2 Stars. Tere Naam (In Your Name). Directed By Satish Kaushik. With Salman Khan, Bhumika Chawla, Sachin Khedekar, Savita Prabhune, Ravi Kishan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mahima Chaudhary. 
While this Salman Khan starrer is undoubtedly different to the fun-filled films we normally associate with him, it is still a wasted opportunity. Unfortunately, despite the prescence of a talented cast of supporting actors and a leading lady (Bhumika Chawla) making an incredible Bollywood debut, the film fails primarily because of a poor performance by Khan.

In Tere Naam Khan plays Radhe, an overgrown bully prone to violent outbursts, with a heart of gold. He is a college graduate without direction in life, so he hangs around the same college with his friends. They amuse themselves by intimidating the newcomers, but also offer protection to the people in his neighbourhood. His actions are frowned upon by his elder brother with whom he stays. His sister-in-law and niece love him to bits however and spoil him, much to the dissapointment of his brother.

Into his life comes Nirjara, a new student at the college. She comes from a deeply religious family and is attending college as her fiance wants her to enjoy the benefits of a tertiary education. He is a disciple of her father who is the chief priest at the local temple.

During his interactions with Nirjara, Radhe falls for her simplicity and uncomplicated ways, only for her to reject his advances. However she is convinced by her own fiance that Radhe’s feelings for her are genuine and that he has changed for the better because of her. As her feelings for him change and just as Nirjara is ready to accept Radhe, he commits an impulsive and rash act which changes the course of the film dramatically.

Director Satish Kaushik’s attempt to make a film which is very different to the mainsteam Bollywood fare on offer at the moment doesn’t quite come together because he compromises his material too often. His forte is the typical melodrama’s that Bollywood churn out regularly. While he is to be commended for trying something different, it is inexcusable that he still panders to the very audience that relishes the melodramas he is known for. By adding in a situational song sequence featuring the beautiful actress Mahima Chaudary, which has nothing to do with the film and drawing out the fight sequences, Kaushik insults his audiences as it seems as he believes that these type of scenes are ultimately what audiences enjoy. The scenes in the mental asylum are ludicrous and obviously exaggerated for shock value.

What saves the film from being a complete flop is the excellent ensemble acting of the supporting cast and a truly wonderful Bollywood debut by Chawla. A talented actress from the Telegu film industry, she is mesmerising as Nirjara and her leading man could have learnt a lot from her beautifully understated performance. If she continues in this fashion, she certainly has a bright future ahead of her.

The choice of Khan as the hero is a major contributing factor to the films’ downfall. While he may suit the frivilous roles he is known for, this character needed to be played by a more skillful actor and the less said about his hairstyle, the better!

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    Mehboob Bawa is an actor, producer, writer, voice artiste and Bollywood specialist. He covers the Bollywood scene for The Cape Times, the morning daily newspaper in Cape Town, South Africa.


    July 2011