Raanjhanaa - Review
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I am still processing the film. An hour after I left the cinema hall, and I am relishing the experience of not having understood the film completely. Oh, the lovely feeling of mulling over the lingering after-taste of a film. Despite a few issues with it - issues I'd have held a grudge against, if they were in another context.
Context - that isRaanjhanaa's biggest strength. Not only that of Benares and its loafers who woo girls in two ways, or that of college politics, but also the differences between characters and how they play out because of those differences. Of course, there's the music which adds a lovely texture to the milieu of Benares and Delhi. In fact, the first hour or so plays out like a musical. But its the other things that are very unlike Hindi films that work forRaanjhanaa - like the two protagonists and a couple of the side characters are sketched out well, are intriguing and have lovely shades of gray.
In fact, the main leads are as gray as a lead character gets in Hindi films. In the first few lines itself, Kundan (Dhanush) accepts our apprehensions about him from the trailers - that he is not "good-looking" - in a very matter-of-fact tone. From thinking of Kundan as a loser who is wooing a girl way out of his league - Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), you unknowingly start warming up to him. And even as you like him, you are not sure he deserves this woman who is smarter, better-looking, etc than him.
On the other hand, you are not sure, Zoya is good for him either. She has her own thick shade of gray. Yet, Sonam Kapoor has a charming screen presence of her own to accept that there can be anything not-white about her. Yet she conveys ambiguity about her character's intentions throughout. That could be just because she pretty much maintains the same expression through the film. There are a few moments when you feel Zoya's pain and confusion, there are times when you want to scoff at her games, but we are soon back to the ambiguous expression. This time we can let it slide because it does seem intentional. There is something about this actor that makes you want to give her another chance.
Dhanush on the other hand, comes across as the simple lad with simple intentions as his character Kundan. There are a few times he slips into a South Indian accent but that bit is conveniently covered up by making him a South Indian Pandit in Benares. Yes, yes, I know there can be South Indian priests in Benares, it is just a darn good coincidence. But, some how he intentionally converts you into liking his character even though you start out with a distinct dislike, and its not just because he is the underdog.
Other than the broad stroke of true love and what one can allows oneself to go through when one believes they are in love, there are other underlying currents. Of course, there is the entire angle of political unrest and that of a dissatisfied section of youth trying to do what it can. That too is subtly put down with a neat little satirical scene. The one layer I particularly enjoyed is the irony of a boy stalking a girl all over town in the same film that has college students do street-plays about eve-teasing. The same girl who plays around with the sentiments of a boy who is in love with her participates in plays that talk about women being taken advantage of because they are women. These little things bring a smile.
As do many of the quips. While some of these one-liners bring the house down with laughter there are others that sound cheesy and yet manage to make you smile. And then comes the last 15-20 minutes which leave you confused. The first two hours have done enough good to let this last bit cause too much damage. In fact, I enjoyed this air of mystery. Characters behave out-of-character and yet their actions don't take you completely by surprise. And I'm not complaining if they are creating space for a sequel, though I'd have apprehensions like I would of any sequel. Yet, you cannot shake off the feeling that it feels incomplete or even rushed. It did make me wonder more than once if the writers couldn't think of an appropriate and copped out by leaving it unsaid.
That's Raanjhanaa for you, leaving you with a lot of mixed feelings, but in a good way.
- meeta, a part of the audience
- Violence: A few lathi charges by the police
- Language: Abuses in Hindi.
- Nudity & Sexual content: None.
- Concept: That of true love and what one might do for it.
- General Look and Feel: A nice village atmosphere created by the setting, the language and the music.
Raanjhanaa - Movie Details
- Official Sites: Facebook Twitter YouTube Wikipedia IMDB
- Banner: Eros International
- Producer: Krishika Lulla
- Director: Aanand L Rai
- Lead Cast: Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol
- Supporting Cast: Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Kumud Mishra
- Facebook Page: Link
- Running time: 135 minutes
- Reviewer: meeta
- Language: Hindi
- Country: India
- Genres: Politics, Romance
Raanjhanaa - Trailer
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