Hope Aur Hum
Director: Sudip Bandyopadhyay
Starring: Naseerudin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni, Aamir Bashir, Naveen Kasturia, Kabir Sajid and others
Showing at: Cinepolis, Inox and PVR
Rating: ** and a half
Sometimes, a film just springs up without warning and manages to surprise by not being a total washout. Sudip Bandyopadhyay’s Hope Aur Hum is a character-driven comedy drama about three generations of the Shrivastav family, living in an old-style bungalow in Mumbai.
The grizzled old patriarch Nagesh (Naseerudin Shah) is obsessed with an old German-made copier, he calls Mr Soennecken, and talks to it like a human being. Even though customers grumble of blurred copies, he thinks his work is artistic. Without underlining it, the director makes a point about the insecurity of old age and the fear of redundancy.
The middle generation Nagesh’s older son Neeraj (Aamir Bashir) and daughter-in-law Aditi (Sonali Kulkarni — wasted in a bland role) are more caught up with running the house and looking after their two kids, Tanu (Virti Vaghani) and the cricket-obsessed Anu (Kabir Sajid). There is no friction with the father, except over the space being occupied by the non-functional machine. While Neeraj and Anu are visiting Aditi’s mother (Beena) in her Rajpipla palace she wants to convert into a hotel, the younger son Nitin (Naveen Kasuria) arrives from Dubai with gifts for all, including a swanky new Japanese copier for his father. But he loses his cell phone, and much is made of him using a phone with a defective battery and cracked screen. Why he does not simply buy a new phone is never explained.
Something happens at the palace that disturbs Anu and he withdraws into a shell; again this problem was easily solvable by him talking to an adult. These two flaws are more like script conveniences, to drive home a point about destiny.
Hope Aur Hum has some nice moments between the family, and a fine performance by Shah, which is only to be expected, but also from young Kabir Sajid, who chatters away in cricket-ese, and stays endearing. It’s a pleasant enough slice of life film, that stays on an even keel, without tipping into melodrama. It may not be unmissable, but it is worth a look.