A week is a long time in showbusiness and this is certainly true for Bollywood. Last week we brought you a tantalising preview of the film U, Me Aur Hum, but the big question was would it live up to the hype? DEVANSH PATEL was at an exclusive screening in Soho, where there was barely a dry eye in the house

THE format of U, Me Aur Hum is as an extended flashback covering the lives of one couple, Ajay and Pia (played by Ajay Devgan, who also directs, and his off-screen wife, Kajol). Through Ajay as an elderly man, we are introduced to various characters, whose fate and reactions then unfold.

The film begins on a cruise ship in the year 2008, where the older Ajay tries to impress the older Pia, but she doesn't recognise him because she is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

To jog her memory, Ajay narrates his own love story to Pia, which takes place on another cruise liner in 1984.

The younger Ajay, a doctor, is on a luxury cruise with friends. Pia serves him a drink and it is love at first sight. But the love affair is cut short when Pia realises that Ajay has been sneaking into her cabin and reading her personal diary, which she calls her 'book of possibilities'.

The heart-broken Ajay tries to explain that his love for Pia was real and leaves behind his phone number and address.

Time passes and Pia cannot forget the sweet and romantic moments they spent together on the cruise. So she decides to go to India and marry Ajay. His friends from the cruise help them get married.

What happens next is for you to experience, but don't forget your tissues for the second half, as you will need them in every scene.

U, Me Aur Hum moves graciously back and forth between the present and the past, capturing the pace and mood of the cruise as experienced by the couple in the mid 1980s.

The blazing fire of youthful passion is one of the most overworked themes in this film, but it remains infinitely interesting; youth is a time of energy and hope, and we are afraid we'll miss something if we blink.

The warm glow of mature love is rarely seen on the big screen, as perhaps in life. Youthful love, while often passionate, often fails to go the distance into old age.

It's one thing to see two teenagers holding hands, gazing longingly into one another's eyes. It's quite another to see the same scenario with lovers in their sixties or seventies, but that is what Devgan as director has successfully tapped into.

The present-day scenes of the devoted Pia doting on Ajay at the retirement centre are the most moving. He exhibits a desperate persistence in his tender attempts to stir the fast-fading memories of a life-long lover, now sadly too senile to remember who her husband is.

On the technical side, cinematography is crisp and dialogues are bold and often quite meaningful. However, some of the period details are a little questionable - were there mobile phones in India in 1984?

All the supporting actors give superb performances but Ajay Devgan deserves a standing ovation both for his impeccable acting and for his direction.

Kajol is also outstanding. The only thing that didn't work for me is the loud, over-the-top music by Vishal Bharadwaj; I still cannot understand why Ajay used him. Having said that, there is one song which I enjoyed, Jee Le, sung by Adnan Sami and Shreya Ghoshal.

U, Me Aur Hum is a thoughtful, emotionally rich film that asks the right questions about love and life. In it, we see that great love, like deep faith, is forged on doubt, trials and hardships. Only then does it deliver its deepest and most lasting rewards.

Highly recommended