Films do not get any more fun than Mukul S. Anand´s super-hit Hum. Made clearly for the masses and the young-at-heart, it is hard to forget the euphoria generated at cinemas and video parlors the world over when this movie originally released in 1991. Whether it was the great Amitabh Bachchan, the multi-multi-multi-star cast, the "Jooma Chooma" craze or the glossy attraction of the previews, everyone had a reason to throng to see it. And with just cause!
Stories don´t get more feel-good than this one. It is based on the trials and tribulations of a man named Tiger (Amitabh Bachchan) and his responsibility towards his family. Tiger´s dad serves as henchman for evil overlord Bakhtawar Seth (Danny Denzongpa) and takes the fall for his boss´s murderous acts, in the process destroying his family´s impoverished but content lifestyle. So Tiger´s step-mother´s dying wish is that he escapes Mumbai´s dark chawls with his two young step-brothers to start a new, honest life with them far, far away.
Years pass and Tiger succeeds in his goal by raising his brothers (Rajnikant & Govinda) on a secluded farm away from the city. But life goes awry when Bakhtawar Seth is released after years of imprisonment and decides to avenge his own family´s death in a house fire, which he believes was Tiger´s doing. Yep, there are enough twists and turns in the plot to baffle even soap-opera fans, but Mukul Anand carries it off with such grace and conviction. I view it as the true inspiration for the family values which were purported to have started with 1994´s over-rated Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Hum is far better than the latter flick because its characters are much more humane and flawed than those of Sooraj Barjatya´s utopian marriage world.
Hum is clearly a fairy-tale flick, decorated with tons of glamour and gloss. Yet it works on all cinematic levels thanks to Amitabh Bachchan´s mesmerizing performance, a very classy technique and entertaining music.
Amitabh Bachchan excelled in each component of his movie trilogy with Mukul Anand, but this movie presented the most lovable of the Vijay Dinanath Chauhan (Agneepath), Tiger and Baadshah Khan (Khuda Gawah) characters, and gave the legend a rare chance to play his own age for a large chunk of the movie. Here was a man embarrassed by his reckless youth, who is determined to somehow address the guilt by becoming a disciplinarian family leader in raising his younger siblings. It is a rare opportunity to see a believable character, and Amitabh literally carries parts of the flick on his shoulders by rising to the challenge. (Audiences did not notice the deviation from Amitabh´s angry-young-man image because Anand handled it brilliantly by introducing Tiger as a young rebel and converting him into the family head with justification thereafter.)
You have got to witness the awe-inspiring technical credits in this movie to believe them. They still put some movies of today to shame. From the flashy and flamboyant opening credits, which introduce us to the stars with musical panache to the continuously ethereal view of the world through W.B. Rao´s camera lens, Hum also deserves credit for making films more visually appealing to Hindi audiences.
And finally, the music of Hum is also a landmark. From the eve-teasing trends initiated courtesy "Jooma Chooma De De", to the sensuous lull of "Sanam Mere Sanam", to the familial-bonding theme of "Ek Dusre Se Karte Hain Pyar Hum", Laxmikant Pyarelal reinforced their orchestral domination of movies in the eighties and early-nineties. There is a hidden message in Mukul S. Anand´s Hum that students and connoisseurs of Hindi cinema such as myself have learnt. Fun and frivolous movies can be just as memorable as the meaningful ones. Savour it if you still have not had the chance.