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Hum Kaun Hai Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Thursday, September 9, 2004 • Hindi ]
Hum Kaun Hai Review
Cast:
Amitabh Bachchan, Dimple Kapadia, Moushumi Chatterjee, Dharmendra,Hansika Motwani
Direction:
Ravi Shankar Sharma

This disastrous trans-creation of Alejandro Amenabar's "The Others" - the only Hindi adaptation since Govind Menon's "Khwahish" to borrow almost every frame and word from the original - is redeemed from inevitable doom by the strong and persuasive central presence of Dimple Kapadia.

She's one of the few performers in Bollywood who has the ability to look dignified and devastatingly in-character even in the worst of times. And this one is admittedly the bottom of the barrel, for no other major reason except the fact that it regurgitates the original material without a thought for indigenous suitability.

Though they speak in Hindi, the characters seem to be thinking in the English language. Their manner and their attitude suggest a huge chasm between their speech and thought. Also, the director seems to have placed the plot in frozen time. Kapadia and her two children live in a mansion - crumbling in "The Others", rather suspiciously spick-and-span in this remake.

The elder child, a precocious girl (Hansika Motwani) keeps 'seeing' spirits in the house. Wish we could see something more exciting than Kapadia's glossy hair which frames her astonishingly lucid face like a luminescent photo frame.

At least someone gets into the spirit of things in this lusterless stroll into spookiness. Dimple seems to have got into the ghoulish groove without being the least influenced by Nicole Kidman's unforgettably smothered performance in the original.

The rest of the cast seems to have studied the original (and extremely disturbing) film in minute detail.

Moushumi Chatterjee as the nanny narrows her eyes into sniggering slits and curls up her lips to share secret jokes with herself. Maybe she knows something we don't and should've known before venturing in for this film.

The scenes that bring Kapadia and Chatterjee together can be watched strictly in the optical sense. Cinematographer Ishwar Bidri captures the two beautiful women with affection.

But the film is let down by its lighting patterns. We're repeatedly told that Kapadia's children are photophobic. But the frames are constantly flooded with artificial light. This is a compromise necessitated by the quality of film projection in the smaller cities. It's also an indication of why "The Others" should've never been made into Hindi.

The theme is too peculiar to the culture it describes to render a tenable trans-creation. The characters appear to shuffle in a vacuum, looking more zapped than the spooky ambience demands.

Blessedly there're no songs to break the plot...though on second thoughts, there should have been some diversion from the original material to give this remake a native touch.

Kapadia carries the film beyond where it would have been otherwise.

But pray tell, what's Bachchan doing in the film?! Not only is he utterly mismatched with Kapadia, he looks thoroughly ill-at-ease playing father to pre-teen kids. The romantic interlude between the couple done in a flashback looks added on to give the frightening film a more filled-out look.

Towards the end, Dharmendra, looking extremely frail, shows up to share screen space with Bachchan. Their dialogues sound like a badly written play on the waves of nostalgia.

Though in isolation, no one gives a bad performance, none of the cast connects with one another, not even the little girl and boy who play the stunned siblings.

By the time the ghouls in human form show up to claim the 'living' characters, the plot has already reached a grave stage.

"Hum Kaun Hain" ends up looking like a fish out of water. The chilling a

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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