In the new film from the Yash Raj Films stable, the empire’s second scion Uday Chopra has a script tailor-made for him to show some histrionics. He himself has written the story of Pyaar Impossible and Jugal Hansraj has directed it. It is a desperate attempt to prove that he can be an actor, nay, a star.
Chopra is Abhay Sharma, a geek who is happy to be one—and till the very end, unapologetically so. What happens when a geek who is naïve, a do-gooder, in love with a woman (he was smitten with her in a California college) for seven years without ever talking to her, who thinks everybody he meets is a good person, and who puts up with the tantrums of a spoilt 10-year-old with a smile, is the protagonist of a two-and-a-half hour film? You either want to tear your hair out or take to the unconvincing goodness of the guy and start liking him.
Not so funny: Too many flaws in this no-brainer movie
Neither of these happened to me while watching Pyaar Impossible. Abhay left me cold. Chopra has tried very hard to be the likeable geek—the thick-rimmed, semi-circled 1950s’ spectacles, the dental braces, and the clothes that hang from his body don’t help, believe me—but the character is written with not an iota of imagination. If you were the lonely guy in college who gets the best grades, but is ignored—and exploited—by everyone, especially the cool people of the other sex, would you be a normal, functional, even good person?
Abhay doesn’t have even a moment of anger or bitterness in the film. He has reconciled to his fate and acquired a kind of zen that suits only old Buddhist monks.
There is some redemption at the end of course, when his talent for creating a software that unites all the existing softwares of the world—yes, all of them—in one neat package and his good heart are rewarded, but that’s not redemption enough for the film itself.
Pyaar Impossible begins in a college campus somewhere on the American West Coast. The college resembles the sets of an American soap for teenagers—you get the drift; after all, we have seen before colleges which look like recreation clubs painted in all possible florescent hues of pink, orange and yellow. Alisha Merchant (Priyanka Chopra) is the hottest girl in college—an impetuous, fun-loving teenager who is expelled from college at her father’s insistence because she is too wild. Abhay is secretly in love with her and one night, he saves her from dying. The story then moves forward. Seven years later, in Mumbai, Abhay lives with his father (Anupam Kher, who is equally geeky). He invents Unity, that mother of all softwares, which is stolen from his computer by a person that he tries to sell it to (Dino Morea). It is then sold to a company in Singapore. Abhay reaches Singapore to claim his invention from the software company, where Alisha heads the public relations department.
I can’t fathom what the makers thought public relations was all about. Alisha not only moderates every corporate meeting, she also has a lot to do with the deals that the company signs. She is her boss’ favourite, and has to solve his every problem. For once, in our eyes, the PRO is a multi-tasking goddess.
Alisha’s is a chunky role: She got married early and is now a divorced single mother—mother of the devil incarnate (why do children in all Hindi films have to be so unbelievably grown-up and animated? Hansraj can’t control this little whiny, preposterous brat at all). But Alisha is much more animated than the role requires—she never quite recovers from being the bubbly teenager in short skirts, even while making million-dollar deals possible and coping with the trials of being a single mother. She is impeccably dressed by Manish Malhotra, perhaps one of the film’s best things—the Barbie doll-gorgeous heroine.
Thanks to Hansraj, the script, which has way too many flaws and unnecessary situations, has a few saving grace moments. Some scenes ring with emotional honesty.
Uday Chopra’s earnestness to make a convincing Abhay shines through. There are moments when I pitied the utter lack of bad or grey in him, but pity is different from sympathy. Empathy, of course, is out of the question when you’re watching a caricature.
I wouldn’t even categorize Pyaar Impossible as a “family entertainer”—a generic label that passes off as a yardstick for many successful Hindi movies. It is a candy-floss no-brainer; watch only if Robert Downey Jr as Sherlock Holmes doesn’t appeal to you.
Pyaar Impossible released in theatres on Friday.