ALTBalaji’s Hum has a lackluster story but laudable performances

A loving, supportive family is the cornerstone of every human being’s existence. But in the corridors of power of the Indian content landscape, family rules the roost. For, the most successful shows on TV have family as the lynchpin. Family is also the cornerstone of Ekta Kapoor’s mushy, yet mesmerising sagas; sagas that have propelled her into the highest echelons in the hierarchy of content fiefdom.

If you care to do your research, you’ll observe that the shows with the longest staying power, and which rake in the maximum moolah, all belong to TV-dom’s reigning Czarina, Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms. She’s held the TV industry in a vice-like grip since a quarter of a century (gasp! most of us weren’t even born then!). Not content with that, Ms Kapoor now has designs on ruling the digital content space too. Consider this- some of the most successful digital shows of 2017 and 2018 have come out of the stables of ALT Balaji (Balaji Telefilms’ digital arm). Bose- Dead/Alive, Haq Se, The Test Case, Romil and Jugal, Kehne Ko Humsafar Hain, are just few of the shows that tasted mega success in the online arena.

Despite being a late entrant in the digital field, ALT Balaji’s success was swift and immediate. The reasons are many– a steadfast, quality bunch of writers and directors; the presence of top stars such as Ram Kapoor, Ronit Roy, Sakshi Tanwar, etc. who swear allegiance to the content queen; a well-established content creation system in place; and the heft of its parent arm- Balaji Telefilms. Another substantial reason is the deep pockets of the production house, which allows it to churn out shows at astonishing speeds– shows that are both lavish, and brimming with high quality production values.

The prolific content creator is now out with its latest digital potboiler– Hum: I’m Because Of Us. Hum is the story of three sisters who love each other to death. Each sister will do anything for the happiness of the other two. Unselfish caring, supporting, having each other’s back– all come naturally to them.

Devina, the eldest sister (Ridhima Pandit), Isha, the middle one (Karishma Sharma), and Sakshi, the youngest (Payal Bhojwani), are the daughters of Roop, erstwhile Princess of Daulatganj (Priya Nair). Having eloped from her royal home, to marry her commoner husband who died early, Roop lives with her three daughters, in her delusional world of royalty sans riches. Her conviction in her blue-bloodedness considers her two elder daughters working at menial jobs, beneath their royal standing.

Devina is a cool, calm and collected girl, simple and sweet in nature, always standing strong for her family like the proverbial Rock of Gibraltar. Sakshi is a precocious kid, whose only aim in life is unbridled gluttony. Isha is feisty, fiery and firmly focussed on getting rich, come hell or high water. And it is Isha who catches our immediate attention. Isha is sassy, street-smart and a go-getter. She thinks on her feet, can talk herself out of any situation and is as glib as they come. Her glibness comes to the fore, to save the day in myriad sticky situations.

A misplaced invitation to the fiftieth birthday celebrations of Vikram Bedi (Satyajit Sharma), Roop’s long-dead childhood friend’s husband, brings the family to the city of dreams, Mumbai.

The daughters convince their mother to let them stay on in Mumbai, so that they can eke out a decent living, as Roop simply won’t allow them to take up jobs in their hometown of Daulatganj. Roop agrees reluctantly. Devina finds work as a waitress at a cafe, while Isha smooth-talks Vikram into becoming his image consultant. In the midst of the melee is Rahul Nanda (Kushal Tandon) – flirt, lady-killer, and when he’s not bedding females, Vikram’s business partner. Both girls fall for Rahul, hook, line and sinker– Devina is taken in with his kind-heartedness, while Isha, with his roguish charm.

The series, after labouring through many twists and turns, ends in an interesting climax. What? That’s for you to find out. Season 1 comprises ten episodes. Two more seasons are in the offing, and with the way Season 1 ends, Season 2 promises to be spicy and salacious.

All the actors have done an adequate job. Ridhima Pandit plays her part of the sweet and unassuming Devina pretty well. Her incandescent smile lights up the screen. Karishma Sharma is sharp and on-point, as the upwardly mobile Isha. Kushal Tandon, with his impish good looks, is totally eye candy and a sight for sore eyes, while Satyajit Sharma is his usual competent self in the character of a suave, high-flying businessman, a departure from the earthier roles he’s done before.

The series features long-drawn-out, no-holds-barred love-making scenes– there are two, in the first four episodes itself– leaving us wondering at the implausibility of it all. We’re sure no one in real life, and in their right minds, would make passionate love with a complete stranger, one whom they’ve met just a couple of times. Youngsters, in today’s shows, shed their clothes, and their inhibitions, at the drop of a hat. We yearn for the romantic scenes of yore– the coquettish smiles, the coy looks, the slow building of love. The ten-episode, 18-minute quickies that are web series, have sounded the death knell of that brand of romance.

The story is nothing to sings paeans to. It’s unimaginative and unremarkable. The dialogues are pedestrian, while the characters and situations are pretty ordinary too. The ending of Season 1 is pretty interesting though, and will make die-hard Ekta fans come back for more. As for those who like watching intelligent content, give Hum a wide berth. There’s nothing in it for you.

We, at IWMBuzz, would rate Hum 3/5.

(Written by Rashmi Paharia)

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