The Family Trap:
What has been used as a one-scene gag in quite a few films—a man in love having to produce a fake family– has been extended to a two-hour film, and it’s bound to fall apart as the humour quickly runs out.
What’s worse, Abhishek Jain’s Hum Do Hamare Do sees today’s urban family with a sepia-tinted nostalgia; mothers pack lunches, fathers laze around the house, and, miraculously, there is no saas-bahu tension
Dhruv (Rajkummar Rao), a tech entrepreneur, was an orphan, who moved from working at a roadside dhaba to a swank Chandigarh bungalow. How he achieved this feat, the film does not care to elaborate. He falls in love with “freelance vlogger” Anya (Kriti Sanon), also an orphan raised by her loving uncle (Manu Rishi Chadha) and aunt (Prachi Shah). She confesses to being “obsessed” by family, and wants to marry a guy who has a “cute si” family and a cute dog.
Dhruv, with the help of his friend Shunty (Aparshakti Khurana), decides to present phony parents before Anya’s family. When the local wedding planner fails to get suitable candidates, Dhruv returns to look for his old employer, Purushottam ‘Premi’ Mishra (Paresh Rawa), now an alcoholic living in a old people’s home in Simla, still reminiscing about the woman he loved in his youth and lost—Deepti (Ratna Pathak Shah).
When a widowed Deepti agrees to play Dhruv’s mother, Mishra gladly takes on the role of the father, and the few bits in which they try to match their memories lend the film its meagre charm and humour. In fact, the promo has the best scenes, and the film does not add anything much to the collection of insipid comedy, and a plot that has one way to go.
It happens only in films that the leading man has just one friend willing to put his own life on hold to help his hare-brained schemes; the leading lady’s career quickly vanishes when marriage calls. Dhruv’s rival for Anya’s hand is a proper jerk, so there is really no contest—this is hardly a spoiler, in how many films is the hero trumped by a better man?
The young pair is so colourless that it is the seasoned performance by the senior actors that inches the film forward. Both Paresh Rawal and Ratna Pathak Shah display perfect comic timing, particularly in the scene when they meet Anya’s family for the first time.
Since Hum Do Hamare Do is released on Disney+Hotstar, it is okay for ‘timepass’ watch on an idle day, but it will have trouble beating back competition from the glut of better content on other channels.
(This piece first appeared in seniorstoday.in on October 30, 2021)