Its so true that if you don’t learn from past mistakes, you will end up repeating them. Easier said than done, because every time we make an effort in the hope that the result would be different and positive, it only drags us back into muddy waters of the past.
About two decades ago, I was standing in a queue for movie tickets of a Shahrukh Khan and Divya Bharti starrer. It was their 2nd movie, after the blockbuster Deewana. And I was at Orient theatre in Calcutta, hoping that the tickets don’t sell-out before I get to the window. The movie was Dil Aashna Hai, first directorial venture of Hema Malini. But that did not matter at all, as I was there to see Divya and SRK.
The movie was a multi-starrer with Dimple Kapadia, Amrita Singh, Jeetendra, Mithun and Kabir Bedi. It was supposed to be a suspense drama wherein Divya Bharti, an adopted child who becomes a bar dancer, is out to find her real parents and the reason for abandoning her. SRK loves Divya, inspite of her profession, and wants to help her in this noble cause. This new purpose of life takes her to three doorsteps of rich wealthy couples who have a good standing in society. But will any of the high society couples disclose their past, and not just that, but also accept her as their daughter? That’s where the story meanders and becomes episodic in nature. Needless to say, the movie bombed at the BO. I felt cheated but I still remember the day.
So, after two decades, neither has Hema Malini learnt her lesson nor I. She is still walking around with the same story and to re-tell it once more, in the hope of finding a new audience who might be willing to appreciate it or even watch it. And I still end up becoming an audience for her movie.
As we get into the movie, TMOK, we quickly realize that the movie is a CLV for Esha Deol. You maye have heard of GSLV(Geosynchronous Satellite Launch vehicle) and PSLV (Polar SLV). So, this is a Career Launch Vehicle for her. Most star kids have just a single shot at the launch vehicle, but quite a few privileged ones have multiple shots at it. So, its kind of re-launch, but that would sound demeaning; so lets settle for “launch”.
The point is, she is in every frame of the movie; even when its not required. And she is doing everything, and that too in a good way and not goofing it up! So, she is a successful writer [a la Chetan Bhagat but in female disguise], a good camel racer (she wins the camel race in Rajasthan and dedicates it to the Girl Child), she is mind healer who also doubles up as a psychiatrist because the producer was running out of money since she spent too much on getting Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna on board, and Esha also makes a don from Goa cry like a baby. Yes, she finally made Dharam paji cry on her failure to launch all by herself that she needed the entire family support.
I think they unnecessarily squeezed in Johnny Lever to play a comic side-kick who works in a municipality ward of a hospital that burnt down during the great fire of 1986. Unnecessary because the movie had a lot of unintentional laughs, but I guess no one had a good sense of humour to see that. Arjan Bajwa, a supposedly nice friend who helps Esha in the cause of finding her parents, has to bear with her and cross-dress and live in guest houses and carry a ring around, while Esha prances from one household to another. And if this was not enough, he had another side-kick; so a side-kick to a side-kick. That makes it double the kick for the audience!
Anyways, finally after 2.25 hours of pain and agony and suffering and small bursts of unintentional laughs, the audience is finally relieved when the end credit rolls. Not sure if people waited that long, so let me do a small social service and declare that Salman Khan was there in an item song when credit rolled. But tragically, that screen space was eaten up by Esha too. I warned you earlier, she was in every frame!
On hindsight, I think Hema Malini’s first attempt with DAH was much better than TMOK. I am not mocking now, duh! This has been an expensive mistake and not the best way to learn a small lesson. Hopefully, both of us, Hema and I, will not repeat this; ever again. Hopefully!
This post was also published on MadAboutMoviez