Earnest efforts indeed should not be torn apart or thrashed upon (even if they will not help the Bollywood box office much if at all). Itís safe to say that this product from Umesh Mehra has an earnest feel to it but lacks anything that distinguishes it from another normal film, let alone a film that introduces two new stars to Bollywood. Itís clearly another product gone wrong.
In fact, you shouldnít watch this film. Youíre bound to find many more flaws than I have listed and youíre bound to not be able to go through the entire film. It surely requires a lot of work or more so effort, much more than writing this review. However, every earnest effort deserves a chance, (famous last words).
First problem: Even before walking into cinemas, or getting the tape, youíre aware that the film is a love story (Yeh Mohabbat Hai, na?) Hence, the thought a film fan would have in their head is one of high hopes that the story would at least be different, unique or similar but enthralling at the same time. After hearing of the recent Yeh Dil Aashiqana and its terrorism, action and romance in one storyline, one would think, okay thatís nice. Yeh Mohabbat Hai tries to tell you, itís really nice. So much so that youíd want to see it again (or run to the theatres to see it a second time after the first?) Not a chance. The tale of a couple in love, Shaheen (Akanksha Malhotra) and Chand (Rahul Bhatt), encountering an obstacle in the form of twists of fate and terrorism could only be changed just so much so that the three weeks would wipe off the memory of the former film.
Second problem: Actors are the backbone of the films. Perhaps where the story didnít make up for, the acting would have. Hopefully. Yes, it is a debut film so that option of identifying with familiar actors is immediately wiped off. Not exactly, with Yeh Mohabbat Hai there is a large (actually really large, almost fifteen cast members of support in fact) support cast of familiar names, all wasted to that last minute of the film. Of them include, Arbaaz Khan (in a guest role, a step up?), Mohnish Behl (was this his last film before heading into television?), Gulshan Grover (A great actor wasted completely), Danny Denzongapa (a characterization out of context, even for him), Rakesh Bedi and even Johnny Lever. None add life to this film, but they do help the main players, those being introduced, stand out a little more. Mohnish Behl needs to stick to one genre of acting if he is still doing films; the villainous role doesnít suite him well.
Third Problem: Not that expectations were high from Umesh Mehra, but the script writing from his production team, the direction and the sewing together of what was to be a well-made film is lacking on his part. Surely his Khiladi flicks were made much better than this one. In fact, if we were watching one of his Khiladi films then the loopholes in this film wouldnít have seemed so big. After all, this is a love story no?
Counteracts: Anand Raj Anandís music is one of the best aspects of the film. Sure heís no Nadeem-Shravan ala Yeh Dil Aashiqana, but the songs romantic and peppy display an understanding of what was required of the flick. Itís no hit score but it compliments the film well. The cinematography, background score and look of the film are polished up pleasing to the eye. Most of them blend with Anandís score well, as in Chand Samne Hai (thought the scene was quite reminiscent of Chand Chupa Badal Main, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) and Piya Mila De. Dev Kohliís lyrics also serve a purpose, which counteracts the uneven pace otherwise. However, the music for this film never picked up at all. There was ample opportunity for it to as well. Itís not under-rated but itís not a washout. Another beneficial factor for the film is its pace. Itís really mediocre and at times the goings donít get extremely dull. For the most part, the film doesnít drag in the right places.
Neutralities: For a debut, both of the leads have performed as required. Akanksha Malhotra had a certain amount of weight on her shoulder with her being Bina Raiís granddaughter and all but itís the film that has her acting in an average category, much like any other actress out there. She definitely needs work to come to or even close to her grandmotherís applause.
Rahul Bhatt left a little more of an impression with confidence, however the same character muffling has affected his performance. The action-styled hero is out, especially for a debut. Weíll definitely need much more than this storyline to see what stuff he has. The actor, which leaves the realm of the Sony TV serial Henna for films, should show his hard work in films more worth it.
I think Yeh Mohabbat Hai and Yeh Dil Aashiqana were vying for release dates. Each had the same formula: fresh faces, terrorism with action and love, potential hit scores. Both took equally as long to release but Yeh Dil Aashiqana managed to steal the limelight from this otherwise completely dull film. Hopefully, just hopefully, this is the end of terrorism and love in Bollywood.