Monday, July 16, 2012

Teri Meri Kahaani: Review

Shahid Kapoor’s last film, Mausam, mapped the trajectory of a relationship by catching up with the lead pair at different points in their life. Teri Meri Kahaani has similar time-hopping tendencies, but one couple obviously wasn’t challenging enough for its makers. So you get Kapoor and his Kaminey co-star Priyanka Chopra playing different characters in three separate stories; the first set in 1960s Bombay, the second in present-day England, and the third in Lahore in 1910. Structurally and thematically, Teri Meri Kahaani recalls Hou Hsiao-hsien’s 2005 film Three Times, which featured Chang Chen and Shu Qi in stories set in the 1910s, 1960s and 2000s.

Of course, three stories is just a smokescreen for the fact that writer-director Kunal Kohli and co-writer Robin Bhatt have no one story that’s worth telling. The specific details of each plotline hardly matter, since this is all that really happens: Kapoor and Chopra meet, begin to like each other (cue song), whereupon a silly plot contrivance pops up to derail their love. We’re never sure whether the two are playing variations on the same characters, though the cross-cutting between plots towards the end seems to suggest so. In place of anything that might explain why we’re being told the same story thrice, Teri Meri Kahaani  gives us a kurta-clad lead spouting bad poetry (shades of Aamir Khan’s character in Kohli’s Fanaa), the freedom struggle as a slapstick sideshow, and a largely white crowd responding enthusiastically to a speech that’s half-Hindi. The two leads try and act their way out of a few scenes, but it’s a losing battle. Only Prachi Desai ends up deriving some mileage from her cameo as an impossibly forward ’60s girl.

This review appeared in Time Out Delhi.

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