Ok. So after a few weeks of travelling out of Mumbai, we came back home. Since, we had been off the latest movie scene, we decided to go watch a film. We had 3 choices: Man of Steel, Fukrey and Ranjhanaa. I think it was the romantic nostalgia of our trip that tilted the scales in the favor of Ranjhanaa (not to forget the numerous people raving about it on Facebook and Twitter).
So, there we were. Seated in the last row of the hall, waiting for the romance to engulf our senses. Did it happen? Well, this is how it really went.
A badly injured, heavily accented Dhanush explains to us through his voiceover that he has about 32 bones fractured in his body and the skull is badly injured too. And there on he takes us into his flashback. The filmmakers give a decently plausible justification for Dhanush’s south indian accent in the second scene itself. If you apply too much logic to it, you might find it implausible, but what the heck. It’s a film yaar. Some liberties are allowed and honestly, that’s probably the best explanation.
Anyway, things were just starting up. So we have a small Tamil Brahmin boy of about 7 or maybe 8 who sees a college Muslim professor’s daughter and falls for her. He goes dancing around the streets of Benaras in a shiva costume like we all do all the time when we are in love. You realize a little later that this love is more of an obsession.
Once in school, he proposes to this girl 15 times and gets slapped as many times. And then time passes as both of them celebrate one festival after the other; singing the same song over the years. Then one day she falls in love with him but rejects him again because he is a Hindu. Then he slits his wrist with a blade and she confesses her love for him in front of a nosy neighbor. Sachcha pyar isi ko kehte hain!!!
And since we all know that Hindus and Muslims can’t fall in love, the girl’s parents send her off to Allahabad to study while our hero continues to play holi in Benaras. Not to forget that there is another girl who is his childhood friend and who now wants to marry him or lay him in the least. But the chaste lover that he is, he avoids the temptation of bodily pleasures and waits for the girl to come back.
The girl comes back after her post-graduation from JNU and has forgotten all about the guy who was the very reason for her to leave home. The guy who slit his wrist in front of her. Studies must have really been hard on her!
The guy somehow manages to remind her who he is. And he starts planning his wedding. But the girl has a surprise for him. She loves someone else.
Honestly, I can’t really go on with this story because beyond this it just gets absolutely crazy.
The screenplay looks like the work of an entire team of thriller fans. There’s twist at every turn. From a fully recovered Abhay Deol dying, to Dhanush not knowing where to find Sonam but accidentally landing at the place where she is performing her play, to Dhanush scoring brownie points because he could talk to a Tamilian Delhi Police cop in Tamil…. The coincidences are suffocatingly weaved into the script. Before you can recover from one shock, another one is ready waiting for you.
It was almost like 4 or 5 tenth standard boys sitting together and wracking their brains to stun the audience. The worst part is when the random occurrences in the film are justified immediately after they happen. So basically, they know they screwed up and now they need to make up for the shit that they’ve just given you.
It is definitely one of the most confused, contrived and convoluted screenplays of recent times.
As for performances, I’m sure Sonam Kapoor must have had to spend a fortune on repairing her vocal chords after the dubbing was over. Because she’s screaming for most part of the film. In fact, it is only the last 15-20 minutes where she is not screaming like a mad woman. To say that her performance was “loud” would honestly be an understatement.
Dhanush does reasonably well in spite of the weirdly plotted character. He might not look good but there is an earthy charm about him that is quite endearing for most part. However, he dos break into spurts of melodrama typical of a lot of hardcore commercial Telugu and Tamil cinema. Also, I guess, since Sonam is so horrendously bad in the film, you do give Dhanush a few grace marks for his acting.
Abhay Deol in a special appearance delivers a not-so-special performance. Honestly, he does what he always does in all his performances. His is the most forced character in the whole film who is introduced only so that he can bring about a few twists and then disappear.
Swara Bhaskar & Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub are the sparkling gems in the film’s cast. They lend honesty and authenticity to their characters. Zeeshan as a “Benaras ka panda” has most of the punch lines, making him all the more lovable. Swara transcends easily from the pat-on-the-back buddy to seductress to the broken-hearted lover. The two make most part of the film bearable.
Overall, the performances of the supporting cast are far better than the lead pair. And that, I’m sure, is a good thing. It is in fact heartening, that film makers are now concentrating on getting good actors for the supporting roles. And they are also paying more attention to those characters in their writing.
The cinematography is a job well done. Benaras has really been captured well on camera. Nataraja Subramanian (Natty) and Vishal Sinha’s view through the eye-piece is beautiful for most part.
Editing this film must have been a difficult task. It is smooth for most part. But in places, it is really jarring. I wouldn't really blame the editor for that, because you can clearly see an attempt to salvage a scene from the actors’ bad performances with the help of editing.
Music by the legendary AR Rahman sounds more like a mash-up of his old songs. From “Kun Faaya Kun” to “Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na”, you can find them all in here. Maybe producers need to tell him to work a little harder for the kind of money he charges.
The sound design of the film is good.
Production Design by Wasiq Khan is in tandem with the film. It is realistic and lends a certain rawness to the overall feel of the film.
All in all, I had a headache by the time I stepped out of the theatre. And my biggest regret, that when the producers say that the film made 30 crore rupees at the box office, I’ll know that 300 were mine.
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