Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Review
As I walked into the movie hall, the same two questions that made me, and perhaps, many others so eager to watch Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was bouncing and ricocheting in my head with alarming velocity. Will Aditya Chopra pull it off superbly? Or will he botch it up unforgivably?
I was convinced the answer could lie only at one of the two extremes- and why not? This is Aditya Chopra's first film after eight years, and this film had to be big- even if it meant a gargantuan disappointment- something we have almost come to take for granted from the Yash Raj banner of late.
Well, you know what? Aditya Chopra just managed to pull the carpet from under my feet. And while this review may make some feel like the subsequent 'fall' has made me lose my head, frankly, my dear- I don't give a damn if this Rabs them the wrong way.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi isn't even a 'great' film, but it gave me a feeling I had long forgotten- of soaring out of the theatre, having watched a film that swept me off and won me over, so much that I didn't really care to nit-pick. Now that is precisely what 'Yash Raj films' were meant to do in the first place, isn't it?
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi does just that. I didn't care that it was overlong, or that it was packed with those terribly cheesy references to the banner's own films and more than a dozen of those syrupy scenes. All I know is that it was a jolly good Yash Raj Film, one that finally left me feeling good. For that simple fact, I think it needs to be loved for just what it is, quite like its immensely endearing lead character.
And what a lead character- Surinder Sahni is as hard not to like as WALL-E- one look into his eyes, and your heart melts. It's difficult not to feel for Suri as this unattractive, timid, bespectacled bloke earnestly yearns for his wife's elusive love. He wants her so much that he transforms himself into another person, but will she ever love him for what he really is?
The much-guarded story of RNBDJ was leaked quite a while back- and yes, it pretty much plays out the way you heard it- Mr. Sahni becomes Raj Kapoor and plays the double role of husband and dance-partner, and yes, the wife never spots the difference. While it sounds implausible, it's really a tale about multiple identities, suppressed desires, marital incompatibility and above all- pure love- that almost verges on magic realism. The strokes, expectedly though are pretty broad- and while I would be kidding myself if I expected finer details and nuances in this movie- but RNBDJ also often surprised me with its depth, something that Chopra did earlier this year too, in the much lighter and sillier Bachna Ae Haseeno which he wrote.
It all works, through all the hiccups and howlers, simply because at its center lies a rare honesty and an all rounder charmer called Shah Rukh Khan. As Suri, he wonderfully creates an instantly lovable, relatable and real hero, and how you root for the proverbial guy with a heart of gold. And as Raj Kapoor, he is equally delightful, as he mocks and lampoons himself with wry disdain, strutting around in those tight, colorful t-shirts and denims- totally unafraid of making a fool of him - and in the process, he and Chopra have fun deconstructing and reinventing the 'Raj' persona. Shah Rukh constantly treads a fine line, making Suri extraordinary and special within his ordinary exterior, precariously balancing flair with restraint, and yet he goes out on a limb to give us a really good time without making a big deal or ham sandwich of it.
Meanwhile, Anushka Sharma makes for a very believable Punjabi kudi, and compliments are in order for sheer confidence, strong screen presence and a dazzling smile- as Taani, she does an admirable job of creating empathy for a character who's not really particularly well written. And here is a 'virginal' Yash Raj heroine who shouts 'b**ch!' without as much as a twitch, as she makes a bike swerve with astonishing spunk and verve. Dhoom to that, I say.
Yes, there's a terribly gimmicky and needless Bollywood-through-the-ages song (with the customary guest appearances) that Farah Khan has done earlier and better. Yes, the music reaches a crescendo ever too often, and while decent, it could have been better. Yes, it occasionally lays it on real thick with emotion and endless talk about tujhme/usme/kisme Rab dikhta hai. And yet, for those 2 hours and 40 minutes I was pretty enthralled, and what's more- I enjoyed a Hindi movie in a way that I had not in a long time- elated, enraptured and exhilarated.
I won't go into details and spoil it for you. Watch it, make sure you watch it with your heart, and more likely than not, you'll love it. And for once, I won't be cringing when I see a big Bollywood film become a super-hit. That's why I'm going to really stick out my neck here and give it that extra star, because- Yes, Messrs Chopra- this time, I think you've really earned it.
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