Monday, May 21, 2012

Mausam (2011): Seasons of confusion, frustration and disappointment

When I was home visiting for Mother’s Day weekend, I paid a visit to my old bazaar and bought a couple of DVDs for old time’s sake. I noticed when I did so that I haven’t bought a new Bollywood DVD in ages, much to my sadness. I have unwatched DVDs (mostly SRK stuff from the 90s) but haven’t made a dent in them.

BUT at the bazaar, I bought Duplicate because I really can’t stop adding to the SRK collection (remember I said once I’d watch through all his films?) and Mausam, which I was very disappointed to have missed in the theaters because I adore Shahid Kapoor.

Well, I’ve only watched Mausam so far, but now I’m really glad I missed it in the theater.

Synopsis: Punjabi boy Harinder “Harry” Singh (Shahid) falls in love with Kashmiri refugee Aayat Rasool (Sonam Kapoor) when he’s aspiring to join the Indian Air Force. Circumstances force them apart and back together again across the world.

Mausam, whose title means “seasons,” is ridiculously disjointed. The entire first half-hour of the film is not very well set up, but it is confusing. Papaya and I couldn’t figure out who was whom, what the hell Harry was waiting for to come in the mail (papers from the air force, it turns out) and what people were doing.

After the season of confusion leaves, there’s some adorable romantic moments between Harry and Aayat, like when they lie in the rain after having kissed for the first (only?) time.

But it quickly this season fades and it goes back to confusing again. Aayat’s family leaves unexpectedly on the day when Harry is supposed to go set a date for their marriage. Nobody knows where they went or how to contact them. Nobody. And the best thing about this plausibility stretch? You have to endure it about four more times in the movie. Yes, really. Evidently the once bitten, twice shy idea is lost on these folks. They keep leaving without leaving contact information! That may have been a nice, heart-tugging plot device the first and maybe even second times; by the fourth, it’s nothing but frustrating.

The movie also somewhat frustratingly traces several seasons of terrorism in India’s recent history: Aayat’s family is forced from Kashmir by riots, Harry is forced away from Aayat by fighting in the Kargil war, the Sept. 11 Twin Towers attack affects Aayat’s Muslim family, she and Harry meet again during the 2002 Gujarat riots... Now, I’m not saying these aren’t important things that should be addressed in film. I’m just saying this was not the film to address them nor did this film do it well.

And in the final of those terrorism scenes, something serious and immediately life threatening, at the movie’s close after Aayat and Harry are back together for the third (?) time, the movie enters a season of utter ridiculousness. One-armed Harry--well, one-functioning-arm-ed Harry, whose other arm was paralyzed years before in a crash, climbs a stopped Ferris wheel to save one child whose family was shot with everyone else on the Ferris wheel, somehow missing this one little girl. Oh, and this Ferris wheel is on fire. Like everything else. And so Harry, rather than fully functionally four-limbed Aayat, decides to climb this Ferris wheel. And of course, he almost falls and almost drops the little girl... only to discover he can use his other hand again. It is ridiculous. And not in the amazing did-that-really-just-happen this-is-totally-filmi way that Bollywood has.
Best part of this movie. Really.
Also, a disappointment to me: Despite how dashing and retro Shahid looks in his IAF uniform and mustache... The movie isn’t actually retro. Well, it is. But it’s only set in the 90s. It has a bit of a retro ambiance... that kind of fails because it’s not actually retro. (And oddly as I type this, I’m reminded of Veer-Zaara, also a retro-ambiance film about a dashing young IAF pilot... That one’s retro vibe was much more successful.)

And though I’m often one to stand up for Sonam Kapoor, she pretty much sucks in Mausam. She has over-the-top emotional reactions, little emotion otherwise and just...not much to work with.

And so we passed through the seasons of terror, confusion, frustration and disappointment with Mausam. With rare pockets of fresh humor and romance... But not worth weathering all of the rest.


  1. Just discovered your blog and love it! I did go to the theaters to see this movie. I was expecting epic like Veer Zaara, and instead came away epicly frustrated. I thought the leads did a decent job with what they had to work with, but it was the never ending saga of getting together and being torn apart again. I think after the third time my husband and I looked at each other and were like, again? By the time we got to the gujarat riots I was fully expecting to have to see a fifth time and I was more than frustrated. But as ridiculous as the ferris wheel scene was I needed a good laugh by the point and apparently so did the rest of the audience. I think the only glowing point was two of the songs, Rabba Main Toh Mar Gaya Oyhe and Ik Tu Hi Tu.

    1. Hi and welcome to the blog! :)

      And I totally agree with you as far as the songs being the only glowing point. That and the beauty that is Shahid. Other than that... worthless!