India Insight

Movie Review: ‘Lekar Hum Deewana Dil’ is an insipid disaster

July 4, 2014

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Director Arif Ali’sLekar Hum Deewana Dil” will try your patience from the word go, so here’s a game you can play to make the experience more tolerable. It’s called ‘Spot the Movie’ and its rules are simple: name the films that this particular snorefest reminds you of. I promise you, there’ll be many.

In “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil”, Karishma Shetty (Deeksha Seth) and Dinesh ‘Dino’ Nigam (Armaan Jain) are college classmates in Mumbai who get along like a house on fire. Everyone else is convinced they are in love but the lead pair says they are just good friends. Such good friends that Karishma begs Dino to marry her to avoid the arranged marriage her rich, tyrannical father has planned for her. They elope when neither family consents to the match.

With little money and an unfinished education, it doesn’t make sense. But what is an eloping Bollywood couple if not ridiculously optimistic? The two travel deep into the country’s heartland. One of their stops is Dantewada in the state of Chhattisgarh, where they spend time with and even shake a leg for – hold your breath – a bunch of friendly Maoist rebels. Egos clash, quarrels ensue and things fall apart in general before there is enlightenment and reconciliation.

Before the film’s release, Arif Ali said his treatment of “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil” set it apart from other movies in the elopement genre. That’s a promise reneged. Everything happens exactly how you expect it to be. Dino is the happy-go-lucky but loyal friend; Karishma is amiable but morphs into an irrational person who blames Dino for everything when things go wrong. There are gender stereotypes too – a pair of lawyers counsels the couple, saying it’s normal for women to nag, and that if the woman’s attitude becomes grounds for separation, then every marriage would end in divorce. The parents are predictably unyielding and old-fashioned.

Armaan Jain, the latest from the Raj Kapoor clan to join Bollywood, disappoints with his laboured acting and has a lot to learn from cousins Ranbir and Kareena. Deeksha Seth bears an uncanny resemblance to actress Genelia DSouza. You cannot decide which annoys you more: her over-the-top enthusiasm or her inexplicable hatred for the hero. Both Armaan and Deeksha struggle to deliver their lines and may benefit from sessions in voice modulation and dialogue delivery. Sudeep Sahir, the actor playing Dino’s elder brother, stands out with a credible performance as the responsible, patient sibling. Everyone else is forgettable.

I did like a few things about the movie. The scenes between Dino and his brother are endearing. The camera work is elegant and the choice of locations inspired. A.R. Rahman’s music is uneven but dazzles at times – Khalifa works perfectly as the movie’s peppy opening number, and if you could look past its bizarre picturisation, Mawwali Qawwali lends the film its most energetic minutes.

Go for “Lekar Hum Deewana Dil” if clichéd plots, bad acting and occasional bursts of actual fun do the trick for you.

(Follow Anupriya on Twitter @anupriyakumar; This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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