Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele review: Finding love beyond gender
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Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele review: Finding love beyond gender

Complicated is an irony when it comes to each one’s relationship status

Hum Bhi Akele Tum Bhi Akele review: Finding love beyond gender

New Delhi: It is rarely that we see authentic and well-made stories about queer love and LGBTQIA+ relationships. And it’s even rare to seek out films that give platonic bonds and friendship the ‘soulmate’ status that's reserved for romantic liaisons. I was thrilled when the  trailer of “Hum Bhi Akele, Tum Bhi Akele” gave me all that and more with a title that I could sing (don’t lie, you did it too)!

Mansi and Veer are both on the run. One is running from an arranged marriage, the opposite is running from his fiance-to-be. Mansi (Zareen Khan) and Veer (Anshuman Jha) rejecting conventional, rigid parents and stereotypical expectations and running towards their respective partners. But ‘complicated’ is an irony when it involves each one’s relationship status.

Oppressed by his father Colonel Randhawa, a shaky Veer leaves Chandigarh and goes straight to Delhi to his lover Akshay’s (Gurfateh Pirzada) with whom he had affair for 4 years and wife Mitali’s (Prabhleen Kaur) house. Mansi, who is out and proud, comes to Delhi to reunite with her long-term girlfriend Nikki only to discover that Nikki (Jahnvi Rawat) is away in her hometown of McLeod Ganj.

That very night Veer and Mansi has a meet-cute at a LGBTQIA+ party. Mansi observes that things are not hunky-dory in Veer’s and Akshay's paradise and many glasses of wine later she’s taking shelter in Veer’s apartment. By the next morning, when he got hurt by Akshay for not telling the truth to everyone, she asked him to join her on a road trip to McLeod Ganj and heal his broken heart while driving her to Nikki. But road trips are all about the unpredictable journey and all that twist and turns.

The screenplay, by director Harish Vyas and Susan Fernandes, turns out like an LGBTQIA+ variation of Jab We Met. Mansi is cheerful and messy; Veer is reserved and obsessed with cleaning. She is easier with herself than he's, and in contrast to him, hasn’t hidden her truth from her family.

The contrasts in personality provide the occasional zing during a film that has no shortage of empathy or, unfortunately, footage. Sometimes playing out sort of a stereotypical art house drama, with stretches of overly lengthy conversations, Hum Bhi Akele, Tum Bhi Akele frequently undercuts its potential for wisdom gleaned through light-hearted and fleet fun.

Perhaps the script has got to do with the underdeveloped plot, which deftly sets up its premise, on the other hand doesn’t quite develop it. How do a sensitive but lonely queer man and woman find common ground? Is there more to the connection between Veer and Mansi than circumstance? The 118-minute movie doesn’t have an excessive amount of that's new or insightful to mention on the topic.

The easy chemistry between Anshuman Jha and Zareen Khan moves matters along. While Jha is usually competent, Zareen Khan provides all the surprises. She is full of energy and more relaxed than she has ever been, Khan embraces Mansi’s quirks and possibilities with visible relief.

This movie was about ‘Love beyond gender’ as a personality says at one point, but you finish up wondering if the makers did complete justice to it? Directed by Harish Vyas, Hum Bhi Akele, Tum Bhi Akele is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.