dhruv keeps repeating that there are “vaqt key faasley” (distances of time) between him and Ananya. What high-flown incoherence was he muttering?

A chance playing of the song from the 1981 film on the radio as the unit was returning after a shooting schedule in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, led the director and Karanvir to name the till then untitled film Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna. Director Lalit Mohan is an MBA who had a stint as a copywriter before he turned to making television programmes. He had directed Karanvir in a serial, and when Karanvir decided to turn film producer, he summoned Mohan to take the director’s chair. Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna is produced by Karanvir Bohra’s father, Mahendra Bohra, under the banner of Belvie Productions, Belvie being derived from the names of Karanvir’s twin daughters. The senior Bohra Brothers, Ramkumar and Shreeram, made dozens of small budget films in the period 50s-80s. There are dedications to grandpa Ramkumar and Salman Khan. Salman Khan? Yes. For inspiring Karanvir to make this film. Obviously, Salman is not a good judge of credentials, or else, he was just being nice. ‘Thanks’ credits go to Juhi Chawla, who appears as a doctor at a mental institution, at the fag end of the film, and Mika Singh, who lends his vocals to a song.

Three films and numerous TV appearances later, Karanvir Bohra seems to be still learning. He gets the benefit of doubt because he plays a mentally unstable person, and is not required to behave and emote like a normal human. Priya Bannerjee seems to be perennially stuck with a selfie pout, enhanced by dark lipstick. She is on the thinner side, with a well-maintained figure. Self-confessedly, Priya is a better singer than actress and has sung quite a few songs. But then she has done a bunch of web series as well. Made to ooze sensuality, she is unable to deliver either the depth of a poetess or the angst of a tormented soul effectively. Samir Kochhar is acceptable as Ranvir. Mahesh Balraj is cast as Sherawat, a Haryanvi Inspector serving in an undefined location, keeps talking to his partner on duty, often referring to classic English films and their directors, one of them being ‘Torentino’.

Scarlett Wilson is the only other face I could identify with the help of web research. She appears in the ‘item number’ ‘Man-Mohani ne man moh liya’. To the unspoilt and cocooned reader who has yet to discover what an item number is, it is a song in which scantily clad women and dazzlingly dressed men gyrate, usually with pelvic thrusts, to get testosterone pumping, with psychedelic lights and a futuristic set. Karanvir was not going to lose out on this one, mentally challenged or not. So Dhruv has his item song, and Scarlett is his item girl. A completely different kettle of fish is the re-doing of ‘Hume tumse pyar kitna’, with some additional lines, by singer Shreya Ghoshal. Soothing melody, in a new and almost faithful version. Four other actors are listed on some sites, without being identified with their roles: Bhavin Bhanushali, Nikita Nagpal, Aryaveer Mehar and Mudassir Hussain. Nikita could be Dhruv’s bookstore manager, who is not even named in the film.

Thank Prashant Rathore and Kannu Prajapati for restricting the proceedings to a barely tolerable 91 minutes, and never mind the resultant lack of continuity and look of incompleteness. Thanks are also due to Santosh Thundiyal, for capturing lush locales in Manali, Rann of Kutchh (Gujarat), Sikkim, Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani (Maharashtra). Even the fire in the bookstore is filmed in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The additional half star in my rating is thanks to Thundiyal.

In the 91st minute, Dhruv leaves the mental institution, feigning cure, but he leaves behind a hidden mural (of sorts) of Ananya. Clearly, he has not been cured. And surely, a serial is what they had in mind. While reviews like this one might not persuade the makers to banish the thought, box-office collections might prove decisive. And according to a reputed website, they have not been flattering, to put it very mildly indeed.

Rating: * ½



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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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