May 24, 2002 
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Shah Rukh Khan
Two's company, three's jealousy
Of Hum Tumhare Hai Sanam and love triangles

Anita Bora

Mix a medium-sized dose of love with a big dash of suspicion. Add to it several scoops of friendship. Towards the end, add a few drops of humour.

To top it all, add a cherry in the form of Salman Khan. What do you get? A cocktail intoxicating enough to keep an audience captivated for three hours.

Let's start at the beginning.

For some reason only known to Alok Nath, daughter (Aruna Irani) walks out of her home along with her two kids (Radha and Prashant). She brings up her two kids and an adopted one (Suraj) on her own after her husband dies. Nath, on the other hand, brings up two kids (Gopal and Neeta) entrusted to his care by a deceased friend.

Cut to the present. The children have grown up. Nath suffers a heart attack. Hearing the tragic news, Aruna rushes with her daughter Radha (Madhuri Dixit), but is killed in an accident before she reaches.

Motherless, Radha and her doting Amitabh Bachchan fan brother Prashant (Atul Agnihotri) are given shelter by their grandfather. All this happens before you can blink your eyes, but that is because they want to get on with the story.

Alok Nath tells one of the children Gopal (Shah Rukh Khan) --- who has now grown into a successful businessman --- that he has chosen his bride, Radha. Gopal agrees.

Shah Rukh and Madhuri in HTHS Without wasting much time to get to know each other (they were childhood friends, after all), they are bound by holy matrimony.

Trouble starts from the day they marry. Gopal discovers his innocent bride loves a lot of people. We would think this is obvious since Radha has only known Gopal for one-and-a-half days of her adult life (not counting her childhood). Gopal is miffed.

Things get worse when Gopal meets Suraj (Salman Khan), Radha's childhood friend, and discovers they share a strong bond. Gopal's suspicion builds as he catches his wife having conversations with Suraj once too often. Five calls a day, he counts. She also calls Suraj when she needs a friend to talk to. And he comes over whenever he is bored.

Gopal soon gets obsessed to the point of not thinking straight. He starts imagining things. He accuses Prashant of stealing and slaps his sister Neeta (Suman Ranganathan) in his rage. Radha, meanwhile, is blissfully unaware of the fact that her husband needs a little more attention than Suraj.

Is Gopal overreacting? Is Suraj being too friendly with Radha? Is Radha ignoring her husband and his needs?

The premise of the film is simple. Jealousy. If you discount the fact the 'falling in love' was instant (but when is it not?), the topic is quite interesting. Haven't we all at some point read too much into situations, overreacted, undergone pangs of jealousy that seem downright silly later?

Shah Rukh and Madhuri in HTHS Unfortunately, Gopal is unable to deal with his doubts and starts alienating Radha. She cannot understand his mood swings and temper. The dam bursts. He cannot take it any longer and confesses that he does not like his wife's continuing friendship with Suraj and her obvious affection and preference for him.

One does feel sorry for Gopal who looks like someone who needs a hug. Shah Rukh Khan does a good job and thankfully does not go overboard. He does well in the simple scenes that require subtle nuances --- like objecting to phone interruptions, packing his father off to a pilgrimage or getting annoyed when Suraj calls and disturbs a husband-wife moment.

He is not a bad guy, just possessive and thinks his wife's priorities should be 'him' first. He smokes incessantly and cannot deal with the situation. Watch out for scenes of a very drunk Shah Rukh talking to the statue of a horse and the confrontation with Salman. Madhuri shares good screen chemistry with both her costars. She breezes through the film with her usual charm and innocent smile.

Salman Khan is actually likeable in this role as Radha's extrovert friend. Be prepared for three Salman Khan songs where he spares us by not shedding his attire. The music is catchy, but except the title track no song leaves a lasting impact. The dance numbers are strictly okay.

The question remains: who is right? Suraj, who should have given the couple some space; Radha, who should be more sensitive or Gopal, who should be more understanding of a childhood friendship?

The answer is a surprise package. Which means I cannot spill the beans.

Intoxicating cocktail? Perhaps not. But it is an interesting topic to tackle. A remake of the Tamil movie Thotta Chinungi [starring Revathy], directed by K S Adhiyaman, this film has been in the news because of the time it has taken --- almost five years in the making.

Some inconsistencies in the quality of the film may be an indication of the fact that the film nearly did not see daylight. There is also no visible aging of the characters.

If you do venture out into the halls for this one, take lots of popcorn. And a suspicious spouse.


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