Don´t cry for me Karisma Kapoor! Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya already had you shed enough tears to put the monsoons to shame. And it is, after all, the duty of a critic to sit through trashy flicks once in a while. One ought to feel sadder for poor Suneel Darshan, whose brother Dharmesh wasted his hard earned money, to direct this tale of moronic people in convoluted situations.
So where does one start? Oh yeah… Pooja (Karisma Kapoor) and Shiv (Abhishek Bachchan) are a couple of New Delhi youngsters competing for the same job. The insecure chick eliminates her male competition by conning him into believing she’s the boss’s daughter. A dozen lame jokes and one very long hour later, Shiv too ends up working for the same company. His revenge on Pooja (and the audience) is to marry her. And so she immediately quits the job we forever watched them bicker over. Huh?
Problems ensue when we realize Shiv is a bit of a naïve boy prone to being hit on by some mighty fine, yet aggressive women in the oddest of places. Good Lord, they’re all over him all the time. Shiv’s milkmaid, a lady on the “big wheel” at the fair and even a college chum in a Swiss hotel, each lady takes advantage of the married lad. And the jealous wife that she is, Pooja confronts him at every corner. (The poor girl probably had nothing better to do sitting around at home waiting for hubby to return every day. What great use for all those educational degrees she earned.) Shiv, the “guy” that he is though, eventually gets all wet with an old college mate (Simone Singh), giving his wife ample justification to leave him. In case we aren’t clear what just happened in that Pooja yelling in the courtroom sequence, the intermission sign is replaced by the big fat word “DIVORCE” separating our couple on the screen.
When we return from the washroom break and our short visit to reality, Pooja takes a job in Mumbai working as the new secretary for film star Raj Malhotra (Akshay Kumar). And before you can cough “Rangeela rip-off”, the guy reveals he is smitten by the girl’s ability to look like a zillion bucks even though she carries a permanent scowl on her face. Raj obviously proposes and Pooja accepts. But what will happen when fate again intervenes and Shiv finds out what his ex-wife is about to do? They meet again, of course, at the same type of establishment that caused them to drift apart. (Guess he was encouraged by him previous romp.) Like I said, you should know the answer! Cough! Cough! Wink! Wink!
That, dear viewers, is the ludicrous world of Dharmesh Darshan’s Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya. Where men and women sitting in the comfort of a car during a little snowfall, can suddenly become wetter than fish walking to the door of their motel room. Where amusement park safety officials have no clue about evacuating passengers off their rides should the electricity disappear for a few hours. And where no guy casts a second glance at the hot looking heroine, but all the ladies on the planet want a piece of the clueless hero. (Methinks it has something to do with his uncanny physical resemblance to a Legend named Amitabh Bachchan.) I can forgive the first few cinematic liberties, but that last one is unbelievable. (Just kidding.)
For all the efforts Karisma Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Abhishek Bachchan put into providing some credibility and enjoyment to the proceedings, it does not work. The performances are not faulty, but the characters are. Bachchan Junior has even improved his acting skills tenfold since his debut, but who cares when the product he chooses to display the improvements is so vapid. Even the comedic potential of Raj´s servant threesome (Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Himani Shivpuri) falls flat on its face.
W.B. Rao’s camera-work, Raju Khan’s simple choreography and Manish Malhotra’s dynamite look for Karisma (somewhat similar to the Raja Hindustani style), it’s all great. But again, who really cares?
Dharmesh Darshan has made a couple of great flicks in his career and a couple of really bad ones, the Raj Kapoor-ish Dhadkan being his best. Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya on the spectrum is more comparable to the despicable Mela.
In times like these though, how greatly do I envy the position of the regular film-goer! At least you guys have the option of leaving the cinema hall whenever you want. There’s a brilliant line of advice in Haan Maine Bhi Pyaar Kiya, when Pooja’s friend Neha (Navneet Nishan) offers, “If you think about it, you have endured a lot recently. But if you don’t think about it, then you haven’t endured anything.” Huh? I’m not sure what it all means, but I am taking Neha’s advice. But it is quite hard not to think about it.