humko deewana kar gaye (2006)

I have watched the little known, critically mediocre, average box office, and immensely forgettable Humko Dewaana Kar Gaye 4 times this year.

This is the only Indian film that I think has never been off of Netflix. I don’t know why. Somewhere in Netflix, it will show that since my family and I got Netflix streaming, we have seen it more than 8 times for this reason.

Every few years, my mom comes across it — sees the poster of Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar, and says “We haven’t seen this one!”

My sister and I yell, “WE HAVE, MOM. WE HAVE,” because we have not only seen it once, we have seen it several times over our lives.

Yet, if you asked us what happens in this movie, we wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the plot.

I watched this last night, let me try and recap the plot for you:

A dude is engaged to Bipasha Basu. Then he goes to Canada and meets Katrina Kaif. They fall in love. It turns out Katrina Kaif is engaged to Anil Kapoor. They have a misunderstanding, and then they get together at the end.

That’s literally just the cast list plus a 2-line Netflix summary. I saw this last night and I can’t tell you anything more about it.

But, I’m starting to realize I love this movie.

I’m going through a few phases right now, and this movie weirdly hits the middle of all of them.

  1. I am realizing I have an intense, immense crush on mid-00s Katrina Kaif. I have never been really physically attracted to people before, but wow, Katrina Kaif. The heat rises in my cheeks when I see her smile.
  2. I think there’s a place in everyone’s life for hopeful, good people having a good time in our media. This mainly results in consuming a lot of children’s media for me, but this movie falls into this.

This movie is very bad. There’s awkward writing, the dubbing for Katrina is all over the place, and nothing happens. I distinctly remember the stock footage scenes being particularly grainy in comparison to the real film.

But, there’s something really magical and hopeful about a movie like this.

Instead of telling you about the plot… let me tell you about the characters’ journey.

Akshay Kumar is a romantic. He’s charming, a family man, and he’s good at his job. He believes in good things. He has an arranged marriage with the imminently gorgeous Bipasha Basu, and believes he loves her, because that’s the kind of guy he is.

He thinks he loves her, but he doesn’t know what it’s like to be in love yet.

Katrina Kaif is delicate. She’s the child of a broken home, but born into a high status, high wealth society. She’s never really dreamt of anything, she’s always known she would first be a proper socialite daughter, and then be a proper socialite wife. She’s a little lonely.

She accepts the love in her life, because she doesn’t know it’s even possible to have anything more.

These two meet, and Akshay is immediately enamored with Katrina. She’s gorgeous, but he doesn’t think much of it until they run into each other again… and again…

He finds out she’s a bit of a romantic as well — not as far as him, but after the immense practicality that is his relationship with Bipasha, the fact that Katrina even entertains his ideas of destiny and fate are refreshing.

For Katrina, this is the first time in her life that she’s met anyone — romantically or platonically — that cares about her for her. Not for her name, not for her dad. Akshay is just nice and charming and caring. It’s hard not to be his friend.

Slowly, they fall in love, always walking the line between this being a friendship or a relationship. Whenever anyone else asks, though, they’re just friends. They’re both engaged. They don’t know what’s happening, but if they question it, it’ll stop. Neither of them wants it to stop. Let’s live out this fantasy as long as we can.

From a viewer’s perspective — it is really nice to see two good people fall in love with each other before our eyes. This story isn’t disjointed, we see basically every interaction they have. We see every moment between them. Because Akshay and Katrina have such good chemistry, the romance feels real despite the dubbing. Any other pairing on this screen would’ve made this movie so much worse.

In a movie that’s all about the characters, half of this is the story structure of it being a slow burn, the other half is entirely carried by the chemistry between Akshay and Katrina. It’s their first film together, and it’s the only movie they’ve done together where the focus of the film is just displaying their chemistry in their purest form. It’s lovely to witness if you walk in with the right mindset.

He knows he’s in love with her before she knows she’s in love with him. She’s a little cautious about it. Akshay seems to forget Bipasha exists fairly easily, possibly because Bipasha is half a world away. She finally gives into it after holding herself back.

More importantly, they both learn something about themselves along the way. Katrina Kaif dares to dream. She’s met someone who’s finally given her permission to have her own desires, her own dreams. I’d like to think that after she marries Akshay, she even thinks about getting a job and making some real choices in life.

Akshay learns what love really is, and that it’s the most important thing in his life. He was always a bit of a romantic, but he didn’t know it would be possible to have such intense feelings that he can’t live without someone. A hole in his heart has been filled, and he didn’t even know that hole was there.

I gotta be honest — if you can’t tell, I think Katrina has the more interesting character in this film. Akshay is practically perfect from the start, but he has more plot, so it sort of evens out.

And… just then, the actual tension / plot starts.

The ending of the movie is about an hour long. The first 20 minutes of it are decent, and I would’ve accepted that as the ending, but it just starts to get a little out of control when so many conflicts are suddenly introduced.

The first two hours of this movie are an absolutely joy if you’re in the right mood, and the last half hour has the potential to ruin the film.

Despite this slog of an ending, why do I love it so much?

I don’t think we make enough movies that are simply about good characters, good people, and the cute moments between them. It’s a simple, hopeful film. There’s not much threat of death. There’s very little grandness to the situation until the forced dramatic ending. It’s just nice to escape into a mildly fantastic world where you see two normal people have a normal love story.

Let’s be honest — they’re not a very popular style of film. They happen to be some of my favorites, though.

Before Sunset is my favorite romantic drama in English.

And look, this might be a bold statement, but Humko Deewana Kar Gaye is 70% as good as Before Sunrise.

I’m not kidding.

I love this genre of film. I love happy stories with happy endings. I love characters growing together. It’s everything that’s good out of life.

And if cinema, or art in general, doesn’t talk about the simple goodness of life, what’s the point of art?

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