Lamhe (Moments) is just wrong. Sorry. It seems the film divides people into two camps: those who don't mind the mother-man-daughter love triangle, and those who do. Unfortunately, while the PPCC considers itself pretty tolerant, we fall into the latter camp. We just found it... nasty. Plus, the lopsided emotionality, the ceaseless tempo changes, the fact that Anil is missing his trademark 'stache and that Sridevi spends so much time squealing pretty much ensured that we were left cold.
Who's this guy? Hmm, don't know.
Viren (some clean-shaven guy) is a London-based NRI with roots in Rajasthan. When he returns to the land of his patriarchs and meets his old nanny (Waheeda Rehman), he peeks out his bedroom window one day to see the girl next door, the bubbly Pallavi (Sridevi), dancing in the rain. Viren is immediately smitten, even though his nanny chides him - "But she's older than you! Men don't marry women who are older than them in our country, remember!" But no worries, the problem solves itself when Pallavi's fiancee (Deepak Malhotra, playing the Yash Chopra Trademark Man In Uniform) emerges from the woodwork and they're married. Viren is devastated, but says nothing. Eventually Pallavi becomes pregnant, but she and her husband get in a huge car accident (another Yash Chopra Trademark for conveniently disposing of unwanted lovers). The husband dies, Pallavi is badly injured and she too dies later in childbirth.
The Yash Chopra Trademark Hospital Scene.
OK, now it gets wrong. The baby, Pooja, is handed over to Waheeda Rehman for more nannying, and Viren, steeped in griefly grief, flees to London to spend the next twenty years grieving and tending to his mustache. He returns to Rajasthan every year for Pallavi's death anniversary, but avoids little Pooja - ostensibly because her presence is a painful reminder of Pallavi's death (indeed, when the doctors had told Viren that they could save either the mother or the daughter, Viren had immediately insisted, "Save the mother then!"). What this all means is that little Pooja grows up with an intense curiosity and crush for her Mystery Father Figure. When Viren returns on her 18th birthday to hold the yearly grief session, he lifts his griefly grieving eyes to see... SRIDEVI! AGAIN!
You can guess where the story goes now. (At least the stache is back.)
Sucking her finger! A little scandalous.
Talking into that old Star Wars prop. Yet more scandalous.
We tried to rationalize it. "Hmm, well, if Viren was eighteen when Pooja was born, that's not so horrible," we thought, "heck, Katrina Kaif is dating Salman Khan, isn't she?! We love the Anil/Rani jodi, and that's an 18-year gap too, no?!" But no amount of math could make this OK.
PROBLEM ONE: A relationship between two adults is fine, but you can't spend half the film waiting for one of the lovers to grow up from baby to consenting adult. PROBLEM TWO: The incestuous vibes are strong, as Viren is essentially the father figure - he provides money and birthday presents throughout Pooja's childhood. And he loved her freakin' mom! PROBLEM THREE: So another attempt at rationalizing the Viren/Pooja pyaar was when we thought, "Well, Viren's spent his entire adult life grieving over a lost crush from his youth and so he hasn't really grown emotionally. So maybe it's not so lopsided, after all!" Yet the film seems to constantly emphasize the stark difference in maturity between quiet, aging, world-weary Viren and child-like, giggly Pooja. ARGHH. We think maybe, maybe this would have made sense if Viren had been a 14-year-old barely pubescent kid who crushed on Pallavi and then got a more reasonable chance with the daughter. But the fact is that Viren is totally a peer of Pallavi's, stache or stacheless, and his role in raising Pooja should - you'd freakin' think - preclude any future hanky panky.
Anupam, we loved you in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai but lately you've been making it hard.
For once, we think Anil Kapoor was miscast. That is, his performance is fine (if subdued to the point that we wondered if he was on Valium) but he's both too old to play the fresh-faced youth Viren and too young to play the aging, gray-sideburned Viren. However, any actor would have been too old and too young for this - hence why we think two actors would have been needed, a Master Tito for the prologue and Anil for the adultness. That would have saved us from his naked upper lip too. And anyway, these silly mismade romantic fables are not what we watch Anil for - we want action! intensity! screaming his head off! sinister-ness! moments of vulnerability and then maybe more samurai-style screaming! Pran-like sleaziness! swinging his jacket over his head while wearing a cheesy silk shirt and bellowing, "Inshaaaaa'Allah!"! You know, something fun and lovable and Pranly. We don't want this piece of pickled, boring, tranquilized lameness.
Sridevi - we've only seen her in that Sanjay Dutt movie where she's framed as a drug mule in Hong Kong. We enjoyed her there, but in this film we could barely cope with her airheaded bounciness and giggly shrieks. Waheeda Rehman was fine in her limited role, and Anupam Kher was - as in Beta - pretty awful.
Apparently this film flopped in India (and it's Karan Johar's favorite Yash Chopra film?! where'd we read that?), and Yash Chopra decided that this was because the story was too "avant garde". Umm, sorry, Uncle, but it looks like you're going in the wrong direction. This was so anti-avant garde, it's like you went back in time faster than the DeLorean. It basically advocated child brides, as what else is Pooja?! The nail in the coffin is when Nanny Waheeda reminds Viren that dramatic age differences are only OK if the man is older than the woman. Oh yeah, no duh.