Film: Mujhse Dosti Karoge
Rating: * (Avoidable)
Director: Kunal Kohli
Starring: Hritik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Kareena Kapoor, Uday Chopra
"Dear Karan (read Johar), Thank You, Kunal (Kohli, who else?)" -- if this ingratiating opening, shall we say, dedication, wasn't enough, Mujhse Dosti Karoge (MDK) goes on to unleash one of the the worst cases of abject aesthetics seen in Hindi cinema.
Here's a flick that is 100 per cent unoriginal. Kohli shamelessly borrows the theme from a mediocre Hollywood movie, The Truth About Cats and Dogs, and garnishes it with familiar elements from countless Hindi hits, from Saajan to Hum Aapke Hain Kaun.
Since MDK comes from the Yash Raj banner, the most obvious obeisance is for their brand of designer romances, particularly Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (K2H2) and Dil To Pagal Hai (DTPH). Like K2H2 and DTPH, MDK is all about the vital difference between love and friendship.
Little Raj leaves Shimla for Hampstead because his parents want to set up a dotcom business in London. He leaves behind two friends: Tina, who he has the hots for, even as a child, and Pooja, who, in turn, is smitten by him. For the following 15 years (in which the three grow up to become Hrithik, Kareena and Rani respectively), he keeps communicating with Tina through the handy e-mail.
However, what makes matters complicated is the hidden reality that it was actually Pooja who had been writing to him all this while in the guise of Tina. The love and friendship debate, the sabhyata and sanskriti dialogues, the happy family picnics, the designer Jai Mata Di jagratas in MDK turn out to be so infantile and tiresome that even critiquing it is a yawn. You cringe every time a character extends a hand of friendship, which is almost every other minute.
It's hard to be patient with a completely confused character like Raj who doesn't know who to fall in love with and why. Hritik (in the same old rubbery dance mode) makes a poor parody of himself. Kareena replays the Barbie Doll act, but without her trademark attitude. The newly slim Rani is a grovelling Ms Ordinary, and to complete the quadrangle, there's the severely-muscled Uday who claims to be Mr Cute and Adorable; he's most certainly neither.
The only stroke of imagination that Kohli can claim copyright for is the leit motif of gobhi ka paranthas: love, you're told, is having to eat the paranthas from the hands of your beloved. Sadly, instead of pulling at the heart-strings, the paranthas result in a collective burp of boredom.
If K3G made you wonder how long the bubblegum romances would last, Kohli's short-cut to filmmaking provides the crucial answer: the end is not too far. Watching MDK is like having soggy samosas with cold tea on a wet and dreary day. It should have come with a statutory warning.