Friday, 9 December 2011

Tere Naam

Directed by: Satish Kaushik
Starring: Salman Khan, Bhumika Chawla
Released: 2003
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing

I had no idea what the story or genre was beforehand. All I have seen were several Salman pictures and his awful greasy mess of hair had me expecting something about a killer escaping from jail. I was pleasantly surprised when I realized it was going to be a love story. And I was even more happy to find out, it was an intense love story, because if something is really missing in the post-90s Bollywood, it is the intensity of love stories. Sure, there are exceptions like Devdas, Veer-Zaara, but they are rather scarce. Tere Naam is one of these exceptions.

Radhe Mohan seems like kind of a useless piece of existence. He graduated a long time ago, but still spends his days at collage, roaming its grounds and being the highest authority among students. He has no job (of course), but he has a bunch of loyal friends and one helluva repulsive hairstyle. His macho image is constantly re-newed by occasional (but harmless) bullying of the newcomers and beating the heck up of harmful bullies. He lives with his elder brother and his family, but the relationship with brother is not exactly good as the elder one does not like Radhe to live off him. He does not understand him, his lifestyle or hairstyle and considers him an intentional trouble maker. 
Channeling the Hippies.
Nirjara could not be seemingly more different. Coming from a Brahmin family, quiet, reserved, shy, traditional, devoted and dutiful daughter of a priest, she has just entered the collage. Radhe decides to tease her, making her giving up her lunch for him and ordering her to salute him whenever they meet – and to his amazement Nirjara not only obey every single thing he says, but at the same time does even more, acting in her own demure and fragile way, being naturally scared (of Radhe´s hair I guess) and her fear growing by day as Radhe´s infatuation with her rises and his attempts to be nice to her thus fail.
The best song. But the music overal was great.
There are lot or tender moments showing beautifully Radhe´s gentle side when it comes to Nirjara, like him letting her repeating a poem over and over again, without noticing she has finished a long time ago, and the deep distress it´s causing her. But as his love remains unrequired, it is turning into an obsessive kind of a relationship, resulting in Nirjara´s kidnapping, threatening her and finally breaking down and feeling helpless. At this point in the film it all finally turns from a common love story to an intense one – and Nirjara finally reciprocates. Only to have her heart broken minutes later, when Radhe gets involved in a fight and his severe head injury turns him into a living vegetable...
There were times when he missed his hair.....
The first half, as I have already said, was a timepass, a LOT degraded by the terrible hair for which I have not find any excuse whatsoever and as you can see will probably never recover from the shock it gave me. Salman looked ironically a lot more damaged then in the second half, where he is supposed to suffer both mentally and physically. The ending of the film was definitely moving and unexpected. Why not 10 out of 10? Sadly not only Salman´s hair is to be blamed. As intense and even thrilling as the second part was, it had some serious loopholes that bothered me. I couldn´t help but wonder why when Radhe came to his senses, he simply didn´t talk to any of the guards? Instead he tries to run away, hurting the guards and himself in the process – making himself look like a madman even more. Also - the iron rounds around his head, feet and hands were all loose and he could have very easily slip out of them - yet he kept them on. And when he hurts his leg - he is left alone without any medical care. WTF? And when Nirjara comes to see him, she just looks at him lying injured there, cries and goes home. No attempt to communicate with him, no attempt to get him some treatment. We could argue she was too shocked, but still...
Your boyfriend is injured and in a madhouse.
Let´s cry and leave.
Salman Khan did impress me, definitely one of his best performances - and makes me even more sad now that I know he really can be good - but he doesn´t give a damn. Bhumika Chawla brough a lot of freshness and sensitivity into the story. She is far cry from perfect models with perfect bodies and faces we have grown accustomed to see on the screen, yet she is beautiful. Her looks scream fragile and it makes only more sense that someone as worldly as Radhe would fall for a girl like this, who must have seem like an apparition to him. Her last act disturbed me greatly though, as I could not really grasp why would she do what she did after agreeing she should live and be happy for her father and others, but than – that was the intensity of a feeling, which in the end makes Tere Naam a great film and a great love story.
Everything was forgiven by this point. His obsessiveness, his bullying... even the hair.