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Tera Mera Saath Rahen

"Tera Mera Saath Rahen"... another love triangle.

WHAT DO you do when someone who is not you, but, still part of you is afflicted with a human condition that is anything but human? Take him to a rehabilitation centre and lie patiently in wait for the recovery process to meander its way through? Or heal the dear one with love at home, knowing this way the condition can at best stay stable, without ever improving in future? Also knowing that one family member's special needs can impinge upon the otherwise legitimate desires of others to marry, procreate, recreate?

Mahesh Manjrekar's ``Tera Mera Saath Rahen'' is a peek into the world of patients suffering from cerebral palsy.

It is a rare offering from the world of celluloid dreams — the names of only ``Anand" ,``Prem Geet'' and ``Dard Ka Rishta'' come rushing to one's mind when you think about films dealing with the darker side of human existence. It could have been a sensitive story of two brothers — and how the elder one looks after the afflicted younger brother — if Manjrekar had not made blatant compromises for the box office.

Hence, instead of a human story of looking after the mentally challenged little one in the family even at the cost of one's own professional and personal growth, we have the parallel story of a man wooed by two women. Now, how many times have we seen love triangles in Bollywood? Pity, the director — who also has ``Ehsaas'' and ``Pitaah'' ready for release later this year — does not realise as much and concentrates on giving elaborate songs to his two heroines — Sonali Bendre and Namrata Shirodkar, neither of them hot at the turnstiles.

Shortchanged in the bargain are the hero — Ajay Devgan in a fine, restrained performance where he does not have to scowl and shoot to get attention — and child actor Master Dushyant Wagh, who makes his debut. He is more than competent in his challenging role.

The first half of the film is a wash-out. So much so that the viewers have to exercise patience in not taking to the exit door midway. The film picks up remarkably in the second half. There are touching sequences of the love-lorn man sending his impaired brother to the rehabilitation centre to start his own life afresh. And then the predictable change of heart. First towards the lady. Then towards the little one. However, it is like the last gasp before the inevitable.

Manjrekar's is one of the few films from Bollywood in recent times to have a seriously ill actor at the centre. It could have been a poignant insight into the world of such patients and the patience their near and dear ones have to exercise in dealing with them. But the way it turns out, it is a neither here nor there kind of film, holding the viewer's interest only in fits and starts.


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