Hum Tum

Some folks say and think that life is short, so play hard, be kind, and enjoy every moment. Other folks, like Saif Ali Khan’s character Karan Kapoor in the 2004 award winning romantic comedy/drama called Hum Tum, believe that life lasts a long while meaning that patience is a virtue, and if what you hope for doesn’t come today, it will come at a later date. Khan’s co-star in this film is the drop dead gorgeous Rani Mukerji who won numerous awards for her role in the film as Rhea Prakash. The film was produced by Yash Chopra, directed by Kunal Kohli, and released by Yash Raj Films, a true powerhouse in the Indian Film Industry.

This is a story centered around a particular man and a particular woman; only in this case, it isn’t love at first sight. Anything but. They’ll meet on a plane bound from Delhi to New York with a stopover in Amsterdam. She’s going to study Fashion design, and he’s going to study art. He’s also a serial flirt, with brash and bold as additional descriptions. We should not neglect to mention that he is immature and really doesn’t respect women. After sitting next to each other for three hours, introductions are finally in order.

“Hi, I’m Rhea Prakash,” she says. He says, “My name is Bond, James Bond.”

That’s the kind of guy he is. In Amsterdam, with a six hour layover, they go around the city, which gives us some time for some nice outdoor locations scenes as well as a song. Despite Karan being with a woman he finds very attractive (don’t we all) that doesn’t stop him from ogling other women. Rhea doesn’t appreciate him, or his antics, and the wheels will come off when he impulsively kisses her right there on the street. “That’s it,” she says. “Our story ends right now – the end!” As expected, she storms off. On the flight from Amsterdam to New York they aren’t sitting together.

Actually, as we come to find out, this was only the end of this chapter. They’re going to run into each other a number of times over the length of the film which spans 9 years of story time. The locations change, circumstances change, yet there remains a few constants, and we are reminded of these by the cartoon characters, a boy and a girl, named Hum and Tum, which means You and Me, who appear every half hour or so. They serve as sort of a Greek Chorus, as well a set of visual clues which will help us to better understand Rhea and Karan.

Karan is all about himself to start with. He’s obnoxious and likeable at the same time – which is a tribute to Saif’s skills as an actor. He knows what he likes and wants – only he can’t express it to the one who should hear it. Rhea goes from cute, sensible, and sincere to feisty, and then on to a more mature woman who hasn’t had the best of luck. She too struggles with facing decisions of the heart; her first choice is always to retreat or move on. But she comes off as sympathetic.

The overall film received generally positive reviews, but the lead actor and actress were highly praised. The critics as well as the Indian film audiences loved Rani in this role. She won 4 different awards as Best Actress for her performance as Rhea Prakash. Evidently the film producers around Bollywood took notice of their excellent chemistry.

Rani and Saif made this in 2004. They appeared together in the lead roles again in Ta Ra Rum Pum in 2007. That was followed by Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic in 2008. Obviously they work well together. And yes, that is the Brooklyn Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. Indian films are often shot in New York.

While this film has some great performances by the supporting cast featuring Rishi Kapoor as Karan’s Dad, Rati Agnihotri as Anju who is Karan’s Mom, and Kiron Kher who simply sparkled as Rhea’s Mom, Praminder Prakash, or as she insisted on being called Bobby; there’s no doubt that this film was a showcase for Rani and Saif. I had an excellent time with this one which clocked in at 143 minutes. But with the attractive leads and the sparkling locations and visuals you won’t notice the length of the film.

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