Saturday, December 27, 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 167 Minutes
Release Date : 12th Dec 2008
Director & Writer : Aditya Chopra; Music : Salim - Sulaiman
Starring : Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Vinay Pathak

This one is implausible yet endearing. It is frivolous yet serious, even emotional at times. Its almost three hours long, yet stars only the 3 actors mentioned above. Surinder Sahni (Shahrukh) is an ordinary, middle class bloke who in very unusual circumstances gets married to Taani, a very pretty young thing, full of life and feisty. Quite early on, she declares that though she will be a good wife, she can never really love him. And Shahrukh, aided by his good friend Bobby Khosla (Vinay Pathak in yet another delightful cameo), spends the rest of the movie trying to make her.

Well written & directed by Aditya Chopra himself, the film captures quite well the shy hesitancy of the initial stages of marriage, especially arranged ones. The polite, almost formal language, the awkwardness of suddenly being in a room alone with someone new, the slow ferreting of information about the other (do you like biryani ?) etc. And, as usual, we enjoy watching the contrasting characters of Surinder Sahni and Taani interact, the lovely smile of one vs the shy, almost silent smile of the other. The cool strength of one vs the more volatile temperament of the other. And finally there is this whole dimension about the secret character inside all of us – the one we bury under the formalities and customs of the world, whom we let out for brief moments only in front of the bathroom mirrors or our daydreams. It makes for engaging viewing.

The music is a big plus. The title track, Haule Haule, is excellent, with its music used through the film as background music. The other songs also fit well, provide good entertainment, including the one where old Hindi songs and titles are parodied mercilessly. One of the highlights of the film for me was the Dhoom sequence, for its sheer surprise and freshness. Anushka is very, very good in her first movie, she’s a great find. She is charming, with a really nice 1000 watt smile. And unlike the almost sinful beauty and looks of the Priyanka’s, Kareena’s and Aishwarya’s, her looks are pleasant, engaging and well, charming, I think is a good way to describe them. Shahrukh alternates between understatement and a wildly exaggerated character. The former is fun as we’re not used to seeing a deglamorised SRK (there is a scene where a topless Shahrukh is shown bathing underneath a tap, as far a cry from the Dard-e-Disco days as imaginable). And the latter is fun as Shahrukh overacts as only he can, throwing exaggerated mannerisms, trembling lips and everything but the kitchen sink at the role.

The length of the film (it drags a bit in the second half) and the sheer implausibility of it all, along with the predictability are what pull the movie back somewhat. But its worth noting, that despite the length most of the audience stayed for the photographs during the end-credits (the commentary apparently penned by SRK himself).

That’s as much a tribute to the rich characters created in the film and their sheer lovability as to the fact that you watch most of the film with a smile on your face. I saw the film without any idea as to what it was about, I'd not seen a single promo or trailer of the film, which made it more enjoyable for me.And truly, love does happen in the unlikeliest of places and in the unlikeliest of people. This film is a timely, gentle reminder of that…