Review: ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’ Tours a Bad Marriage and the Jungle


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Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan star in this globe-trotting film.

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Fox Star Studios

For a romance, marriage — especially arranged marriage — does not get a good name in Mohit Suri’s florid melodrama “Hamari Adhuri Kahani” (“Our Incomplete Story”). The movie may suffer from a surfeit of excesses, but it does have arresting, if overwrought, things to say about domestic abuse in India.

Hari (Rajkumar Rao) is undergoing psychiatric treatment because of his addled state and persistent obsession with his wife, who left him over 20 years ago. From the present day, the film then flashes back to the story of his wife, Vasudha (Vidya Balan), and her one true love (it’s not Hari). Vasudha, who is raising a son by herself, works as a hotel florist. When she sets out to rescue a dashing hotel magnate, Aarav (Emraan Hashmi), from what appears to be a fire, the two enter into a passionate flirtation that takes them to the glittering high-rise landscape of Dubai; a luxurious resort in Abu Dhabi; and an opulent residence in Shimla, India. 

Her husband, who has been mysteriously absent for five years and is the father of her son, returns, brooding and violently livid at Vasudha’s romance. We discover that Vasudha’s father compelled her to marry Hari, who later forced her to have his name tattooed on her arm. (Mr. Rao’s disturbing portrait of Hari is the most resonant in the movie.) Hari appears to have been brainwashed by an unidentified terrorist group in a land-mine-laden jungle and is arrested by the police. Events then grow muddled: Aarav has divorce papers drawn up for Vasudha; Vasudha waffles, flip-flopping between sympathy and revulsion toward Hari; to please Vasudha, Aarav heads to the perilous jungle to find evidence to clear Hari’s name. Vasudha and Aarav reunite, but not as you might expect. 

“A true love story has no end,” Aarav says to his assistant. This one does, but by that point — despite its laudable warnings about brutally controlling husbands — it has shed much credibility.  



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