If I had made… Mujhse Dosti Karoge

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So you go to the cinema because the film you have seen trailers for looked fantastic. Then you come out of the cinema feeling dissatisfied. Not because the film was awful, which would mean you could lambaste it and find joy, but because the film had so much potential and was well-executed in parts but the majority of it felt lackluster.

Then you think of the ways you would have done it and how it could have been better.

That’s the feeling I had when I watched Mujhse Dosti Karoge.

Just to clarify, I didn’t watch it in the cinema.

Kunal Kohli’s first film – there were bound to be flaws but the problem was that I saw so much potential that I was mostly astounded because he hadn’t thought the film through as well as he could have.

My first port of call with this film would have been the screenplay and the continuity – something that Kunal clearly missed. Given that the story is set in 2002, the 15 years back-story would mean that we first see the characters in 1987. Which means Windows and the Internet was not widely available, even in America. The story would see them exchange letters by post (for those of you not old enough to know what this is – it was the method of communication before the Internet). Then the question of their tune arises – they had tapes back then, why not send those?

Eventually they would have grown out of letters and moved on, seamlessly, to e-mails. They could have retained the conversational interaction as they did in the film and it would have made sense.

The minor continuity errors should have been addressed since they feel like gaping holes. Pooja’s favorite color is supposed to be blue and she would never wear yellow or its kin, but throughout the film she wears bright colors and even yellow. Also there is no London University. There is a University of London which is in fact an amalgamation of many colleges and schools for higher education.

The lifestyle in London also nagged at me. They went straight from India to England and ended up in Hampstead – which is out of Central London and ridiculously expensive – and found an Italian chef? It doesn’t make sense. Yes, the family was rich but not that rich, not yet anyway. Also, logically speaking, they would have moved into an apartment or townhouse in Central London, since the businesses are all located there. You can still show wealth that way and there was literally no need for the Italian chef.

Casting and characterizations are my next gripe in the film. Uday was a complete miscast in his role and Kareena today would have fared better, mostly because Kareena hadn’t honed her acting skills or worked on her diction at the time. In Uday’s place, I would have used Vivek or Abhishek since by then they had become somewhat seasoned and looked more age appropriate with Hrithik.

Characterizations were a little inane – the parents were ridiculous (of the four characters but that was mostly to do with dialogue) in their actions and behavior, in particular Rohan’s parents in their mannerisms. This may come as a shock, but British Asians don’t behave like that for the most part. The side-character of ‘Roni’ was unnecessary and badly executed. Rohan’s characters should have been utilized in this role (it would have worked if they had removed the ‘rishta from London’ scene). The lead characters were well sketched – we all have conflicting aspects in our personality, we can be as kind as we can be vicious, so I had no qualms about them.

The dialogues – they killed the characterization. What on earth was going on there? The constant talk of rich and poor, friendship and whatnot reminded me of the dialogues of the 60’s and 70’s. Our audience is more sophisticated now. Hasn’t anyone heard of subtle and implied dialogues?

The costumes and dress would have been my next complaint – throughout the film Rani and Kareena looked awful with over-processed hair, overdone make-up and outfits that were so awful that even Fashion Police couldn’t critique it. Kareena in particular came off worse for wear because, for some strange reason, Bollywood make-up artists think Kareena looks fantastic in nude color and overdone make-up – she doesn’t. Her coloring requires stronger make-up applied very sparingly and the same goes for Rani, except she should be wearing more neutrals and less make-up as well. Hrithik, in his suits, was flawless but his regular day-to-day clothing could have been less ‘Archie Comics.’

The climax would also have come sooner in my film, and the background music to the original scene didn’t gel well with the rest of the film. There would have been no dramatic confrontation at the mandap, and there wouldn’t have been a perfect fall of sindoor. The dramatic scene would have happened prior to the wedding with Tina finding the ‘shaadi’ bangles in Pooja’s possessions and finally understanding the situation for what it was.

The music would have been produced by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, lyrics by Javed Akhtar with Abbas Tyrewala penning the script, Farhan Akhtar at the director’s wheel and the choreography by Vaibhai Merchant. The only segment of the film I wouldn’t change was ‘The Medley’ but I would change the choreography.

In short MDK had so much potential but it was lost in the abyss of gloss and glamour, which no film should be. A loss for cinema.

Stay tuned for others in this new series as our journalists share how they would fix their favorite movies.

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