Even Salman Cannot Lift this Film!
By MovieTalkies.com, 10 October 2008
Adapting a best seller novel to the film medium is not an enviable task. Many a time, the cinematic experience is unable to capture the nuances of a novel and many a time, the film turns out to be better than the novel itself. One has seen this with many Hollywood films as well. Aung Lee's Sense And Sensibility, adapted from Jane Austen's novel by the same name, is one of the success stories, wherein the screenplay was a masterpiece. One cannot say quite the same for Atul Agnihotri's Hello, however. The film suffers in comparison to the book because the writers are not able to make a successful transition from novel to screenplay. It is not gripping enough to make an interesting film. The premise by itself is different and very promising; it has some lovely elements to make an engrossing human drama. But it is ironically, the writing department which lets the film down.
Also, one feels, the director fails to take control of the film and the direction of its plot. The first half is much too long and tedious, with very little in terms of action. However, the film does pick up considerably in the second half. But having said that, barring a few places, the film is quite a lacklustre attempt.
Hello, which is based on Chetan Bhagat's bestseller, 'One Night @ The Call Centre' is on paper, a good take on the lives of those working at a call centre. But when it comes to the actual film itself, the novelty factor doesn't come out. Also the directors err in judgment in spending too long in his exposition. By the time he comes to the actual story or action, he has little time to say his bit and wrap up the film. It becomes a very hurried and haphazard job; hence the end suffers, seeming forced and not built into the film.
As it's obvious from the title of the novel on which the film is based, it is about a sequence of events that take place one night at a call centre. The human drama of those working in the call centre is played out through the span of that one night.
The principal characters are Shyam (Sharman Joshi) and his girlfriend Priyanka (Gul Panang), both of who work at the call centre. Shyam's career is in the doldrums and his relationship is on the verge of breaking up. Priyanka has her own problems with her mother set on getting her married to a rich NRI. There are other call centre agents, facing crisis in their personal lives. Varun (Sohail Khan) is in love with Esha (Isha Koppikar), who is more in love with her career, while Radhika (Amrita Arora)'s husband is having an affair and to top it, she even has mother in law problems on her plate. These are the main characters of this call centre, trying to cope with their personal crisis as well as the pressures of their job. Caught between two high pressure situations, at work and in their personal lives, most of them are at the end of their tether, till something happens one night. The rest of the film details what happens and how it impacts their lives.
The supposed highlight of the film is the appearance of Salman Khan. He is there for a song and a couple of sequences, but his presence is hardly enough to lift this film. In fact, Salman himself appears to look too tired and worn out. Katrina Kaif is a sight for sore eyes in her special appearance. As for the rest of the cast, Sharman Joshi impresses the most. He had played a call centre employee in last year's hit film, Life In A Metro as well, though both characters are different. But he is quite impressive in this film as well. He manages to find the right emotional nuances and delivers an effortless performance. Surprisingly, even Sohail delivers a good performance, while Arbaaz has too little screen time to make any impact. All three girls, in contrast, do full justice to their roles, especially Gul. As for the rest of the cast, Sharat Saxena and Bharti Achrekar are okay, while Suresh Menon and Dalip Tahil are wasted.
The film's music too lacks zing. Sajid Wajid's music is more on the bland side, except for a couple of numbers which have energy about them. The cinematography is by Sanjay F Gupta, who does a decent job.
The film's problems begin and end with the screenplay. It fails to create the kind of impact that the novel did as it has not been translated successfully into cinematic language. This is Agnihotri's second film and it took a while in the making. But the end product does not seem to justify the time and effort spent on it.