He’s never looked hotter and never played a more despicable character. Or that at least is what I think as a woman. Parents of eligible daughters, meet your nightmare. Well, the girl will never get to meet the parents and that’s how the movie starts. Haven’t we met them before, the commitment-phobic?
This is a bittersweet movie about a flailing relationship that doesn’t go anywhere, mainly because our protagonist, music producer with a golden touch, Ishaan (John Abraham) is a self-centered and self-destructive SOB, the center and blackhole of his own universe.
His girlfriend Anushka (the beautiful Chitrangada Singh from Desi Boyz and Inkaar) a successful professional in her own rights, has had it with him, his empty promises, his hedonistic life-style. He doesn’t know it, but there is an ultimatum in the air. She gets dressed up to meet his parents, he forgets all about it partying and drinking after-hours.
Anushka means business and for her a no is a no and shuts him out of her life, figuratively and literally. Even though the movie applauds the manifesto of “hey, I don’t need you. I can figure it out on my own,” none of the female characters is flawless or very likeable. Each character is actually pretty lonely and struggles with their own demons and their own narcissistic tendencies. I couldn’t warm up to any and yet, could relate to their strengths and their weaknesses, their humanity. Often we don’t mean to be hurtful and just don’t think things through, the ramifications of our behavior.
After being fed to the dogs, Ishaan seems to find new love and outlook on life when he gets to know more intimately his new neighbor, Gauri, played by Prachi Desai. But even this relationship is flawed. In his professional life, Ishaan doesn’t score much better. His boss is a woman with her own S&M fantasies (slightly wardrobe challenged Raima Sen). We can’t even celebrate her higher salary and position because she is not much nicer than Ishaan and seems just vindictive.
And then there is still Ishaan’s overpowering and overindulging mother, who clearly favored her son over her daughter from the getgo. since he was the younger of the siblings, did she feel the need to protect him or is it that she favored in good old tradition the male progeny?
We know little about the sister other than she sides with Anushka, not her brother, which isn’t difficult to understand.
Relationships leave marks and sometimes have consequences. The film offers a window into difficult and uncomfortable solutions. When we walk out of the theater, there is no sense of elation. The movie attempts to close on a high note, but we don’t buy it.
This is not a high-five type of a movie. But this is exactly what I appreciate about it. Once again John Abraham doesn’t shy away from a role that makes him appear unlikeable. Even though I must say he has never looked hotter and made my heart stop more than once with his brooding masculinity. Deep down he represents these dangerous type of men good girls are attracted to. And somewhere inside of him he might have caught a glimpse of familiarity with the dark side of his character. He played Ishaan with ease.
This movie reminds us to be better, as lovers, as friends, as mates. So it comes with a message. It’s almost a dialogue opener between the sexes, between partners. What do we want from each other, what are our expectations? What is acceptable, what not?
I liked the conclusion of the movie. It was painfully realistic. Therefore I believe it won’t be a big box office success. For some reason I gravitate towards those.
On another level, I liked the nuanced cinematography. It’s a promising directorial debut for Kapil Sharma. Not a novice in the film industry, this is his first gig as director. Promising.
Writer Devika Bhagat has written some fabulous screen-plays, like Manorama 6f u.Bachna Ae Haseena, Aisha, Ladies vs RB, JTHJ..
Even though Devika takes a women-centric stance she still doesn’t lose perspective. We have our weaknesses too. I like that about her characters. Never comes out more than in this movie. Aisha was such a mix of likeable, manipulating, shallow and earnest.
However, her characters put their foot down and are unafraid, facing a challenging world upfront. Gone are the times in India that women smile bashfully through abuses. Anushka, Gauri, even the mother are decision-makers and won’t get bullied into submission.
Devika Bhagat writes for contemporary women, encouraging them to come into their own. Yet, a reconciling middle-ground should be the goal. I wouldn’t like to see male chauvinism being replaced by female chauvinism.We can find a seed of that threat in I, Me aur Main.