Hum Do Hamare Do: Seniors Have A Richer Lived Experience, So How Well Has The Film Used Its Premise?

Disney + Hotstar’s latest offering Hum Do Hamare Do takes the popular family planning slogan and reimagines the concept of family. Does it work? Read on to find out….

Disney + Hotstar’s latest offering Hum Do Hamare Do takes the popular family planning slogan and reimagines the concept of family. Does it work? Read on to find out….

We’ve all seen the logo growing up—the inverted red triangle and an outline sketch of two parents and two children, one of each gender, the benchmark of the “ideal” family in India. This 2021 film, starring an impressive cast of award-winning actors, flips the script on its head and has an adult child creating his family from scratch. It questions the unchallenged bedrock of Indian society: the family—what is it, how it comes about, and what if it could deviate from the norm?

So far, so good.

With actors like Ratna Pathak Shah, Paresh Rawal and Rajkumar Rao, you know you’re in for a treat. Mimi actress Kriti Sanon delivers as well, hemmed-in as she is by her vacuous, limited role. Where the film fails utterly is in its script, more flaccid than a three-day-old bhajiya, and far less palatable.

With its implausible storyline, half-baked backstories and undeveloped character arcs, what could have been a deeply satisfying narrative about older love turns into a circus of banal side plots, OTT extras and painful attempts at humor. Even as the director plants the seed, he utterly fails to water it and bring the film to fruition.

What are all the things we’d like to know?

This film could have so much more to offer if it had explored the story arc of the older couple, rather than spotlighting one more young love story. Boy meets girl, random misunderstanding ensues, boy always finds it cute, and three frames later, it’s luuhve. Makes you wonder what it is about a man’s brain that unfailingly draws him toward stupid behavior in a woman and convinces him this is the Real Deal.

Meanwhile, even as we are on this bumpy merry-go-round of a comedy of one too many errors, one can’t help but wonder: what was Purushottam and Dipti’s early story? What made them want to be together? Why did he not show up for her? How did that abandonment redirect the course of her life, and how did she process the pain? What other griefs from other broken relationships do they carry?

Older adults provide such incredible fodder for cinematic exploration, by virtue of having a greater range of lived experiences, emotional depth and rich inner lives. And yet, they have been relegated to has-beens and also-rans by our culture, and by extension, popular media, because of the absurd belief that love and sex are reserved for the young.

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Which recent films have done better in the seniors area?

And since this well-begun but only half-done film doesn’t call for any further web space, let’s instead revisit five of my favorite older couple narratives in Hindi cinema:

  1. Amol (Dharmendra) and Shivani’s (Nafisa Ali) storyline in Life In A Metro is one of missed chances and a desire to not let any more time slip by. This couple’s reunion is one we root for because their pining for each other feels palpable and genuine.
  2. Moviemakers appear to believe that the audience will be more accepting of an older couple if they are reunited at a later age, rather than if they meet for the first time. Thankfully, that premise is rejected in Pyaar Mein Twist, where everyone’s favorite Bobby and Raj get back together on screen as Yash Khurana and Sheetal Arya. The familiar Dimple-Rishi magic plays out against the backdrop of disapproving children, this time, because we’re desi and somebody has to disapprove, otherwise log kya kahenge?
  3. A widower (Irrfan Khan) and a harried, lonely hausfrau (Nimrat Kaur) connect over a mistakenly delivered lunchbox in a film of the same name, and though they never meet, their notes to each other take on a life all their own, leaving us with one of the most poignant stories of our time.
  4. Shirin Farhad Ki Nikal Padi is a personal favourite, because I’ve witnessed the lived experience of the protagonists (Boman Irani and Farah Khan) . As a Parsi, this couple’s foibles, humor and ardent midlife love is one I am no stranger to, and the movie felt like a tale of extended family.
  5. Badhaai Ho is the gem of the recent crop of movies on mature love, and it doesn’t shy away from addressing issues skirted by other filmmakers—that older adults are active in the bedroom, and sometimes, just like their younger counterparts, they make babies! The film is a hilarious take on the consequences, but the movie is more than a laugh. It spotlights a natural phenomenon with gentle dignity and a recognition that has long eluded it.

So props to Hum Do Hamare Do’s makers for normalizing romance at every age, but next time around, give us the more interesting love story, even if it doesn’t belong to the zygotes.

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About the Author

Dilnavaz Bamboat

Dilnavaz Bamboat's heart occupies prime South Mumbai real estate. The rest of her lives in Silicon Valley, California, where she hikes, reads, hugs redwood trees and raises a pint-sized feminist. She is the read more...

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