Dogs are a man’s best friend. But in India, they are an important family member. Tuffy, the star of the Salman Khan and Madhuri Dixit-starrer Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! (1994) is introduced as an umpire in a cricket match played by his hoomans (human in animal language). Funny how these humans can trust a dog’s judgment! But if it were not for Tuffy and his sharp judgement, Prem and Nisha would never become one. Tuffy jumps in at the eleventh hour and changes the fate of the members of the larger-than-life joint family by taking the bold decision for his hoomans. After all, Tuffy is parivar ka priya sadasya, who does not bite, only loves – as Prem remarks. Sometimes, Tuffy will make the wrong decisions in a cricket match to humour his hoomans. If given the right amount of attention, Tuffy can get distracted from his duties of safeguarding an eminent shoe box. And when the ghar ki bahu dies, Tuffy mourns by not eating. Oh, you emotional Tuffy!

But that was in the 90s. In the 21st century, families are no more “joint”. Forget nuclear, dysfunctional” is the trending word. Family members feel suffocated within the same room. Not only hoomans, but even the dogs in these families have evolved. They are not as enthusiastically involved in family affairs as Tuffy was. They are more laid back and enjoy being the spectators when their hoomans make stupid decisions. For instance, the self-confessedly normal Pluto in Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do (2015). Pluto knows his hoomans inside out. He can almost predict their behaviours (Pavlov cannot fool this one!). But make no mistake. Armoured with his sharp observations, he is highly opinionated. So much so that we get to know the world of the Mehras through his point of view. And as it is obvious, he sees their world differently. He sees through his hoomans’ hypocrisies and scoffs at their ridiculousness. But he only wants the best for his hoomans. After all, he is a brother to Ayesha and Kabir, as Kabir says. And ironically, Kabir is Pluto’s best friend.

Pluto remarks how despite having the gift of language, hoomans fail to communicate. This is exactly why Prem and Nisha finally need a mute Tuffy’s help to seal the deal. But Pluto’s hoomans manage to do the “asli baat”, right before the climax. No wonder, Pluto is so relaxed! As is evident, the hoomans of these doggos have also evolved with time. While Pooja and Nisha have to abide by family values, Ayesha is career-oriented. She learns to assert her voice by the end. Farah is an independent woman who ran away from home to achieve her dreams. Rajesh and Pooja get to know each other through their families, like Kabir and Noorie. But the latter two finally choose their partners as per their wishes. 

But when it comes to matters of the heart, as Pluto points out, hoomans still rely on non-verbal cues. The doggos watch their hoomans fall in love, and they do not need words to do so. But the silence leads to serious misunderstandings that ultimately get solved, with or without the doggos’ help. Because hoomans in love cannot stay away for too long.

PC: Rajshri Production and Excel Entertainment

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