I, Me aur Main (“I, Me and Myself”) is the uplifting tale about a selfish bastard who gets everything he wants without any real conflict or consequences. Congratulations to director Kapil Sharma and writer Devika Bhagat for creating a singularly unrelatable movie.
The selfish bastard in question is Ishaan (John Abraham). An introductory scene features young Ishaan taking credit for a paper airplane made by his older sister, Shivani. When Shivani grabs the plane from Ishaan, their mother punishes Shivani for picking on precious Ishaan. Mom repeatedly calls Ishaan “the best,” thus creating the unbearable egomaniac at the center of the film.
Emblematic of the film’s poor construction, the flashback starts with the subtitle, “Pune: many years ago.” The next scene, set in the present day, has the subtitle, “Mumbai: 25 years later.” Why not just say, “Pune: 25 years ago” in the first place? Is it some kind of short-term mystery?
Ishaan grows up to be a completely self-centered prick. His girlfriend, Anushka (Chitrangada Singh), is a successful lawyer who cooks for Ishaan and cleans up after him. Even though he’s a wealthy record producer, he expects Anushka to pay for all of the groceries she uses to feed him. He also cheats on her with other women.
Having endured three years of Ishaan’s fecklessness with no hope of a commitment in sight, Anushka finally kicks Ishaan out. Ishaan’s sister — the only member of his family to have met Anushka — takes Anushka’s side in the breakup. Shivani (Mini Mathur) knows her brother better than anyone, after all.
Ishaan lives on his own for all of a day before his mother abandons her husband in Pune to move in with her helpless adult son. He responds by nagging his mother.
Ishaan’s new neighbor is Gauri (Prachi Desai), a Manic Pixie Dream Girl sent from screenplay heaven to turn Ishaan into a likable person. It doesn’t work. Ishaan continues to be a dick until even his mother has had enough. When it comes time to make the morally correct choice in a climactic scene with Anushka, even she lets him off the hook. Writer Bhagat is determined that everything go right for Ishaan.
Why? What is so great about him? He’s utterly meritless. One of the great things about movies is the chance to experience a kind of justice that doesn’t usually exist in the real world. I, Me aur Main is about a rich, handsome guy getting everything he wants without any comeuppance. There’s no escapism in that. It’s just an unfortunate fact of life.
Case in point is John Abraham. Here’s an actor who seems to get all of his roles based on his muscular physique and not on his acting abilities. He’s never been forced to work on his craft or play any characters that aren’t charming louts. Casting him in this role was a mistake. A toned torso doesn’t make Ishaan worthy of a happy ending.
The women in the film perform well under the strain of Ishaan’s sexism, another of his fine qualities. Singh is strong and resolute as Anushka, the real hero of the film for being the first person in Ishaan’s life to ever reject him. Desai is cute as Gauri, but her character is undermined when she, too, turns selfish in the end.
Consider I, Me aur Main a cautionary tale for parents: Make your children self-confident. Don’t make them self-absorbed.