By Arpana, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota"; Cast: Paresh Rawal, Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona SenSharma, Irrfan Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Suhasini Mulay; Director: Naseeruddin Shah; Rating: ***
Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah's directorial debut "Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota" (YHTKH) focuses on the large section of Indian society obsessed with America.
In the film, four stories run simultaneously giving glimpses of the realities of the social order. But there is a common thread running through them - in all the four stories people are trying to escape to the US to get rid of their problems.
Naseer's narration is simple and there isn't any confusion or overlapping but yes, he could have worked little more on the linking of the stories. Having said that, it won't be easy for Naseer's fan to dismiss this ensemble-piece.
The film is a mix of everything - drama, thrill, romance and crime.
The first story is about Tilottima Das Punj (Konkana Sen) - a Bengali girl married to US-based Hemant (Jimmy Shergill). They meet through the Internet and tie the knot. But Hemant heads off to the US immediately after the wedding reception, leaving Tilottima to cope with her crazy in-laws.
Tilottima's mother-in-law, an American married to an Indian, doesn't like her one bit and makes her life miserable. The only solution for Tilottima is to escape to the US.
The second story revolves around Salim Rajabali (Irrfan Khan) - a stockbroker who is in love with an older woman Namrata (Suhasini Mulay), a failed dancer who seems to be making the best of her sexuality to lure young men.
Salim soon discovers she has been cheating on him, but before he can sort out matters, he finds himself involved in a murder case. And his mother, a powerful godmother-like woman (Saroj Khan), advises him to move to the US before he is arrested for the alleged murder of a police commissioner (Boman Irani).
Rahul Bhinde (Ankur Khanna) is the protagonist of the fourth tale. Rahul is a medical student who gets admission into a prestigious US university but he can't grab this golden opportunity because of his ailing bed-ridden father.
However, his father dies a day before his visa interview and his girlfriend Khushbooo (Ayesha Takia) irons out all the financial hurdles in his way and makes arrangements for his trip abroad.
The fourth and final story is about Rajubhai Patel (Paresh Rawal) who conducts stage shows abroad and illegally smuggles Indians to the 'land of opportunities'. He is money minded and doesn't give a chance to anybody until they pay a hefty sum of money. But when his ex-lover Tara (Ratna Pathak Shah) approaches him for her daughter, he eventually bends all his rules.
Whether it is Tilottima, Salim, Rahul or Rajubhai - each of them have a valid reason to travel to America. But does this really solve their problems?
The performance by each of the artists is great but it is Suhasini who is the surprise package of the film. She bowls over viewers with her new avatar, which is very different to her established on-screen persona. The love scenes between her and Irrfan are real screen scorchers.
Naseer has also cast his son Immauddin in the film as a character whose main pastime is to find fault with America, it people and their way of life. However small the role may be, he does come across as a spontaneous actor.
Compared to the narration and performances, the music of the film is nothing much to talk about.
With YHTKH, Naseer proves that he is not only a versatile actor but also a great storyteller and uses his skills in building up a fascinating climax, which is predictable yet enjoyable.
Bollywood.com Rating: 2.5