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Review | Paresh Rawal and Ratna Pathak Shah shine as parents for hire in 'Hum Do Hamare Do'

The romance between Rajkummar Rao's Dhruv and Kriti Sanon's Ananya is a drag, but Paresh Rawal as Purushottam Mishra and Ratna Pathak Shah as Dipti Kashyap give us some really fun moments.

October 30, 2021 / 01:11 PM IST
Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon in 'Hum Do Hamare Do'. (Image: Screen grab)

Rajkummar Rao and Kriti Sanon in 'Hum Do Hamare Do'. (Image: Screen grab)

First, a little bit of a rant: Bollywood’s problem is that its idea of business, any business, is so shallow that scenes about work should come with a warning: You may choke on your popcorn because the writers don’t really know anything about the character’s job.

So we get to see Rajkummar Rao who is Dhruv Shekhar, a VR entrepreneur, being very obviously threatened by a guy who is supposed to be an investor because no one is buying the product. So Rajkummar Rao is made to stand in front of a white board and write ‘stuff’. He tells his two ‘staff’ that he has worked out the problem and will ‘send it as a ppt’ and all will be well.

I guffawed under my mask in the theatre, but social distancing muffled the sound. So we struggle through the meet cute: she’s a blogger they say, who is there to report on the launch of the VR product. But he sees her on Instagram talking about how family makes everything perfect. Erm… Again… Is she a tech blogger or a lifestyle one? The writers perhaps made her a ‘blogger’ because it sounds like something a cool gal would do. Bah!

Forty-five minutes later, the plot is trudging along all scattered and I’m wondering why Dhruv’s friend Shanty (played by Aparshakti Khurrana) had to be a Sikh. Was it because the film is set in Chandigarh and they needed a representation?

The story moves rapidly after Dhruv hides from Ananya (Kriti Sanon) - the blogger to whom ‘family is everything’ - that he is an orphan. It’s a dumb idea, but Shaadiram (a creepy paan-chewing Saanand Verma) says he can supply everything, including baratis-on-hire, for Dhruv and Shanty. They audition actors who can pass off as ‘parents’. Of course, the candidates are awful and you wonder if the same writer wrote 14 Phere which was released on Zee5 not too long ago.

Manu Rishi and Prachi Shah Paandya play Aanya’s chacha and chachi, and since they brought her up, she calls them ma and pa… So Dhruv has to produce his parents if he is to marry this ‘we need parents and a puppy to complete our family’ Aanya. He finds Paresh Rawal, who ran the dhaba where Dhruv worked as a child. Before you can be horrified at child labour… Paresh Rawal says he will play pop only if Dhruv finds Dipti Kashyap (Paresh Rawal’s college sweetheart) and persuades her to play mom.

Paresh Rawal’s Purushottam Mishra and Ratna Pathak Shah’s Dipti Kashyap give us some really fun moments that make you forget they’re playacting and learning to be Dhruv’s parents.

The two families meet and the wedding is almost upon them when disaster strikes because of an annoying child.

Rajkummar Rao fans get their paisa-vasool moment when Paresh Rawal and Ratna Pathak Shah are found out as fake parents and Dhruv defends them. Hands down, the scene makes you forget the torture of the awkward Dhruv and Aanya romance in the beginning.

Ratna Pathak Shah is so good as mom when she visits Dhruv at his office. Beautifully written scenes.

Paresh Rawal too steals your heart when he admits he did not have the courage to elope as a young man. You see him watch Amar Prem again and again because you understand how he feels.

The whole film becomes palatable because of these two wonderful actors. The rest is predictable. Even the burnt pizza. But you come away feeling good about an old quote about the family you create being better than the family you are born into… Or some such soppy thing...

Manisha Lakhe
Manisha Lakhe is a poet, film critic, traveller, founder of Caferati — an online writer’s forum, hosts Mumbai’s oldest open mic, and teaches advertising, films and communication.