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Starring: Jackie Shroff, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Amrish Puri
Director: Subhash Ghai
Rating: *

Subhash Ghai seems to have lost it—Yaadein is the kind of movies which make you wonder whether he had given the director's chair to some second or third grade assistant while he concentrated on marketing its bits and pieces. The manner in which he's allowed the film to become an ad platform is not funny at all—Jackie Shroff is a father trying to be friends with three motherless nri-type daughters. But the medium he chooses to show his emotions is Coca Cola—right from the moments spent with his late wife, supposed to be intimate and personal, to the time when he faces an emotional crisis over his daughters, he produces a can, or a key-ring of the ubiquitous drink. Hero Hrithik Roshan follows suit—apart from Coke, he uses Pass Pass mouth-freshener while expressing love for his beloved, Kareena Kapoor, Shroff's uppity daughter who suddenly discovers she loves Roshan in Malaysia during a cycle race competition sponsored by, you guessed it right, Hero cycles. Even ad films boast of a better script, or style, than what is shown here—they try to interweave their product in the theme, taking care not to overdo the publicity bit. Subhash Ghai, in contrast, exhibits Coke as a lifeless prop; worse, he fails to build any sort of credible situation for its utility. This is sheer bad publicity—Ghai has ruined a chance to actually lure big brands to cinema. He should have taken a leaf out of movies like What Women Want, which publicised Nike without seeming to do so.

As a film, Yaadein has nothing to offer—the 'story' rehashes the nri formula, without even bothering to go into the rigours of building the character or the plot. Films like DDLJ and KKHH at least had good locations and costumes—Yaadein's locations never come to life, and the costumes are gaudy and hilarious. Kareena wears a misplaced lungi over shorts in one scene while Hrithik ties a comical shirt over a round collared T-shirt in another. The most incredible part, however, is the way scenes are framed—it is like you are watching a C-grade film where the only intention is to place the camera in front of the actors, without proper lighting or sense of composition. Certain shots appear as if they are pasted from an outside source, especially the ones showing a crocodile 'chasing' Kareena. What's happening at Mukta Arts?

Except for the lead song, Anu Malik's music is a washout. Even the actors are wasted—Jackie Shroff's 'best' performance is probably his worst, while both Kareena and Hrithik seem more like victims of misdirection. Yaadein's brutal failure, in a way, also reflects the splintering of the '90s nri mush, where they played around with vague concepts without paying heed to the narrative. Since storytelling is right back in the reckoning, Yaadein's fate will give sleepless nights to other big banners waiting in the queue with their time-worn love stories.

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