Though many Hindi films have featured unwed mothers, teen pregnancy isn't exactly a popular topic in Bollywood. So, director Satish Kaushik's Tere Sang, which features a 15-year-old mother-to-be, breaks new ground.
But Kaushik doesn't know what to do with this incredibly difficult and delicate situation. So, instead of creating invigorating drama out of it—think Oscar winning Juno—Kaushik reverts to Bollywood cliches and creates a screechy, incoherent mess.
Mahi, played by Sheena Shahanbadi, is the only and lonely child of a super-successful advocate in New Delhi. It's not clear what Mahi's mother does but she's also too busy to pay attention to her daughter – instead of celebrating her birthday with her, she hands Mahi a credit card. Mahi falls in love with Cuckoo, played by Ruslaan Mumtaaz, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. His father is an autorickshaw driver.
Mahi and Cuckoo have never even kissed but on New Years eve, after a bottle of champagne, they make love and as we all know in Hindi movies, one time is all it takes. Mahi gets pregnant. The film, shaky on logic until now, derails completely after this. Mahi and Cuckoo run away and set up an idyllic house somewhere in the hills. They sweep and paint and make beds. He works, she cooks and even cuts his toe nails.
This echoes dozens of Hindi films from Love Story to Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The difference is that Mahi gets bigger. Miraculously, through her pregnancy, she doesn’t need to see a gynecologist or get a check-up. In some scenes, you can see the edges of the pillow stuffed under her clothes.
After this comically fairy tale, house-house game in the hills, Kaushik decides to get serious and deliver a climatic sermon on parenting, why teenagers have sex, why abortion is bad and why teenagers should not have sex. Of course by this time, it’s impossible to take any of this seriously. Which is an absolute shame. Tere Sang touches upon urgent issues with the maturity of a cartoon. It’s regressive and supremely silly.
The only thing worth watching here is Ruslaan Mumtaaz who has an endearing screen presence and an awkward charm. The rest of it is imminently forgettable.