Cast: Ajay Devgan, Kajol
Direction: Ajay Devgan
IT’S the season of sadness in Bollywood. Or else, why would two mainline actors choose to make their directorial debut with films that explore human relationships shadowed by the trauma of physical ailments. If Aamir Khan made the world cry with his sensitive tale of a dyslexic kid, then Ajay Devgan turns the spotlight on Alzheimers and its debilitating effect on love and life. And like Aamir, Ajay too weaves a plot that’s high on EQ, making the Kleenex count high too. Truly, it’s the unbridled emotional quotient of U, Me aur Hum which saves it from slipping into mediocrity. The sensitive second half not only makes up for the flaws in the first half, it also winds up the film as a poignant tribute to the institution of marriage, romance and soulmate-ship.
The film opens predictably as a love-at-first-sight story on a cruise liner. Psychiatrist Ajay loses his heart to Kajol, the sassy waitress, one heady starlit night and wakes up wooing her with salsa and song. Doesn’t take long for the uptight bar girl to let her hair down, especially when the suitor seems to know all her likes and dislikes. So what if he’s secretly read her diary and tickmarked the stuff that turns her on…like white lilies, liquor chocolates, a white Labrador and sexy salsa. This part of the film isn’t exactly a dream debut for Devgan as director. Neither entertaining, nor heartwarming, the drama keeps slipping into nothingness, especially when the director chooses to focus on the squabbling couples in the background.
Love, however, mercifully leads to marriage, motherhood….and it is then that the film suddenly shifts gears and moves into all-heart territory. One rainy day, Kajol simply forgets her address and soon begins to forget the baby in the bath tub too. The doctors diagnose Alzheimers and advise her incarceration in hospital. Does the marriage crumble in the face of these odds or does the couple fulfill their wishlist by celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary on another cruise? Kudos to both Ajay and Kajol for depicting the highs and the lows of love, an overdone emotion that somehow doesn’t seem commonplace anymore. While Ajay’s a winsome blend of weak and heroic, — quite-quite different from his dynamic Omkara-Gangajal action-hero avtar — Kajol mirrors the vulnerability and the insecurity of a woman who lives life on the edge, threatening to fall off any day.
Don’t go looking for a breezy entertainer and you might just catch the new wind blowing through Bollywood. One that carries a whiff of change, as it blows in a different direction. What’s next, Ajay?