Movie Review: Humko Deewana Kar Gaye ...

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By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Film: "Humko Deewana Kar Gaye"; Starring Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif,

Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor; Directed by Raj Kanwar; Rating **

Akshay Kumar's films are becoming classier by the month. There's a

certain restraint in his presence here. The way he conveys the pain and

hurt of an impossible love is quite surprising for an actor who until

recently was counted among the wooden.

Director Raj Kanwar's recent efforts to polish up his act have

yielded tepid results. "Dhai Akshar Prem Ke" and the box office hit

"Andaz" were louder than the lyrical aspirations of their creator.

Kanwar gets it more right this time. The theme of 'love versus

obligation' is nothing new to our cinema. Then redemptive hope lies in

the treatment. And we aren't let down completely in the way the

jukebox-symphony moves forward.

There's a certain elegance in the movement of the mix 'n' match love

story. Aditya (Akshay) and Jiya (Katrina), engaged to marry the wrong

life partners, must move towards that inevitable mutual embrace at the

end when the scrambled game of musical chairs finally ends.

In between there are several musical pieces choreographed with an

eye-catching élan. One of them filmed in a commodious banquet even has

yesteryear cabaret queen Helen breaking into a sassy jig.

Such moments are well-knitted into the tale of star-crossed love.

Though the film suffers for Kanwar's trademark loud Punjabi characters

grooving garishly to Bhangra-pop beats, crude gay jokes between Akshay

and Mohan Joshi, coincidences peeking out of an otherwise smooth

narrative, there's a touch of self-conscious suaveness in the

storytelling that goes a long way in keeping the central romance from

collapsing under the weight of self-importance.

The initial encounters between Aditya and Jia are deftly visualised.

Vikas Shivraman's camera frames the good-looking pair with arresting

vibrancy.

The dialogues, you feel, could've gone easy on the rhetoric. Often

you feel that the lovers, fighting off their respective engagements to

court true love, are reading their lines out of an invisible

prompter.

But Akshay-Katrina look terrific together. Akshay's controlled

performance spotlights the character's virtuosity in the midst of

luscious temptation. Watch him in that almost wordless moment when his

screen-friend Vivek Shouq (in a hideous hairstyle) confesses he was

behind the lovers' break-up...Akshay gives a clenched interpretation to

a role that doesn't allow him to 'do' much on screen.

Katrina is passably competent in a tailor-made role, giving a mild

emotional spin to a couple of scenes. But her inadequacies surface when

pitched against Shernaz Patel (in a minuscule part) or even against

Bipasha Basu who, in the brief role of Akshay's ambitious fiancée,

brings a fleeting finesse to her under-written part.

But pray, what's Anil Kapoor doing playing Katrina's arrogant

self-important fiancé? From the start you know this couple is

doomed.

Don't look for surprises in this smooth-and-shiny romance...Or

originality. Bits and pieces from various Hindi and Hollywood creations

surface intermittently. But the queasy limit is the climax where

Katrina is stuck upside down in a hit-and-run car. The whole sequence

is lifted from this year's Oscar winner "Crash".

That's some quick thinking!

Bollywood.com Rating: 2.5