A 2004 release, Hum Tum stars Rani Mukherji as Rhea Prakash and Saif Ali Khan as Karan Kapoor (in the lead roles). It was produced by Aditya Chopra under the Yash Raj Films banner and also won Best Actor (Saif Ali Khan) at the 50th Filmfare Awards.
But If I were to talk about my favorite aspect of the movie, I would say it was, and still is, Rhea Prakash, played by Rani Mukherji in an unforgettable way.
Rhea’s independence, feisty sense of feminism, zest for life, compassionate nature, and practical approach towards life won me over 10 minutes into the movie.
I still chuckle at how Rhea calls out Karan when he tries to diss women who drink chai (and not coffee). In case you’re trying to recall, it’s when she says, “Meri maa chai peeti hai,” in response to his commentary, during a conversation on their flight. A subtle (but fiery) way of defying misogyny, by defending women who drink chai, she stood up to a boy who thought it was funny to put women who may not be like herself. Tell me that’s not cool?
Rhea Prakash spoke up for herself, travelled across the world for education, and loved fearlessly. She even moved around as many times as it took for her to find herself and some peace of mind, something not many young women are even taught they have the freedom and agency to do. Not to mention, she travelled around the world with her best friend, AKA her mom.
Rhea and her mother’s (Kirron Kher) relationship was so warm and full of respect that when she told her she was moving away, and that she needed to do so alone, her mother didn’t force an explanation out of her. She accepted her decision, and let her go.
I mean, what’s cuter and more inspirational than seeing an independent girl, make courageous and smart choices in life all while being besties with her mother?
But to be quite frank, one of the biggest reasons Rhea Prakash is my comfort character is because of a particular scene. It’s the one in the second half of the film, where she and Karan snack on a sandwich, late at night.
This moment represents everything I want from life: The peace of mind you get from good late-night conversations, and the comfort you feel when you wear your most easy-going kurta and eat your most favorite snack.
And out of the many great things she says in the film, the part where she asks Karan why the world is so obsessed with seeing women married was undoubtedly the best!
Towards the end of the film Rhea asks Karan why he decided to set her up with his friend when she told him she wasn’t ready for marriage, or love. She asks the important question of why women are considered “incomplete,” without a partner and marriage. And oof! Did that make me re-think life and society.
Rhea Prakash wasn’t the character that I wanted to be like because I already felt like I could relate to her on a large level. She was the character who I felt like was my older soul sister, somebody who I was on my way to becoming.
An oversized-kurta-loving, sandwich-loving, late-night conversations-loving, travel-loving person, who likes to take her time in making big life decisions. Because there’s really no harm in doing that!