"The film is not about reincarnation", exclaimed Director Kunal Kohli at the press conference of 'Teri Meri Kahani' at the Ritz Carlton, Dubai. It's about three different couples and their love story in three different eras i.e. pre-independence 1910, retro 1960 & social media 2012. Unfortunately casting the same actors for all three eras does confuse you about what the connection between the three stories is. Supposedly apart from true love nothing else.
We start off with the year 1960; film star Rukhsar (Priyanka Chopra) meets musician Govind (Shahid Kapoor) on a train to Bombay and they're instantly attracted to each other. Maahi (Prachi Desai) is the third corner in the love triangle that ensues. Moving on to the year 2012 (London); Krish (Shahid Kapoor) breaks up with girlfriend Meera (Neha Sharma) and literally bumps into Radha (Priyanka Chopra). They get along "quoting Meera" like old jeans. A social media interruption and they go their separate ways. And now comes the interesting bit. Post interval, we meet playboy Javed (Shahid Kapoor) and hard to impress Aradhana (Priyanka Chopra) in Lahore in the year 1910. A jail term later, the lovers find themselves divided thanks to a change in marital status.
"Hum Tum" was a fantastic film. Kunal Kohli had done a brilliant job writing and directing it. Unfortunately apart from that, none of his other films have been particularly impressive in comparison. "Teri Meri Kahani" isn't very different from those films. Using pointless subplots (song and dance in the jail comes to mind) to reach the melodramatic scenes made it seem like he had run out of ideas. And that's where even the best era of the three fell apart. You can't take the viewers for a ride over a completely ridiculous premise.
And then there were the extremely long love songs slowing down the film every time it picked up any pace. I get it that Hindi films need to have songs in them especially when it's a romantic love story. But do the actors really need to sing for five minutes just to proclaim their love for each other? What was wrong with the brilliant chemistry they were sharing? Isn't that enough?
The use of blue/green screen (behind the scene shots showed in the credits) to create the 1960's era was reminiscence of the films that were made then. It was an interesting touch though not sure if it was intentional. The silent/Charlie Chaplin films touch was an honest attempt at comedy though it failed to impress. Computer generated graphics used to depict the Bombay of 1960s were average but got the job done and didn't detract from the story. Shahid Kapoor as Govind was adorable though the chemistry he shared with Priyanka Chopra seemed a little forced. There were plenty of cute moments but you don't feel bad when things go awry. Prachi Desai as Maahi was surprisingly good and effective.
2012 was all about social media and getting drunk. I loved the way social networks i.e BBM, facebook, twitter etc. were used in this era, bringing people close or breaking their hearts. Unfortunately the highlight was the chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Neha Sharma when they are breaking up. That's never a good thing for a love story. And seriously there is more to 2012 than falling in love overnight while being drunk (remember Ek Main Aur Ek Tu).
Javed was by far the best character in the film. It was well written and brilliantly presented on screen. The chemistry between Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra was funny, lovable and heartwarming. Apart from unnecessary songs and (some) dialogues, this love story was the best of the three. You laugh along with them and even feel their despair when they cry.
Even with its slow pace, I didn't mind the way the film was edited by Amitabh Shukla. Cinematography by Sunil Patel was well balanced with good camera work and well-designed sets. The music and background score were annoying and repetitive. Costumes weren't outlandish, which was a welcome change from other similar films.
It's hard enough to get a love story right nowadays and it's understandable that trying to tell three in one film wasn't going to be easy. The problem doesn't lie with the concept but the way it's presented to the audience with its rough edges. In the end, yet another below-average Hindi film made a lot of promises but fell short in most of them.