Prior to watching, I just didn't get why I hadn't heard more about Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam. I mean, its a love triangle between Madhuri, Salman, and Shahrukh! Yet its only grazed over briefly on most Shahrukh Khan fan sites, has never been recommended to me by any of my fellow bloggers, and...well, its just not talked about much.
After watching the film, I can see why. Its just not very good. Not awful, but mediocre at best. Still, it is a love triangle between Madhuri, Salman, and Shahrukh (though not in the way I'd expected), and thus there were things I really caught myself enjoying. These three did a fabulous job, and gave me enough things to talk about to warrant a review.
First of all, the biggest shock of this film was that it was made in 2002. The direction, lighting, cinematography and outfits made it look like it crawled out of the shadows of the HAHK and DDLJ hangover, gathered whichever actors from those films it could, and slopped itself together in about 1996 or so. My only clue that it could have been made later was the shape of Shahrukh Khan's hair. Maybe that's why I kept having to backtrack on my little knowledge of Bollywood pre-2007 chronology and ask myself which Khan was going to be the true "hero" of the film. Since I incorrectly assumed this was made somewhere in between Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, I expected this movie to be quite different, with Madhuri having an affair with Salman, and Shahrukh playing the husband we all felt sorry for but knew wasn't the one she was "supposed" to be with...you know,
But the movie wasn't like that at all, which wasn't a bad thing, just not what I expected. Shahrukh was in the film much more than Salman was, and there was no love affair (I don't mean to throw a spoiler in here without warning, but its really no secret, as it becomes apparent to the viewer fairly quickly that the director has no intention of developing a romance between Madhuri and Salman's characters).
Here's the synopsis: Radha(Madhuri Dixit) and Suraj (Salman Khan) have been friends since childhood. The two share a beautiful relationship much like a brother and a sister would, and Suraj is practically a part of Radha's family. When Radha marries Gopal (Shahrukh Khan), her new husband sees this friendship as a threat. Most of the film centers on Gopal's struggle to trust his wife and his growing jealousy of Suraj, which definitely had its interesting moments.
I must say, Shahrukh played his part very well. I think the film would have really crashed and burned for me had he not been so great at being such a...well, such a jerk. Gopal was needy, possessive, jealous, and a Classic Big Baby. As a matter of fact, had this been real life, I would have sworn Gopal was the one who was actually having the affair, since he was so hopelessly insecure. On the other hand, there were times where I actually felt he was justified in feeling this way. Suraj was a total fifth wheel, and both he and Radha seemed completely oblivious to the fact that maybe Gopal wanted some alone time with his wife (Suraj even almost accompanied the newlyweds on their honeymoon, at Radha's suggestion, no less).
Surprisingly, these moments in the film were pretty hilarious, and I have to give credit to Shahrukh here as well. I think this was the funniest I've ever seen him--his facial expressions and mutterings under his breath whenever Suraj popped up were some of the best parts of Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, and probably the main reason I'd consider watching it again.
But all praise doesn't go to Shahrukh. I really liked Salman, too, but in a different way. His character, Suraj, was fun and extremely likable. In fact, I actually wished Radha would end up with him, since Gopal was such a psycho. And Madhuri and Salman worked well together, as they had in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, so I found myself enjoying these two onscreen once again.
My first impression of Salman Khan was in his more recent films like Partner and Salaam-E-Ishq. In both of those, I thought he came across as arrogant and was unimpressed with his acting skills. But after HAHK and Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam, I can finally say he's growing on me. The man can be really adorable, in a cheesy, Bollywoody, kind of way. And he's quite handsome, something I'd tried not to notice before. But I'm still a teensy bit confused about the acting part--Gosh, he just seemed so fake sometimes...like he was totally overemphasizing his words. Ironically, its this little flaw that's causing me to like him, since I'm seeing less arrogance and more vulnerabilty.
And, oh, yeah, did I mention Suraj was a famous singer? Well, he is, and this just kicks up the cheese factor about ten notches more... As these screencaps illustrate.
Here are Suraj's exact words: "Hey You, Beautiful Girl...I have this beautiful flower in my hand. I want to know which one of you will be lucky enough to get it...You, you, (points at Madhuri, who gives a fake surprised look), how about YOU?"...throws flower into crowd.
Yep, this is the man I liked best in the film. Go figure.
Ahh, onto Madhuri. The beautiful, graceful, talented Madhuri. I could never truly join in on her praises...I'd only seen a few films, and liked her in them, but never had that experience with her where my appreciation turned into affection. Now, that moment has finally arrived.
One of the major weaknesses in this film is that the script barely allows us to see how Radha truly feels. She mentions something sweet to herself on their wedding night, but after that, we are left to wonder if Gopal may be onto something with all his insecurities. The story is written mostly from Gopal's point of view, and his guess is as good as ours. Yet Madhuri does well with what she has to work with, and when the movie reaches its climax, we no longer have to question who she loves. It is literally written all over her face.
The supportive cast added a nice element, too, with Radha's brother Prashant (Atul Agnihotri) and his fixation on Amitabh Bachchan...
And Gopal's sister, Neeta (Suman Ranganathan), who sort of reminded me of Aishwarya Rai...
Then again, I'm always finding these random resemblances that nobody seems to agree with me on, so I guess I could be way off ;).
More cool elements? The beautiful picturization of the title song, "Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam", which is probably the one point in the film that Shahrukh made me swoon...And I saw more chemistry between him and Madhuri than I did in the entire length of Dil To Pagal Hai. I tried to take some screencaps, but none of them did any justice to what you actually see onscreen, so here's the YouTube video...The beginning looks like its a Ford commercial, but don't worry, it's not :)
I discovered on Wikipedia that this song was a copy of a Pakistani song (I always get excited when there's a Pakistani connection), "Boohey Bariyan", so I included this one for anybody who's interested...
I couldn't find the name for my second favorite song in the film, but it was a total nod to HAHK...The bedroom, Madhuri's outfit, the slick dance moves, it was all very dejavu. If there are more films with Salman and Madhuri in them, please let me know, because I'd probably buy them if somebody recommended them to me.
As for Salman and Shahrukh, they have little time alone onscreen together, but there is one little showdown that proved to be quite interesting. Salman's lines at the end were oddly humorous, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement, wondering why this was a little funny to watch. Maybe it had something to do with the onscreen rivalry between the two that the media hypes up, I don't know. Or maybe it was the expressions on their faces...Either way, it was a moment in Bollywood I'm glad I caught.
Towards the end of the film, Gopal's insecurities escalate to a point where he pretty much forces Radha to leave her own home. She is heartbroken, even at the verge of suicide, but Gopal is stubborn and will not budge. Guess who comes along to straighten all of this mess out...
Yep, that's right! Its the real Aishwarya Rai! She plays Suman, Suraj's blind girlfriend that nobody seems to talk much about up until this point. Somehow one visit from her magically makes Gopal see the light and realize what a gem of a wife he has.
It was kind of irritating that the writers chose Radha to nearly attempt suicide before Gopal comes riding in on his white horse and practically commands her to forgive him and return home. Of course, she does, and this lackluster ending just added to the mediocracy of the film.
I had a very high tolerance level for the film's flaws, due to my affection for the three lead actors. I forgave a lot here, and enjoyed a lot of the things I mentioned above. Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam was not what I expected, but worked in some ways, which is probably why I ended up typing more than I thought I would. I'd love to hear your thoughts, though!
And, oh, yeah, on the heels of Memsaab's post comes another lovely "Hinglish" (her word, not mine)screencap. Ahh, yes, in this movie we don't drink "7up", we drink "Thumbs Up" (And if that's an actual name for a soda in India, I apologize and someone can yell at me for my ignorance.).
Text © 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood