ApunKaChoice : Bollywood


HelloHello - Movie Review
10th Oct 2008  23.00 IST
By Naresh K. D.  

A disclaimer first. This reviewer has not read Chetan Bhagat's 'One Night @ the Call Centre', and after watching Atul Agnihotri's celluloid adaptation of the bestseller novel, he is all the more happy to have not read the book.

Hello starts with a thud as a fully clothed Salman Khan jumps off a chopper and dances to 'Bang Bang Bang' on a stage where - needless to say - he takes off his shirt to flaunt his finely waxed chest and abs to a crowd of swooning and fainting girls. Thereafter, the rockstar (Salman is, we're told) in his long leather overcoat and conspicuously visible hair implants retires to a lounge to rest while a technical snag in his chopper is being fixed. There and then, walks in a beauty ( Katrina Kaif ) who tells him a story.

It's a tale set in one rainy night, a tale of six individuals whose lives - in a remarkable coincidence - hit rock bottom during the course of the night.

Shyam ( Sharman Joshi ) is trying to lead a team at the call centre even as he deals with his personal heartbreak. The girl he loves, his colleague Priyanka ( Gul Panag ), is getting hitched to an NRI yuppie in USA.

There is Vroom ( Sohail Khan ) who loves bikes and has a crush on his co-worker Esha ( Isha Koppikar ) who wants to be a model and doesn't mind making a few compromises to get a lucky break.

There is anti-depression pill-popping Radhika ( Amrita Arora ) who lives with an ill-tempered mother-in-law and a husband ( Arbaaz Khan ) who's never at home. And lastly there's Military Uncle ( Sharat Saxena ) who loves his NRI grandson so much that he always carries a framed picture of the lad.

As these six individuals work the night away (though not without a fair number of system breakdowns) their tangled lives are exposed, hidden truths revealed, and there comes a point in the story when their lives hang in balance...until a divine cellular intervention sets the things straight.

'HELL-o' works in fits and starts. It works when you have Sharman Joshi and Sohail Khan showing their comic flair and Gul Panag showing her bosom through the low neck lines. It plods when a high-voiced Amrita Arora and an oddly-dressed Isha Koppikar ham as if they were competing among themselves.

It works when you hear some finely penned dialogues like the one that comes before Sharman makes love to Gul at the back of a car. She asks him if he is carrying a condom (the word's muted) and he replies - "Do saal se purse mein lekar ghoom raha hoon, expiry date check kar loon".

To be fair, 'Hello' has flashes of good humour. But they are mere flashes clouded by a vague and over-the-top screenplay in which the six employees gang up against their America-loving boss ( Dilip Tahil ) and manage to retain their jobs by - guess what? - spreading a rumour throughout the US.

God Bless America.

The movie could have done much better without the songs. Not only are they a strain on your ears, they are unwelcome bumps in the story. Atull Agnihotri 's direction is pretty plain. He fails to build up tension and a sense of anticipation in his telling of the story. The film keeps losing steam in the second half and you hope for some divine intervention to turn its course around as it approaches the end. Sadly, there is none. And by the time the end credits roll, you feel like borrowing some of Radhika's anti-depression pills.

Sorry Chetan Bhagat! You might be a terrific novelist but your screenplay in 'Hello' is ho-hum at best.

But, as God in the movie said, to fail is important. And I hope you'll spring back with something more interesting next time. Till then, good luck and Godspeed.

Rating: **

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