By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Hope Aur Hum”; Director: Sudip Bandopadhyay; Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni, Bina Banerjee, Aamir Bashir, Naveen Kasturia, Kabir Shaikh; Rating: **
“Everything happens when it is destined to happen,” this dialogue and its essence is often repeated in this film while discussing the problem of old age, be it a man or machine.
Debutant Director Sudip Bandopadhyay’s “Hope Aur Hum” is a slice-of-life film that drills the theme of destiny and change, in practically every scene of the film.
It is a competently told, plain and simple tale of ordinary people in ordinary circumstances.
It is a film about fate in an age that does not believe in fate. The innocuous title even reflects the film’s vision.
The characters have no motives and any criticism of this film on the basis of its realism misses the point and this is the film’s major weakness. Also the pace of the narrative is frustrating. It makes you restless as the plot is timid, outdated, forced and trudges on the middle path.
Set in the suburb of a city, the film portrays the life of the Srivastava family, who are cramped up in a small-compact one storied house. Space is definitely a constraint. The house is occupied by the widower Nagesh (Naseeruddin Shah) and his married son Neeraj (Aamir Bashir) who lives along with his family.
To enhance the tale, we have Neeraj’s younger, unmarried brother Nitin (Naveen Kasturia) who visits them from Dubai. Apart from gifts for the family, he lands up with his baggage of issues; he misplaces his phone and desperately tries to locate it.
As the film opens we are informed that Nagesh runs a photo-copying business on the ground floor. He operates with an obsolete machine, which malfunctions practically every day. His customers are disgusted with him for the bad quality output his machine produces.
His daughter-in-law Aditi (Sonali Kulkarni), has an ulterior motive when she cajoles her husband Neeraj to convince his father to give up his business. But Nagesh is adamant. Emotionally hooked, he prefers to cling on to his oft-failing German brand machine.
Till one fine day, Nitin takes the reigns in his hands and replaces the out-dated machine with the latest digital photo-copying machine. That sets the stage for reconciliation.
Similarly one notices a change in the graph of Nagesh’s grandson Anu, who from a bubbly little boy turns into a scared, reticent child till he is told to fight his own demons.
Kabir Sajid as Anu definitely steals the limelight from all his co-stars. The child actor is simply endearing. He emotes like an ace, delivers his dialogues brilliantly and holds his stead against stalwarts like Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkani and Aamir Bashir.
The film boasts of moderate production values. The background score by Rupert Fernandez is bright and chirpy. The songs; “Aache bachche rote nahin” and “Aye Zindagi” snuggly mesh into the narrative.
Overall, the film is slight too flat and straight. (IANS)