28 August 2010 | Peter_Young
From Aandhi to Hu Tu Tu
Corruption, injustice, politics, vengeance and love, these are some of the issues Gulzar's 'Hu Tu Tu' deals with. The story is told through flashbacks as reminisced by Panna, a young woman who has been kidnapped in response to the imprisonment of one of the kidnapping gang's members. Panna, the daughter of the chief minister of Maharashtra Malti Barve, finds herself recalling her childhood days with her domineering mother and spineless father. The flashbacks follow Malti's rise from a school teacher to her current occupation as a powerful politician. We see how Panna grows to be a rebellious and carefree young woman who despises her mother. In between the story presents Panna's relationship with none other than the man who kidnapped her, Aditya Patel, who, like herself, had lived his life under the shadow of his father, a wealthy and corrupted industrialist named P N Patel. The flashbacks carry some romantic scenes and show how Adi and Panna find solace in each other.
Gulzar's storytelling never failed to impress and this time we are presented with a well-made piece which is moving albeit less involving. Gulzar's direction is excellent and he gives every character a story of its own. While the film is quite authentic in terms of script, acting and sets, the narrative style is actually very mainstream, which is not a bad thing, but the attempt to commercialise the product as much as possible brings to a certain lack of focus. The film includes many songs (all of which were penned by Gulzar himself of course). The music was composed by the then-fresh talent Vishal Bhardwaj, and though the songs were quite melodious, not always did they feel necessary and at times they dragged the narrative quite a bit, which is a pity especially considering that the pace was quite slow. Some scenes are quite emotional, not in a melodramatic way though, and there were numerous heartbreaking scenes which would shock the viewer. The dialogues are effective and poetic, especially those mouthed by Nana Patekar, which is quite the right thing to do given his role is that of a street poet.
Where acting goes, everyone is first-rate, from leading actors to those who have tiny supporting roles. Needless to say, this is Tabu's movie and this actress is simply outstanding as the smart and honest Panna, as always infusing her character with depth and maturity. Her cut hair style really suits her and along with her tomboyish attitude contributes to the building of a persona that is as charming as it is righteous. Sunil Shetty gets a role of substance for once, and he does it very well. I was actually surprised to see him in a Gulzar movie and frankly I would have preferred to see someone like Akshay Kumar in the role, but he does a good job nonetheless. Nana Patekar is as great as always as the idealistic and kind-hearted Bhau. And finally, Suhasini Mulay, who plays the tough politician. This character is actually very similar to Suchitra Sen's Aarti from Gulzar's 1975 classic Aandhi. In my view Mulay was nowhere as good as Sen was in Aandhi, but she still was an excellent choice for the role and she did it well.
Hu Tu Tu is definitely a fine movie - interesting, intense and impressively made. The ending was quite unexpected and unsettling but it was a very effective twist which brought out an important message to the audience. My biggest regret is that, while the portrayal of romance, family and relationships was very well handled on its own, it was at times overtaken by the political side of the movie, which brings me to a personal conclusion that the movie is good, but not as good as, say, Mani Ratnam's Dil Se, or Gulzar's own Aandhi. Anyway, I recommend you to watch Gulzar's last directorial venture, mainly for the performances and also for the message, which is conveyed well and is free for individual interpretation.