Hope Aur Hum movie review: Naseeruddin Shah delivers wonderfully wistful performance in an otherwise dull film

Udita Jhunjhunwala

May,11 2018 12:56:46 IST

2.5/5

Ad filmmaker Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s debut feature film is steeped in nostalgia.

At the pinnacle of this nuclear family is the patriarch Nagesh Srivastava (Naseeruddin Shah) who nurtures a deep bond with a faltering copying machine. Affectionately referred to as Mr. Soennecken, Nagesh regards the practice of producing copies as art. But his frustrated customers disagree. The family – two sons, a daughter-in-law — gently tries to urge him to let go of the past and replace the old, out-of-order German machine with a shiny, new, efficient photocopier.

Nagesh finds sympathy and support only from his grandchildren, Tanu (Virti Vaghani) and the endearing Anu (Kabir Sajid) as he fears that he too may become redundant like the machine. There are obvious connections between humans and machines with old things losing value or being replaced by a younger, more efficient model.

Naseeruddin Shah in Hope Aur Hum.

Nagesh lives with his older son Neeraj (Aamir Bashir) and his wife Aditi (Sonali Kulkarni). The former is hoping for a long overdue promotion at work. The latter goes about her household duties while hoping that the white elephant of a copier occupying valuable real estate, will be removed opening up space in the cramped house. Nagesh’s younger son, Nitin (Naveen Kasturia), makes a sudden visit from Dubai. He loses his phone on arrival and his track is mainly about chance encounters. Destiny plays a hand in all their lives somehow.

Across the country in Rajasthan, another grandparent (Beena) is on the verge of selling off her expansive country home to a hotel chain. On a visit to the ancestral home, Anu has an experience that upsets the boy’s jolly equilibrium. He carries the angst back home. It’s a change in genre for the film which has thus far taken a gentle, picture-book stroll through the daily routine of the Srivastava family.

The many mixed metaphors and sudden genre-shift (story by Bandyopadhyay and Neha Pawar) with Anu’s story, besides the effort to be time-and geography-agnostic, work against the film. The song ‘Achhe bachhe rote nahi’ includes an odd thought with the lyric that dreams don’t come true and good children don’t cry. Overall the music feels discordant with the tone of the film. However the cinematography and art direction are rich and on point.

Even at a 90-minute running time, Hope Aur Hum gets gawky and humdrum. There are some sweet and fun moments, though, especially in the family banter and mainly featuring young Kabir Sajid as the cricket-obsessed kid, Bashir as the grounded father and Shah as the wonderfully wistful Nagesh.

Updated Date: May 11, 2018 12:56 PM