wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
It's a reasonably mature look at relationships and gives women actual, believable roles to play. But alas, the finer points lack polish and the wimpy, predictable end completely disappoints.Read more
Once Aditya Chopra is done patting his back and reminding us that he's the man behind Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and once you get back into the habit of not looking for a reference to a Yash Raj film, the story begins to emerge. Women with strong characters and a fairly mature portrayal of relationships are the two things that Bachna Ae Haseeno can surely boast about.
Falling in love is almost always a random occurrence in Hindi movies. You just "come...and fall in love". But Bachna Ae Haseeno deals with the complexities and the process of how the characters are led-on and betrayed, how they hurt, how long the healing process takes, and ultimately how all the relationship needs is closure.
I'm a sucker for even relatively coherent plots. And here I have two! Ideally I would be ecstatic. But - yeah, obviously there's a but - it’s only the overall stories that are pretty neat and novel. The details that add up to the pretty bird's eye view of the stories are very ordinary. Also, this third story hanging around is so lame that it begs for negative marking.
There are these other subtle things that blended pretty well into the story. Raj (Ranbir Kapoor), the boy whose only focus in life is to woo a girl because he's in Europe, grows into a person who would do what it takes to maintain his independence. Then he smoothly turns into a mature person who's ready to introspect and bear the burden of his responsibilities. For this you have to tolerate Ranbir's boyish chuckle and puppy eyes, though. To be fair, there are glimpses of very good timing, especially post-interval when he's reacting rather than being the center of attraction. He has the boyish charm because of which the audience feels for him, despite his character doing the meanest things to people around him.
The women, each in their own right have a whole range of emotions to play around with and do pretty good justice to them too. Interestingly though, the character arc for each one of them is such that each one has to play smitten, confident, fun-loving, hurt, vengeful, shrewd at some point or the other and they all have the same way of expressing these emotions. So, an indignant Minissha looks exactly like the indignant Bipasha or the attitude that Bipasha throws around feels very similar to the attitude Deepika is wearing. Almost as if, the briefing they were given related to only one character. And yet the characters are all different.
So, what's going on here? We have pretty good performances. Though Deepika's voice doesn't vary much and her dubbing doesn't match the intensity with which the lines are said. But I absolutely enjoyed Bipasha's track - both, due to her acting, and the way her character is written. Minissha Lamba's story is actually the most charming of the lot. The characters in general are pretty well-detailed. Yet the film fails to touch in absolute terms.
For one, the structure of the story is too episodic. Granted the chapter-like feel is intentional but it cut the movie too sharply into 20-25 minute pieces. Individually, these pieces don't always work either. The first two pieces in fact, feel like a set-up for the actual show. And they certainly need better lines than "we're abroad, we can't miss a train" (what does that even mean!?).
Lighting a thousand candles and wiping off smudged kajal (eye make-up) from your girl's eye somehow don't generate chemistry automatically. The sincerity in the eye contact, the stance of the body, the way the two bodies hold each other are all missing in most instances. Even a nice human being can brutally mistreat the person who has wronged them. But if the mistreatment is exaggerated, with the sole purpose of arousing sympathy of the audience, it gets irritating.
Ultimately, the climax kills the otherwise decent plot. It's rushed and thus dissatisfying. Aditya Chopra/Siddharth Anand come up with fairly non-standard (in Hindi cinema) concepts. These concepts revolve around the situations that the urban population in the mid-late twenties faces. You can almost see the concerns change over the years. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge - Dil To Pagal Hai - Hum Tum - Salaam Namaste. And now the love vs. marriage debate. They take a very contemporary and relatively mature look at the problems and then cop out! They literally chicken out so that we don't feel too bad while walking out of the movie. That's sad because we as an audience are ready to take it, now.
Then, there are these other things like having only one song before half-time which is picturized with Deepika Padukone. No doubt, this one is the typical good-locale-let's-dance-here kinds. But, if put in context with the placement and styles chosen for the two other songs with Minissha and Bipasha, you figure that its not without purpose, is very much in line with the subtext of the story and relates to how the male lead character feels for these women.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...there’s so much good writing here, and so many nicely drawn characters, that the overall film is a pleasant surprise – one that shows that a big glitzy commercial entertainer needn’t be entirely devoid of heart and soul.... full review
Thumbs up, Filmiholic : ...Yash Raj folks have managed to produce something that is modern enough to talk of flavored condoms and whipped cream...and yet everything is fresh and clean and without even a hint of sleaze... full review
Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...Ranbir Kapoor is the perfect choice for the character because even while breaking hearts, he exudes a certain innocent vulnerability making this character all the more loveable.... full review
So-So, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...BACHNA AE HASEENO has a great cast, great chemistry amongst actors [so sizzling, it could melt butter], great locations [jaw dropping actually] and some great moments... full review
So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, Mumbai Mirror : ...I can imagine pretty women drooling over this young thing. I can imagine pretty women drooling over this young thing. I can imagine pretty women drooling over this young thing.... full review
So-So, by Jahan Bakshi, Now Running.com : ...Siddharth Anand and Aditya Chopra evidently atleast care to use their brains to draw fairly credible outlines (if not detailed sketches) of characters... full review
So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The film's dialogue, actually, is its strongest asset, the lines working realistically on a rom-com level but, more impressively, staying in just the right key -- complete with slang and relatability... full review
Thumbs down, by Lidia Ostepeev, Planet Bollywood : ...When one’s whole presence in a film is either an act of homage to a more successful film or a repository for the patronising gestures of the leading male character, what chance does a female actor have to prove her worth?... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Raj (Ranbir Kapoor) doesn't want to commit himself in a relationship and is on the lookout for a girl whose needs match his.