Friday, February 20, 2004


A film like Tum coming from an old-fashioned male director would have been an oddity, but coming from Arunaraje, an intelligent, very ‘today’ female director is a shocker!

We live in increasingly open times at least where matters of sexuality are concerned, yet the director concocts a strange cautionary tale, using a haranguing tone to tell women that if they stray, there’s hell to pay.

Stranger still that Arunaraje cannot imagine a woman who would have an affair or one-night stand because she wanted to; or due to boredom, curiosity, plain lust. Great pains are taken to justify that one “mistake”. Kamini (Manisha Koirala), left alone in Mauritius by a busy husband, is befriended by a photographer, Jatin (Karan Nath). One evening, he plies her with champagne and takes the clearly unconscious woman to bed.

Kamini’s reaction at waking up next to Jatin is instant guilt and copious tears. “How did I become this shallow, repulsive woman?” she whines to the mirror, when what had transpired was not adultery but a version of data rape. Then, Jatin’s reaction knocks you down completely-- here is a young, urban guy, a fashion photographer, who has an uninhibited live-in girlfriend (Netanya Singh) and is obviously not sexually deprived; why does he get so insanely obsessed with Kamini, that he starts stalking and harassing her?

Kamini keeps guilt-tripping, as her husband (Rajat Kapoor) of 18 years and rather supportive son look on in confusion. Jatin then targets Kamini’s giggly, over-ambitious teenaged daughter to get at the mother. The girlfriend’s behaviour is odder still, she abuses Kamini on the phone, but is willing to allow Jatin his straying as long as he marries her! Then one moment she wants to kick him out, the next she is in black lingerie and red feather boa, dancing to seduce him.

Suddenly the film takes a sharp turn and becomes a whodunit, with a cop (Aman Verma) with irritatingly filmi mannerisms conducts an investigation, treating the befuddled family like they were professional terrorists!

Arunaraje could have come up with a contemporary film about urban social and sexual mores from a women’s point of view, what Tum turns out to be, is a weird morality fable—that tells women don’t talk to strangers, don’t drink and definitely don’t take an admirer to your hotel room.

Manisha Koirala shedding her vanity to play a 40-ish woman is remarkable, she does a couple of emotional scenes really well. But without support from the rest of the cast, she is unable to carry the film on her own. Besides, the director is unable to give Kamini any particularly distinguishing characteristics—Hindi cinema has seen enough of weepy, clingy heroines. We need more women with spunk!


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker