Friday, July 8, 2016

Do Lafzon Ki Kahani: Review

There’s a scene some 30 minutes into Do Lafzon Ki Kahani that might illustrate what a confounding and avoidable experience it is. Jenny (Kajal Agarwal), a blind Indian teacher in Kuala Lumpur, arrives at her doorstep late at night to find her creepy boss there, drunk out of his mind and making advances. After he forces his way in, she pours him juice instead of, say, locking herself into a room or looking for the nearest knife. At this point, he slurs what is both the most memorable line in the movie and a contender for the worst piece of writing of the year so far: “I have my own juice.”

Luckily for Jenny—and anyone who would rather not know what he meant by that—our hero, Sooraj (Randeep Hooda), turns up to do the requisite saving. But the scene isn’t done with us. Instead of being grateful, Jenny berates Sooraj for breaking her boss’ fingers. What if they fire her from her job? Sooraj, confused, asks if she really wants to work in a place like that. Which workplace, she yells, doesn’t have men like that?

Jenny eventually apologizes to Sooraj. I would rather Deepak Tijori did the same. This is the erstwhile actor’s sixth film as director. For the most part, it’s a slushy mess, enlivened only by the inadvertent comedy of Girish Dhamija’s writing and sudden spikes of melodrama that would have been rejected as excessive by TV soap producers. It’s based on the 2011 Korean film Always—the second such remake this week along with Te3n. What will Bollywood turn to once it’s remade all the Korean films worth remaking? I hear Romanian cinema comes highly recommended.

When we’re first introduced to Sooraj, he’s running from his past as an MMA fighter and part-time thug. But if you’ve ever watched a Bhatt camp film (which this one resembles in spirit), you’ll know that you can’t run from your past, just as you can’t hide your true face from the one who loves you, even if she can’t see. Sooraj and Jenny fall in love, slowly and painfully (for the viewer, not them). Even as he struggles to tell her about a particularly dark period in his life, they find out that her sight can be restored through a cornea transplant. For dramatic purposes, the operation has to be within the next 15 days, which requires a large sum of money to be arranged almost immediately.

Thus Sooraj returns to the fighting pits and a life of crime while Jenny…well, Jenny just talks a lot. If their love story only has do lafz, she’s definitely uttered both of them while he’s stood by and gritted his teeth. This is exactly the sort of no-hope venture that Randeep Hooda seems to land up in again and again, frustrating those who believe that he ought to be a much bigger star and above dross of this sort by now.

This review appeared in Mint.

No comments: