Woh Tera Naam Tha - Movie Review


Kuku Kohli is one man in the film industry who has always introduced new faces to Bollywood. It was long back when he introduced Ajay Devgan in his film 'Phool Aur Kaante'. Ajay Devgan is on the crest of his career these days, while Kuku Kohli is struggling at the box office to find another super duper hit film. Why so much of difference in the career graphs of the two? Maybe Ajay learnt from his mistakes and moved ahead on a new journey for the quest of actor in him, leaving his past behind. But Kuku is still stuck to old and oft-repeated filmy formula of Bollywood. He himself has produced films with the help of his wife Aruna Irani, but never earned a name for himself. However, producers have confidence in him and the result is that 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' has been released along with 'Maqbool' and 'Paap' this week. While curiosity for other two films was there among viewers right from the day one, 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' comes without any big hope at the box office. Loaded with a bunch of freshers and seasoned character artistes, 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' is another love triangle (of course, there is one more angle too) where sacrifices and surroundings are too flimsy to be taken easily these days when people are looking for realistic cinema.

Kuku Kohli has given a time feeling to his 'Woh Tera Naam Tha'. Instead of making today's love story, he has chosen to present it in a Muslim social drama. There have been some great films like 'Chaudhavi Ka Chand' and 'Mere Mehboob' in the past, 'Nikah' and 'Tawaif' in 80's and 'Sanam Bewafa' more recently. But despite there being a huge viewership of these kinds of films, there has been little attempt to make films of this genre by the present breed of filmmakers. 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' is set in 50's when the state of Madhya Pradesh was just formed with Bhopal as its capital. People still moved on tongas (horse-driven carts). 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' starts with the family of Ustad Samad Khan (Amrish Puri), a maestro of Hindustani Classic music, and his beautiful daughter Reshma (Kanchi Kaul). Reshma has a quiet admirer in Badruddin (Gaurav Chanana) who is a tonga driver on the roads of Bhopal and lives nearby. Badruddin could never express his feelings for Reshma, as they were socially poles apart.

Enter photojournalist Akhtar (Arjan Bajwa); he comes from Delhi to work for the newspaper, Milap. In the very first meeting with Reshma, Akhtar is enamored of Reshma's beauty. Not knowing the feelings of Badurruddin about Reshma, Akhtar befriends with him. Another angle to this love triangle is Naseem (Shalini Pal), another chirpy girl who is also a neighbor to Badurruddin. Badru doesn't know the love of Akhtar for Reshma. He helps him in everything. Things pass smoothly until Nawab Hyder Ali (Rajeev Verma) and his son Basharat (Rajat Bedi) enter the scene. Bashrat has a liking for Reshma and wants to have her. Kishan (Prem Chopra), a friend of Samad Khan, tries to convince him to get Reshma married to Akhtar. Things take unexpected turn and a volatile climax follows after Bashrat fails to get Reshma by her side.

Kuku Kohli has found his own way to narrate the stories over the last two decades. His idea of making a film is to find a love story, garnish it with some bad elements, lots of emotions and more action at the end. Kuku thinks that this is the safest way to make a film work at box office. However, he fails to accept that he may become a safe director for a business minded film producer, but he cannot earn a place among frontrunners by making average films. He has the potential to do better than this and also has a vision. He can do this but for that he will have to shed a lot of inhibition.

'Woh Tera Naam Tha' is a mediocre film because it does not offer any thing new. Stories like this have been seen on Indian screen hundred times before this and though 'Woh Tera Naam Tha' can do some business in small towns seeing its Muslim appeal, it will not be remembered as a great film in the Indian film history. For that Kuku will have to break established norms. May be he can take a lesson or two from his one time prot駩 Ajay Devgan. Among the new comers Gaurav Chanana fails to leave any impression because he is too immature to handle a role like this. His emotions look artificial on screen. Having worked for some time on small screen including a role in Sanjeevani, Gaurav Chanana must learn the difference between the outcome of small and big screen. Gladrags runner up Arjan Bajwa makes a decent entry to filmdom. But inexperience is visible in his case too. The girls are raw in their acting. Both Kanchi Kaul and Shalini Pal will find it very hard to find a place in Hindi film industry if they do not accustom themselves to the basic needs of the camera.

Senior actors -- Amrish Puri, Prem Chopra and Rajiv Verma lend adequate support but the other battery of actors that includes Yunus Pervez, Javed Khan, Yusuf Hussain, Ghanshyam, Suresh Chatwal, Aryaman Sapru, Kirti Kapoor, Sujata Vaishnavi and others, fail to leave any impression. Manmohan Singh's photography is above average. But music by Dilip Sen - Sameer Sen, Roop Kumar Rathod and Sumeet Chopra lacks substance despite the fact that none other than the likes of Nida Fazli, Rani Malik, Shakeel Azmi and Shahid Hamdani has penned lyrics.