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Most Bollywood remakes of Hollywood movies aren’t strict copies of the original films. In addition to a few dance numbers or musical montages, Hindi versions usually introduce extra plot material: a romance, medical problems or a parent-child conflict. Hum Tum Aur Ghost (“You, Me and the Ghost”) — a remake of 2008’s Ghost Town — includes all of the above. It works, but it’s not an improvement.
Arshad Warsi plays Armaan, a London fashion photographer who can’t sleep because he hears voices when he’s alone. To drown out the voices, Armaan gets drunk and naps on a bench in the train station: a charmingly quirky habit until the voices take form as people only he can see.
One of those people is Kapoor (Boman Irani), who explains that he’s a ghost, as are the other voices and apparitions. They all have unfinished business on earth, and, since they’re non-corporeal, they need Armaan’s help.
Most of the tasks are trivial, complicated or annoying. Armaan decides to help a ghost named Carol (Zehra Naqvi) find her son. Not to be put off, Kapoor –whose task involves bank robbery — blackmails Armaan into helping him by temporarily assuming control of his body and making him do embarrassing or dangerous things.
Armaan’s increasingly weird behavior concerns his girlfriend, Gehna (Diya Mirza). First, she assumes he’s having an affair with his best friend, Mini (Sandhya Mridul). Then, she fears that he’s schizophrenic. It’s up to Armaan to convince Gehna that he’s not crazy, while simultaneously aiding the ghosts that only he can see.
I liked the Hollywood version of this story, which starred Ricky Gervais and Greg Kinnear. Ghost Town ends when Gervais’ character is able to help Kinnear’s ghost complete his mission. Hum Tum Aur Ghost should’ve ended similarly, when Kapoor’s issues are resolved. But it continues, focusing on the search for Carol’s son and Armaan’s disintegrating relationship with Gehna.
The additional material isn’t as emotionally effective as the story that precedes it. In fact, it goes out of its way to be extra melodramatic. There’s a predictable “shocking” twist regarding Armaan’s parentage, and there’s even a car chase, both of which are unnecessary.
Director Kabeer Kaushik mistakenly thinks that the heart of the film is Armaan’s relationship with Gehna; it’s really Armaan’s relationship with Kapoor. Warsi and Irani give atypically subdued performances which emphasize the theme that love is the most important thing in life. There’s a shamelessly tear-jerking moment when Armaan, accompanied by invisible Kapoor, pays a visit to Kapoor’s widow. I’ll admit the ploy worked on me.
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