Take 1: ‘Hi, this is Ishaan Sabharwal… If it’s good looking, it’s me!’ – so runs the voice message on the charismatic music producer Ishaan Sabharwal’s phone. Take 2: ‘Ishaan is the best’ boxing preludes in front of the mirror. Take 3: When somebody asks him if he loves his girlfriend, he goes, ‘But we looked so good together!’
Narcissism, self-proclaimed ‘The Best’, and beneath all the gloss and sheen – a total jerk. That’s Ishaan the protagonist for you. This man-child can’t think of anything beyond himself, his looks, his appeal and so on and so forth. So much so that even after three years of living with a girl, in her apartment, on her money, this guy just cannot utter the blasphemous ‘C’ word. Commitment is a big and bold ‘No’.
Debutant director Kapil Sharma’s project of sculpting this self-centred adorable jerk into a responsible man with a heart is a likeable one. Added to that is the extremely good-looking couple – John Abraham and Chitrangda Singh, and I can’t help re-iterating Ishaan’s ‘But we looked so good together’ sentence here... This pair appears extremely enviable on screen. Prachi Desai’s Gauri, the bubbly girl next door is one you would want to fall for.
The film begins with this selfish man promising Anushka (Chitrangda) to take her to Pune to meet his parents. But no, Ishaan whiles away his time surrounded by other girls in a discotheque and realises on his way to the girl-he-picks-up’s home that he had to get to Anushka. Once he gets back to his girlfriend’s apartment, she throws him out. Thus begins Ishaan’s journey downwards. When trying to woo her back doesn’t work, Ishaan moves to an utter middle class locality – a huge plunge from the plush place that Anushka owned. Meanwhile, Ishaan’s mother (played by Zarina Wahab) shifts from Pune to Mumbai to live with her son – and her paraphernalia includes ajwain parantha, melamine crockery and whatnot.
Enter Gauri (Prachi Desai) the stylist and part-time electrician. She doesn’t hesitate to tell Ishaan on his face that she wouldn’t sleep with him – to a man, who cannot imagine such a sacrilege. In the midst of it all, our jerk doesn’t lose a moment. When he is not with Gauri, he is either trying to pick up girls from the pub or obliquely flirting with his sexy boss Bina (Raima Sen) or scanning the masses for a ‘promising voice’ (read: hot girl). In the hullabaloo, the guy loses his job too when a blackmailing-his-boss plan falls awry. Gradually, after constantly being pointed out by Gauri that he is absolutely blind to anything beyond himself, Ishaan begins falling for her. And then comes the bolt from the blue – Anushka is pregnant with his child. Shivani (Mini Mathur), Ishaan’s sister breaks the news to him in a terribly emotionally charged moment, and his mother’s tight slap pushes Ishaan to consciousness. The change is visible in the man and realisation is extremely quick to set in. The film proceeds towards a difficult – but maybe not impossible – end.
John Abraham, who has spent a lot of his acting career hearing critics call him “wooden”, can finally flash that famous half smile of his. The actor has done a neat job of playing the self-obsessed Ishaan and pretty much delves deep into the skin of the character. Chitrangda, on the other hand, could have done a much, much better job with the corporate lawyer in love with Ishaan that she plays. We’ve seen Singh deliver full-blooded performances before but this isn’t one. Prachi Desai is a breath of fresh air – a complete surprise. She performs Gauri to the hilt and pulls off a stunner. Mini Mathur’s years of television work are clearly visible in her performance. Zarina Wahab is fabulous as Ishaan’s mother. Together, the mother-sister duo leaves one applauding loud and hard. Raima Sen is good as Ishaan’s boss. Sameer Soni, in his cameo too, doesn’t fail to impress!
What doesn’t work for the film is its screenplay. There are times when one wishes that it did not drag so – and saying that for a film whose runtime is a meagre 108 minutes is a lot. The ending is a bit hasty and comes scarily close to treading on the grounds of make-believe. The first half is really praiseworthy, but the second half appears a bit haphazard. Such a denouement is possible – undoubtedly – just that it is a bit hard to digest.
The music is really good, and the film boasts of a few soul-stirring and some foot-tapping numbers. ‘Saajna’ and ‘Darbadar’ are two tracks which are extremely melodious and ‘Na jaane kahaan se’ – which is ubiquitous on music charts – is an enjoyable one and needs a special mention.
In all, ‘I, Me Aur Main’ is a film that leaves you with a sense of disbelief on the one hand and sets your heart wishing for such a reality on the other. I’m going with three out of five for this one. More than women, all men need to watch this one, at least once. Who knows – they might just decide to kill the Ishaan in themselves!