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Love stories can either be tearjerkers or ones with happy endings. Sanam teri kasam prefers to go down the tearjerker route and starts the weeping process from the beginning of the movie itself.
Saraswati is a 21-year-old Tam Brahm with a younger sister who is desperate to get married. But the tyrant, conservative dad insists that the older daughter has to get married first. Problem is, Saraswati is a behnji with glasses and vibhuti on her forehead and she wears non-descript clothes and works in a library. Is she intelligent and educated? She may be since she loves to read and is always recommending good books to handsome young men in the swanky library where she works
But we all know that men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses and poor Saraswati has no suitors. After a good continuous cry lasting a few months, she decides she needs a make-over from the girlfriend of her neighbor- a drunkard with tattoos and a soft heart (we know that since he feeds his pet cat milk straight from the carton and then drinks it himself. Ever tried kissing a cat mouth? Eww) Anyway, I digress. So, she goes over to his place at 4am because her dad should not know she is visiting this corrupt man. 4am seems about right, especially because daddy dearest is not even in town. Tatoo man’s girlfriend walks in, sees behenji and throws a fit. Says I know this type of girl. The ones who are simply dressed are all smouldering inside. So poor Ugly Betty is left with no makeover artist plus she is caught in his house, gasp on his bed by her dad who comes back early from Tirupati and promptly pronounces her dead to him. No need for explanations or anything, Ugly people don’t deserve a life. And now younger daughter can marry. All problems solved in one stroke.
Now poor Saraswati cries some more (water levels in the theatre are reaching Lower Parel levels on a heavy rain day)and then Tattoo man helps her to find a house, a makeover artist in Dharavi and voila she gets proposed to by handsome dude from office who she adored. But he ditches her at the altar and Saraswati cries some more ( Now we have reached King’s Circle levels of water) and falls in to Tattoo’s arms and then vanishes. Tattoo thinks she has gone back to Handsome dude but no, he finds her on a mountain with a nose bleed and she has cancer. Then all dams break loose and we have a Chennai flood situation till the end of the movie.
I have never seen a heroine with such reserves of self -pity since Nirupa Roy. But in spite of this I found the character of Saraswati endearing in some ways. Maybe Mawrah Hocane has an innocent charm about her that appealed to me but in the first half she is like the heroine in a fairy tale all innocent and wide eyed and sincere. Harshvardhan Rane as Tattoo man has to look tough and aggrieved (he has daddy issues) which he has obviously learnt from the Sunny Deol School of acting. It doesn’t help much that he looks like Ritiesh Deshmukh and his special appearance in Mastizaade kept coming back to me at inconvenient times like when the heroine is dying.
The first half held out some hope i.e. basically till she gets her makeover. The second half is awash in a sea of tears and everything is long drawn out as if the Directors (there are two) were loath to part with the movie they had a chance to direct.
Sanam Teri KaSam perpetuates silly ideas about marriage being the only goal of all girls and that unless you look pretty you are doomed to be on the shelf. I would have even gone along with this as a viewpoint a movie might present if it was entertaining. But it doesn’t and as you wade out of the hall and wring your dupatta dry you hope that next week will be better.