Siddharth Anand's Tara Rum Pum turns out to be quite a dampner. One expected a little more sense and originality from him, post Salaam Namaste. One only comes away feeling disappointed. Is it really so unrealistic to expect some iota of originality in treatment? Guess so!
Anyway, the ‘family audience' for whom this and others like this are made, seem quite content. With film directors only interested in how glossy their product looks, content, as usual will continue to suffer.
To run through the storyline, let's warn you first that it is a takeoff on quite a few Hollywood biggies, beginning with Cindrella Man and culminating in that wonderful film, Life Is Beautiful. Unfortunately, Saif Khan and Rani Mukherjee are not Russell Crowe and Rene Zellweger, and neither does the Chhote Nawab have the magic of Roberto Benigni. Having said that, one has to admit that the actors sail through their parts with ease. One can hardly blame them for the flaws, in the script.
So we have RV (Saif) and Shona (Rani), two NRIs, who keep meeting each other, fall in love and marry against the heroine's father (Victor Banerjee)'s will. That kind of takes care of the first half of the movie. The only twist of any, or the director's ‘masterstroke' of originality is the fact that the hero is car racing champion! Moving on, the champ has a cute little family, wife and two children. Things are great till tragedy strikes!
RV has an accident and develops a race track phobia. The family's fortunes go into a decline and they instantly become poor with no food on the table as well! They are forced to leave their palatial home and shift into a shanty. This is where the bit from Life is Beautiful is taken with Saif trying to do Benigni.
The kids are conned into believing that their present state of affairs is all part of a reality show called "Don't Worry be Happy." So everybody smiles through their misfortunes. Of course the poignancy of the situation in Life is, is missing here. Imagine a Nazi concentration camp and a NY shanty! The director piles on clichés upon clichés with sacrifice and a near death situation till the wheel of fortune swings back again in their favour. But it takes three hours for it to do so. And a very long three hours it is too.
There is not much to recommend in the film besides the lead pair. Their chemistry, screen presence and charm keeps the film moving. Saif fits the character RV, living in the present, with not a care for tomorrow. Rani, as the devoted wife and mother, is equally good. But it is the clichés created by the director which are jarring. All the situations in the film appear to be so contrived and do nothing to give the plot any semblance of respectability.
For all we care, RV could have been a rich doctor, rock star or anything else. Where the director fails is precisely here – what happens to an RV when he faces failure? That would have made for wonderful human drama. Honest drama, actually. Instead what we are fed is a lot of candy floss emotions. So go ahead and do a tara rum pum!