By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Film: "Pyaar Mein Twist";
Starring Dimple Kapadia, Rishi Kapoor, Sammir Dattani, Soha Ali Khan, Farida Jalal; Directed by Hriday Shetty; Rating: **
"Dabba!" Dimple exclaims on her first cantankerous encounter with Rishi Kapoor, reminding us of her first ever encounter
with him in "Bobby" over 30 years ago.
Director Hriday Shetty soaks his autumnal romance about an aging widow and a widower in the vinegar of nostalgia. But the
idea never goes beyond the rehearsed rudiments of romance.
It is as though the director took up a terrific idea, but forgot to expand the thought processes that define the rather
unconventional game of courtship.
There's a bit of Karan Johar's cinema (shaadi/sagaai songs) and a bit of Hollywood's most cherished conventions of
autumnal courtship in the charming way Rishi and Dimple meet and become friends.
But the charm wears thin. Unlike other films on the theme like Basu Chatterjee's "Khatta Meetha" and Anant Balani's
"Joggers Park", the aging protagonists seem to share a relationship that isn't coherent to them, let alone others.
Are they friends? Do they want to be lovers? Do they care about what their kids and family think? Do we care?
Shetty doesn't allow us to come close enough to this cute couple to feel the pulse of their passion. In fact, passion is
sorely lacking in the couple's togetherness as the narrative zigzags in what looks like an over-consciously created pastiche
of warm 'moments' threaded together in a family tree that's as snarled as it is uninspired.
The central romance remains unfinished. The supporting cast just doesn't have a clue as to what to do. They vacillate
between playing it for cutes within the family fold and hamming it to the ilk.
What works is Dimple's relationship with her screen son-in-law-to-be, played by Sammir Dattani. The sheer warmth that the
two generate in the indecipherable gaggle of sons, daughters and other kith (all played gawkily) is comforting to watch.
Sammir and his girlfriend (Soha)'s mom are so at ease that you wonder why the director didn't build on the bonding between
the stunning mom-in-law and her endearing son-in-law rather than waste so much footage on focusing on the weak supporting
Always a fine actor, Rishi gets the contours of his role in place. But the bravura characterization is self-limiting. The
strained relationship with his son (Vikas Bhalla) and bahu (Deepshikha, miscast), providing the sympathetic shoulder, looks
more like leftover material from a soap opera than an integral part of a feature film.
The uneven editing takes us on a nervous ride through a series of 'come-look-at-me' characters huddled together more to
create an impression than to generate genuine and intuitive drama.
For a film where confrontational drama seems inevitable. "Pyaar Mein Twist" seems terribly reluctant to pull out the
stops. We cease to care whether the old couple finally gets a chance to come together. We are never taken into
Instead we are forsaken at the periphery from where the old-world romance appears to be a blur of "Bobby" meets "Khatta
Meeta" meets "On Golden Pond". The eclectic mélange never soars upwards.
The attempts at nostalgia are also, beyond a point, forced. Rishi looks too out of shape to carry off his 1970s' song
"Khullam khulla pyar karenge...". The 'item song' looks gimmicky rather than nostalgic. The patchy editing takes us from one
sequence into another without a proper impact.
A pity since the film had the potential to tell a full-blooded story about two twilight-zone individuals who want to try
marriage beyond the permissible age. When their kids are at the age of consent, can their parents be granted the same?
Good point. But hardly projected in a ponderous pastiche. Yes, Dimple with her cascading mane and sherbet eyes still looks
like a dream, and Rishi is an overweight but likeable other half, but it's Sammir who is the scene-stealer. His rapport with
Dimple stays with you. Here's a fresher who's here to stay.
"Pyaar Mein Twist" is like a taste of wine that's been left in the cellar long enough to qualify as vintage. But the taste
is not quite as succinct as you'd expect it to be.
Bollywood.com Rating: 2