U Me Aur Hum / Sunday

*contains spoilers*

I'm pretty sure this movie was a giant flop in cinema's, at least I think that's what I read somewhere. But I tend to ignore critics and watch films anyway. Sometimes I pay the price, but it's very rare that I watch a film and find absolutely nothing in it that I like. The synopsis on the back of the dvd jacket didn't say much about U, Me Aur Hum other than it was a love story set aboard a cruise ship starring Ajay and Kajol and directed, for the first time, by Ajay. What they didn't say was that the film would deal with Alzheimer's, a disease which saddens and terrifies me at the same time. I am a sucker for a tear jerker. I cried when the Hendersons said goodbye to Harry. So, suffice to say that I reached for a kleenex or two in between my sister telling me to turn it off because she couldn't take anymore! Anyway, how's that for build up? Now on to the film.

We start off with an older dashing Ajay telling his grown son to make a move on a girl that he likes. His son tells him that he will if his dad does also with the woman of his choice. His son then picks an aged (but still terribly beautiful) Kajol. He sits with her and starts to tell her a love story. Immediately I thought, well, it's very obvious that he's telling this woman their very own story and right away The Notebook came to mind, though I think Ajay's version is very different and has just as much to offer. Where I think U Me Aur Hum falls slightly in the first half of the film is the development of Ajay and Piya's relationship, the redundant dialogues and the "in it just to be in it" comedy. It's love at first sight for him, and while Piya rejects his advances, his persistence and the fact that he's read her "Book of Possibilities" and uses it to his full advantage finally wins her over, despite his drunken attempts at wooing her through song during what seemed like some sort of cruise ship orgy club. It's smooth sailing until she finds out what a cad he's been (though I'm sure I read somewhere that all's fair in love and war), but we knew a reconciliation was in order or else it would have been an awfully short film.

There are some strangely funny bits in the first half (Ajay's recollections of a dance performance gone terribly wrong brings a smile to my lips for the sheer silliness of it all!), and some just strange bits including a small boy who stalks Ajay all over the cruise ship for purposes that seem much sinister than they actually are. Several of the jokes are put in there to fill a quota I'm sure, but doesn't add to the feel of the film in any sense (yes, I'm talking about the streaking bet and the ogling by stereotypical gay man. Ugh). It isn't until just right before interval that you know the movie's about to take a turn, and, for me, the second half was worth watching the entire movie for.

The second half of the film is very effective, and is the reason I would recommend this film. Ajay takes a look at early on-set Alzheimer's (which I did research a little for verification and it can start to set in as early as 30 years of age, though it is extremely rare) and how it affects not only Piya herself, but the people around her. Ajay includes some scenes that are very effective and chilling, from the first scene where Piya finds herself stranded on the road outside her house, to the jump rope bit to the bathtub scene with their baby. Each give glimpses of the severity of the disease and where Ajay really excels is showing how this disease effects the people around it.

This leads me into the performances. I first saw Ajay as the patient and caring husband in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, and immediately was impressed by the subtle quality to his acting. I don't think he'd be accused of that in the first half of this film, but I think redemption is all his after interval. He does an excellent job as the husband who is torn between what he thinks is the right thing to do by his wife, and what he knows is the right thing. You can see the relief in his eyes when Piya recognizes the baby she just gave birth to, the despair he feels after the above mentioned bathtub incident, and the moment when he realizes that he's lost the battle. Of the films I've seen, I think this is his finest performance so far (however, I recently acquired Omkara and can't wait to see him in that one). A quick word on Ajay the director: I don't have any experience behind a camera, but I thought that overall he did a good job. I think the vision he had for the look of the film was achieved, however, a tighter reign on some of the supporting characters may have made them a little more bearable.

Kajol is one of my favorite actresses. I've loved her from the first movie I saw her in, and I think this role is a fine example of why she remains one of Bollywood's sweethearts. She was just the right combination of cynical and playful in the first half (and during Saiyaan where the dysfunctional Piya turns, albeit briefly, into her sexy coquettish self ). Of course, just as Ajay, the second half is where she shines. Her interpretation of someone suffering from a mental illness seemed very realistic (of course this is coming from someone who has never seen the effects up close and in person). The confusion that surrounded her daily life was very well depicted and she made my heart break. I thought it was quite compelling when she did the little speech about how awful it must be for the families of Alzheimer's patients after finding the article about it. Now, that's irony!

I'm not familiar Vishal Bhardwaj's work (and I have to admit it's taking me a while to get into Kaminey's music), but he did a good job with the music in this film. The catchiest of the film is the Latin flavored Jee Lee. It definitely has some get up and go to it, and the picturization alone is enough to get me to want to go on a cruise. Mass Salsa dancing anyone? Dil Dhakda Hai is a better song without the picturization. It has some definite catchy melodies and lyrics, but I could have done without the aforementioned "orgy club". Maybe they should have bathed everyone in red like Paying Guest's 'Nazara Se Nasaria' instead of the blue. Red Light district on a cruise ship.

U Me aur Hum raises much above the light rom com's and delivers a maturely crafted movie. The sheer sincerity and intensity of the attempt involves you so influentially that you almost have no choice to put your inner critic in the backseat and let your heart take over your mind.

In a related, yet unrelated, note, I also recently took in another Ajay movie, the comedy Sunday. Also a movie that centers on memory loss, more specifically the temporary loss of one day, it is much much different than U Me Aur Hum. Admittedly, I haven't found many Hindi comedies very funny, but I actually did enjoy many parts of this one. Sunday gives an ample dose of comedy that's funny rather than asinine, and an interesting storyline including a whodunit kind of mystery that actually keeps you guessing until the very end. Though the movie isn’t a ground-breaking revolution, the screenplay and subplots makes the movie pretty interesting, especially those surrounding Arshad Warsi and Irfan Khan's characters, who have the best roles in the movie in my opinion.

I didn't want to do a full scope review on this one, but couldn't resist a couple of screen shots of what is now my favorite comedy duo.

So funny!

11 Response to "U Me Aur Hum / Sunday"

  1. bollywooddeewana says:
    October 28, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    thanks for the Jee le song, i've been on the look out for salsa/latin bollywood songs, Jee le fits perfectly

  2. Anonymous Says:
    October 28, 2009 at 4:04 PM

    Excellent review of U Me and Hum. I saw this on the big screen with a friend and liked the movie precisely for the reasons you have outlined. It is a pity that the movie flopped in India.

    Ajay is not only a talented and sensitive actor but also a good director.

    There is a song in Sunday picturised in the historical places of Delhi that is good. As i said before, Sunday is a poor remake of an original telugu movie "Anuko konda oku roju" roughly translates as "An unexpected day"

    Another good Ajay/Kajol movie is "Dil Kya Kaare" - another love story produced by Ajay Devgan which flopped in India. The songs are melodious, Ajay, Kajol and Mahima have done a good job. Overall a movie worth seeing.

  3. shell says:
    October 28, 2009 at 8:59 PM

    bollywooddeewana - I'm glad I could help you out with that. You haven't seen the movie then?

    Anon - I haven't branched out into anything other than Hindi films as of yet, but I'm compiling a list, so I'll have to add that one to it and compare.
    I have seen Kajol and Ajay together before, but not that one. I have another I've yet to see Pyaar to Hona hi tha. Do you know if that one is any good?

  4. Anonymous Says:
    October 29, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    I read some where that Pyaar to Hona Hi Tha is a remake of a hollywood film. I haven't seen this one.

    I would recommend Dil Kya Kaare. I think you may like the movie.

  5. shell says:
    October 29, 2009 at 9:09 PM

    I'll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

  6. bollywooddeewana says:
    October 31, 2009 at 9:44 AM

    No i haven't i had read lots of lacklustre reviews of it, so i didn't really bother

  7. Darshit says:
    November 2, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    Pyaar to hona hi tha is really a good movie, you can't afford to miss it. Perfect chemistry of the couple.

    Talking about U me aur Hum, I just love the movie. The first half I find so mushy with all talking they do [and the flying shots of cruise ship]. Second half was also much engaging, remember the party at Ajay's home? Where everybody sings same song 'chalte chalte'- my favorite sequence.

    Vishal is a genious guy. You should check out his earlier work like The Blue Umbrella, Maachis, Omkara, No Smoking and Satya. He has got a great record of fantastic music. I love the title song here. His own version is just so perfect for the movie.

    Sunday- is a fun movie. Aayesha Takia was so adorable in it. And the performances are so controlled yet hilarious. I enjoyed it.

  8. shell says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:53 AM

    I saw a review for The Blue Umbrella (was that on your blog). Anyway it looked beautiful. I just got Omkara and I've heard so many good things about it. I'll have to watch it soon.

    I really liked the party scene too. Don't know why I didn't mention it. Anyway, this marks the 2nd movie I've seen with Ajay and Kajol so now I'll have to watch Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha for sure.

  9. shell says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:55 AM

    bollywooddeewana - It does have it's fair share of drama. If you can get past the first half I think you would like it.

  10. Jules says:
    November 2, 2009 at 10:05 PM

    I think You Me aur Hum was an amazingly good movie. I could hardly stand it, it was so good. Somehow, I don't know if it's in my top 10 or not, but it was so emotional. I think because it was so realistic. so many bollywood movies are romance and fiction, it's refreshing for the serious ones from time to time.

  11. shell says:
    November 3, 2009 at 6:51 AM

    Jules, that's precisely what I thought after watching Woh Lamhe (that's the one about the schizoprenia). It certainly was one emotional movie. Now I can't wait to watch these other Kajol/Ajay films everyone's recommended.