Review: Aap Kaa Surroor

Posted on July 7, 2007


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With Himesh Reshammiya hogging all the screen time in his feature debut, you realise why musicians are better heard than seen.

JULY 8, 2007 – HIMESH RESHAMMIYA in Aap Kaa Surroor (full, numerologically-sanctioned title: Aap Kaa Surroor – The Moviee – The Real Luv Story), plays “The Indian Rock Starâ€? HR. (In a project this narcissistic, where he’s referred to as “duniya ka sabse bada performer,â€? do I really have to tell you what these initials stand for? Then again, maybe it’s some kind of warning that sitting this one out is going to take every ounce of your Human Resources.) And his most interesting moment occurs when, completely plastered in a bar, he bursts into song – not Aashiq banaya aapne or Jhalak dikhla ja or any of his other monster hits, but Jeena bhi kya hai jeena, a composition by Bappi Lahiri. Could this be some sort of homage, an acknowledgement of the kinship Reshammiya feels with that other hitmaker who, even at the peak of his career, never got much respect?

Or could this merely be a nod to the unfairly maligned eighties, when a movie with a musician-hero guaranteed at least a foot-tapping score? (Here’s further evidence: The other song HR launches into is Dard-e-dil, the smash hit from Karz, where Rishi Kapoor played a singer.) With all the dead screen time, where very little occurs that’s of interest, I was also seized by memories of Star, possibly the definitive example of a terrible movie (with a pop star for a hero) that had a terrific score – and I couldn’t help wondering why this terrible movie couldn’t bother to serve up a terrific score. Oh, I don’t have a problem with Himesh Reshammiya’s music – Tumne chahe kaha na from Dil Maange More and Zara zara from Run are a couple of his numbers I quite like – or, for that matter, his singing, but I did have a problem wading through a full-length musical without a single song that lingered. (Well, okay, Tera mera milna wasn’t half bad.)

But then, Aap Kaa Surroor isn’t about HR, the musician, so much as HR, the person. And it isn’t a movie… sorry, moviee so much as a giant PR exercise that could have just as easily been titled ‘Meet Himesh Reshammiya’. What Hollywood stars do on Barbara Walters Specials and what our stars do on Koffee with Karan, HR has done through a full-length feature, presenting a carefully selective image of the man behind the music. We learn, for instance, that HR is compassion incarnate (especially when he comes face to face with a child with a hole in the heart, a plot point that exists solely to make this observation). HR has a terrific sense of humour (just watch him make fun of his nasal singing and his cap fetish). HR is religious (his favourite salutation appears to be Jai Mata di, plus there is generous use of the Gayatri mantra on the soundtrack). HR stands by his word (which is why he rejects a multi-crore offer from a concert presenter, refusing to break an earlier contract). HR doesn’t drink (well, except for that one time). HR is a one-woman man (see him spurn Mallika Sherawat, playing Germany’s hottest lawyer, as she throws herself on him).

On and on it goes – that HR isn’t arrogant, that HR makes India proud, that HR has no starry airs, and, most significantly, that HR is a man of the masses. There’s a near-surreal element at the climax where HR is on the run from the law – he’s trying to nail a killer who has him framed for murder – and a few Indian auto drivers turn up (with their black-and-yellow auto rickshaws, in Germany!) to help their hero. There’s no dialogue here, but the unspoken line, of course, is, “Take that, Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy!â€? There’s so much HR-love in this movie that when his girlfriend (Hansika Motwani, who looks uncannily like Divya Bharti; she’s quite impressive, especially with HR’s face rendered utterly immobile with a succession of tight baseball caps) is supposed to be getting married to someone else, towards the end, we don’t even see this someone else. The wedding celebrations are apparently on in the presence of an invisible bridegroom – because, in the context of this film, he is so not important.

What’s important is the cap. You can’t tear your eyes off the screen because, (a) you want to see what kind of cap he’s going to wear next (one with a bandhni design? something with a Kanjeevaram temple border? a batik print on stonewashed denim, perhaps?), and (b) you want to see if the cap ever comes off. HR wears the damn thing even in prison, and I think it’s safe to say that not since Darth Vader has there been so much curiosity about what lies under a man’s headgear. And when HR does take his cap off, at the end, we get a frame that captures his face from the forehead down – so at no point do we see his entire face without the cap. Is he bald? Is he incubating eggs up there? Is he secretly housing Lord Voldemort? The answer, I hear, will be revealed in a sequel. I’ll be in line just for that, but I don’t think it’s fair at all – making us watch two lousy movies for one bit of information.

Copyright ©2007 The New Sunday Express

Posted in: Cinema: Hindi