Director: Anubhav Sinha
Cast: Neha Sharma, Aditya Seal, Aashim Gulati
I was in my early teens when I came across Tum Bin, a sleeper hit in 2001. Nikhil-Vinay’s lilting soundtrack (who can forget Jagjit Singh’s Koi Fariyaad?), combined with Canada’s snow-clad locales and debutant Sandali Sinha’s exquisitely designed tears made Anubhav Sinha’s first film a fairly memorable one.
I still remember the first names of the three actors – Priyanshu (Chatterjee), Himanshu (Malik) and Rakesh (Bapat). For fifteen years, watching the director’s career plunge to B-grade depths, I feared this day would come. He has turned back to his first and only watchable film, determined to fashion a franchise out of a concept as dated as the special effects in this film.
As with most sequels, only the theme bears any sort of continuity: Man (Aashim Gulati – an uncanny love-child of Sidharth Malhotra and Gulshan Devaiah) dies in accident, woman (perpetual B-movie A-lister, Neha Sharma) grieves, unknowingly falls for man’s repentant killer (Aditya Seal), man returns (because missing comatose bodies aren’t ever reported), conflicted woman is ping-ponged between you-first male egos, eventually ending up as a suicidal wreck.
He has turned back to his first and only watchable film, determined to fashion a franchise out of a concept as dated as the special effects in this film.
The last part is half-true. Or it should be. Plenty of glycerin is utilized. Who cares about what a lady feels when two noble men are willing to sacrifice her for the sake of a T-series album?1
Also, maybe it’s time for Indian filmmakers to understand that long-term comatose patients don’t exactly have the time to work out in a gym.1 A bit of authenticity, perhaps by way of losing some weight and muscle, wouldn’t hurt one bit. A stubble and curly hair – not quite. Also, another request would be to stop depicting positive transformation by giving Bollywood heroines a bottle and a drunken song. Given the amount of men that fall for them during these songs, you’d think alcoholism is the cure and not the disease.
This time, it’s lovely Edinburgh (Scotland) that bears the brunt of commercial nostalgia. And this time, snow is the cold protagonist. Whenever an actor looks out of depth, snow appears, making Scotland look like Greenland.
Ubiquitous snowflakes – fake, wet, dry, salty, sugary and otherwise – crowd every dramatic frame. They’re so white and persistent that if they were allowed to vote across the ocean, Donald Trump would be sworn in as their leader. Their introduction is not very promising though: when man is skiing down from a cliff early on, he looks like one of those 1950s black-and-white heroes in a car with cardboard-backgrounds whizzing by.
Ubiquitous snowflakes – fake, wet, dry, salty, sugary and otherwise – crowd every dramatic frame. They’re so white and persistent that if they were allowed to vote across the ocean, Donald Trump would be sworn in as their leader.
This incident looks so ridiculously shabby that one wonders how Shah Rukh Khan ever placed the ultra-expensive superhero saga, Ra.One, under Sinha’s control. Why conceive of such ambitious accidents when there’s no technical understanding of execution? Why not just have the man slip fatally on tiles made slippery by the othe2r man’s criminal act of public urination? Far more doable. And believable.
Also, maybe it’s time for Indian filmmakers to understand that long-term comatose patients don’t exactly have the time to work out in a gym.
I should have known as soon as a pre-film acknowledgment appears: Love you all, Tum Bin crew. I’m not sure if many are aware, but there’s this particularly shady film-industry habit of some folks to end phone calls not with “goodbye” but “love you, love you, love you sir/madam”. This is in line with casual “meri jaan” or “darling” endearments used in courteous tones. I presume the makers of this sequel are familiar with these sorts of greetings. Tum Bin 2, at 148 stretched minutes, is the cinematic embodiment of this vernacular – dubious, flimsy and utterly unnecessary. I just hope its actors recover and make more practical choices. There is no such thing as an honorable Indian film sequel anymore, unless your name is S.S. Rajamouli.