Raanjhanaa instantly struck as a love story that I want to watch. First with its quirky, earthy humor and then with Abhay Deol's entry into the trailer. So, here you have Sonam Kapoor being pursued by a lanky, villager hero with no style or substance and he is pitted against a star.
Finally, you have a tough fight between the guy you are supposed to root for and his opposition. That was one of my main problems with Jab We Met, Aditya Kashyap (Shahid Kapoor) had no competition in Anshuman (Tarun Arora)! In fact, withRaanjhanaa, it might be quite the opposite, you might just find yourself wanting the opposition to win, what with him being Abhay Deol!
Also, amidst all its fun, Raanjhanaa seems to be an intense experience of a person who has fallen in love. I just hope the Hindu-Muslim angle isn't going to take too much of screen time. Or if it does, it'll have a different approach from what we've been seeing for decades.
Another thing that bothers me is that it is from the makers of Tanu weds Manu. And the eerie reference to Saajan doesn't leave a very positive feel either.
But hey, it has the awesome music to start with.
Bollywood Hungama - "4.5/5" dunkdaft - "Rahman sir has blown away my speakers already, with the awesomeness of the earthy-classical-modern touch. " IBN Live - "3.5/5"
Milliblog - It is a 300-worder! That says it all!! Music Aloud - "8/10"
- meeta, a part of the audience
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
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...The musical sequences take over storytelling duties from the songless stretches, and the film feels like a unified whole. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...There are times when you feel Aanand might borrow from romantic movies of yore -- most storytellers take the tried and trusted course to appease the spectator -- but the plot changes relentlessly as it advances... full review
Thumbs up, by Rony D'Costa, Desi Martini : ...The first half is so terrific that you feel you have stepped into another film post interval but leaving the political drama aside I liked the second half too.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...The second half is less life-like. The director does not seem entirely at ease with the familiar Delhi scene of political tussles—between corruption and idealism, the big greedy wolves and the kurta-wearing small elite.... full review
Thumbs up, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...The story is anything but a straightforward romance. If you're going in to watch it as a date film, check yourself. Raanjhanaa is expansive.... full review
Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...She does not miss a trick in conveying the emotional ups and downs of a small-town girl who grows out of her moorings over a period of nearly a decade. ... full review
Thumbs up, by Resham Sengar, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Technically too, the film is very sound. The credit goes to the cinematographers Natarajan Subramaniam and Vishal Sinha for capturing the best visuals of Benaras and also for aesthetically portraying the rustic bylanes of the town. ... full review
So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...RAANJHANAA could have reached a different level altogether in this particular genre. But in its present avatar it just remains an above average love saga with a difference. ... full review
So-So, by Khalid Mohamed, Deccan Chronicle : ...The more inspired casting is to be discovered in the ensemble actually. Swara Bhaskar and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as the hero’s support systems, and Shilpi Marwaha, are unquestionably impressive. ... full review
So-So, by Tushar Joshi, DNA : ...Sonam is at ease playing Zoya. She carries the heavy burden of making a smooth transition from being the effervescent girl next door to someone who is dealing with sudden loss. Also full credit to her for looking the part. ... full review
So-So, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...Thankfully Dhanush's infectious presence makes it worth your while, so that even though you have misgivings about the film’s trajectory, you have no regrets having watched it.... full review
So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Aanand L Rai who gave us an acute, well-observed small town sensibility in his first film Tanu Weds Manu, brings the same skill sets to Raanjhanaa. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Anna Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...Himanshu Sharma’s screenplay also leaves enough room for viewers who are thus inclined to condemn Zoya as a tease. Seriously, would a girl brought up in conservative Banaras openly embrace a guy on a street in that city? ... full review
Thumbs down, by Piyasree Dasgupta, FirstPost : ...The biggest problem with Raanjhanaa isn’t the fact that Sonam Kapoor’s evolution as an actress means she now has a sum total of three expressions. Neither is it that according to Rai’s worldview, JNU and common sense are mutually exclusive. ... full review
Thumbs down, Free Press Journal : ...The narrative spiel takes one bizarre turn after another and the characters behave with near total self obsession that it’s just not funny or entertaining. ... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Amit : Dhanush announces his arrival on stage
Yay! Thumbs Up, by amit kaundinya : Dhanush does in Ranjhana what SRK did many years ago in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na, playing a rather grey c
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Anup : u may watch it on dvd,,,,but investing on big screen will not be a waste
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Fan
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Lavina Melwani
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Mohammad farooq : Must watch!!
Yay! Thumbs Up, by nirmal : haven't watched yet
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Raj : Excellent first half! Outstanding Dhanush. Brilliant Rahman.
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Suman
Yay! Thumbs Up, by vipul
So-So, by Amodini : Fails as a romance
So-So, by Indian Dramas Episodes
So-So, by mac
So-So, by silvan : nryhats your
Nay! Thumbs Down, by arvindD : it sucks. -10 out of 10
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