Not two children but a set of parents is what the couple in director Abhishek Jain’s romantic comedy Hum Do Hamare Do (streaming on Disney+ Hotstar) is after. The story begins with a young boy named Bal Premi who is working in a dhaba run by Purushottam Mishra (Paresh Rawal). A kindly lady, Deepti Kashyap (Ratna Pathak Shah), offers him a nugget of advice: change your name and make your own destiny.
Bal Premi, an orphan, grows up to become Dhruv (Rajkummar Rao), the brains behind a VR start up. How did he make this leap? Prashant Jha’s screenplay skips past those potentially interesting details to fast-forward to a meet-cute that results from a case of mistaken identity.
Before long Dhruv and blogger Anya (Kriti Sanon) are hanging out. She’s not quite sure what to make of him, but nothing can melt a modern girl’s heart more than watching a rising tech whiz teaching street children on a Chandigarh pavement. She’s got two conditions before marriage—a boy with nice parents and a pet dog.
Having lost her parents at a young age, she’s been raised by her aunt and uncle (Prachi Shah and Manu Rishi Chadha). There was room here for a sensitive conversation, insights and moments about a shared life experience between Dhruv and Anya, but instead the thrust of this tepid film is Dhruv’s process of auditioning and finding fake parents in order to be worthy of Anya. This opens the doors for Shaadiram, a creepy wedding fixer who proudly declares he can supply anything and anyone required to complete a wedding and some redundant fussing around by Dhruv’s one pal, Shunty (Aparashakti Khurana).
He identifies Purushottam and Deepti, which brings in the added layer of the latter’s checkered history. The sparring, sidelong longing glances and caustic comments exchanged between Purushottam and Deepti—prompted by unresolved feelings—compensates for the shallow relationship between the younger couple. Rawal brings humour and Shah conveys the emotions so effectively that you cannot but be moved by her performance.
Sanon’s role and performance are interchangeable with other characters she has oft played in this genre. Granted both Sanon and Rao try, but there is little to do done with the material in hand.
Smarter writing, a less conventional plot structure and more imaginative direction would have benefitted a story that had an emotional core—about growing up parentless, about what constitutes a family and about how tangible and convincing virtual reality can be.