During intermission as I sauntered out to take a leak and grab a drink, I was thinking of calling my father in Kolkata to check out this film.When Suniel Shetty made an appearance as an actor my father was incredulous, he asked how can a man who looks like that be a romantic hero?I really wanted to know his reaction to Dhanush as a romantic hero.Now don’t get me wrong, Bollywood stereotypes everything and Dhanush is as off beat as they get.And I was also thinking where can the story go from here if we have another one hour to go.
Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) is upper class muslim and Kundan is a Tamillian Brahmin, poor and uncouth.Zoya looks like Anil Kapoor’s daughter and Kundan looks like a chaiwala. They are not exactly a match made in heaven, they are a match made in Himanshu Sharma’s mind who wrote this jaw dropper. The film starts off on a incredibly boisterous and charming note. Kundan and Zoya are in school and Kundan wooes her with some exquisite panache.When their affair is discovered Zoya is sent away to Aligarh to study and Kundan waits for her patiently. When she arrives eight years later she has only a fleeting memory of a overgrown urchin who slashed his wrist for her once upon a time.
Kundan get down to the dirty business of wooing her all over again but Zoya has moved on to the suave student politician Abhay Deol (I refrain from mentioning his screen name for a good reason) whom she studied with at JNU in Delhi.This sets up a love triangle that gets washed away by the blood streaming from another slashed wrist. The second half of the film tries to be Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party’s(AAP) proxy campaign and is completely frustrating in the process.
Three weeks back I wrote in my review of Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani that a love story needs a fresh approach to be entertaining.The first half of the film is exactly that, Dhanush and Benaras impart Raanjhanaa an unlikely but very uplifting freshness.The cow belt as a backdrop for Bollywood banality has been trending for quite sometime and is beginning to loose its rustic appeal.The film achieves a unique tone in presenting the madness of Dhanush pursuing Zoya, which despite its over the top treatment is very endearing and entertaining.But there is material here only for a 100 minute film and the compulsion is to make a 150 minute film. Messers Sharma and Rai decide to become political activists to kill time and end up murdering the film in the process.
This is a tailor made launch vehicle for Dhanush and despite the backstory that Kunal is a Tamillian raised in Benaras his performance suffers from unfamiliarity with the language.He is simply unable to pull it off.He is very energetic and emotive when he has no dialogues to mouth but clams up while speaking.Even the lip sync is off in one song.Sonam Kapoor tries hard to act and is competent in spurts but still has a long way to go.How I wish Anil Kapoor had given her some acting talent and not just a Mont Blanc pen to write her destiny. A R Rehmans music is melodious but somewhat recycled.
In Hollywood there is a concept of “Body and Fender work” wherein a big name screenwriter is brought in to suggest changes if the producers think the film is unlikely to work.This happens when no amount of editing is unlikley to yield a workable film.This film needed that kind of reworking.Despite suspension of logic and giving it a long rope Raanjhanaa become pretty unwatchable after the 100 minute mark.Great pity that!
# Seems the director has added an extra “a” in his name for luck.Maybe numerology takes time to work its magic.