Friday, 21 June 2013

Raanjhanaa Review : Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Director : Aanand Rai

Starring :  Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub, Swara Bhaskar

I am a sucker for love stories and romance. Set it up in the vibrant colorful by-lanes of Benaras and put in the most unconventional hero one has seen in recent times, you get my curiosity soaring.

I had quite enjoyed Aanand's debut, Tanu Weds Manu despite the weak second half. This one betters his first, despite a meandering and convenience laden chunks in the second half.

Dhanush shines in this epic love story spanning almost 2 decades. If there was a figment of doubt in me regarding him in a Bollywood film, I am so glad to be proven wrong. The role is tailor made for him, as a Tamil boy whose family has settled in Benaras generations back. One look at Zoya ( Sonam Kapoor) and the young Kundan is in love for life. It doesn't take much to figure that their love is not going to be an easy journey, considering they are of different religions.

Kundan's love is pure, all encompassing and never say die. Despite being spurned by Zoya who is now a teenager, and a series of slaps later, Kundan manages to stir her heart. But they are separated before their love can bloom and her parents send her away to Aligarh. Eight years later, while Kundan has been counting every heartbeat waiting for his love to return, Zoya comes back changed and in love with someone she has met in her Delhi college. As his world breaks around him piece by piece, we are taken on to a journey which  only strengthens his undying love for Zoya.

The film has many twists and turns and I definitely do not want to give any spoilers here.

The script is strong till the end, barring the middle where the film takes on political issues and college activism.

The Benaras of Raanjhanaa is beautiful, with couple of excellently shot Holi sequences, the music is used well and the songs become sweeter as the story unfolds. A.R Rahman proves yet again why he is god for so many music lovers. Vishal and Nataraja deserve a special mention for the camerawork, and so does Hemal Kothari, who has infused a beautiful rhythm in this love story. Specially in the first half. The dialogues are really well written, and give form to the characters and a platform to perform. My favorite is "Hum Benaras ke hain, yahan nahi jeete toh kahan jeetenge".

This film throws surprises at you and the best part is, most of the time it doesn't question your intelligence.  .

Coming back to Dhanush, he is so believable that you might find your eyes moist when he hurts and you will laugh and chuckle with him as he does all crazy things possible that lovers often do. I for one might see it again only for him. Sonam has put in hard work and it is evident. Though in some crucial scenes her limitations as a performer are obvious, specially her lack of control on diction in  high emotional scenes. Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub ( as Murari)  is brilliant as usual, there is not a single performance of his where he has not impressed me. His friendship is unquestioning and he is always there for his bachpan ka yaar. I have had the pleasure to watch the yet unreleased Shahid by Hansal Mehta, where again he was superb. Watch out for him. Swara Bhaskar is again very nuanced, though her character is not multi-dimensional. Sonam's shortcomings are more visible since she is surrounded by such great performers.

Abhay Deol, hmmmm, well he really is of very little consequence to the film, barring some twists in the tale.

Over all a film you must watch, for it also heralds the comeback of a certain kind of love story... my lips are sealed, can't say more.

My Rating 3 for the film extra .5 just for Dhanush


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