Raanjhanaa means someone who loves you deeply. Staying true to its meaning, the film directed by Anand L Rai, is full of allure and aspiration. For a reason known or unknown you will fall in love with this film. Call it bringing back the ‘old world charm’ or blame it on collating the fine shades of boisterous Varanasi or the convincing performances of all the members of the cast. Raanjhanaa ably brings many themes under its ambit – friendship, love, sacrifice, courage, remorse and unusual happenings of destiny.
In colorful Varanasi there lives a stringy, dark guy (the fact disclosed by him in the film) – son of a Hindu priest. The guy is so thin that he might get blown away by a whiff of air. He’s madly in love with a haughty, highfalutin girl – daughter of a Muslim professor. In the later part, when the movie shifts its base to Delhi and JNU campus, the script makes way for political idealism, putting love and sacrifice to test. The idea is big – a small town story moves onto the national landscape.
Kundan (Dhanush) falls for Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) since his childhood. In that town, it’s unlikely that their love blossoms and they get married. But Kundan is undeterred. He pursues this task like a UPSC exam (as told by his close friend Murari). He reiterates the fact that lovers can walk any distance to get their love and makes slashing of wrists a common task – nothing fancy and nothing scary about it. Kundan, with his acts, amuses and angers Murari (Zeeshan Ayyub) and the girl Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar) – who falls for him. Both Murari and Bindiya are mesmeric characters in the film. Their presence as part of the supporting cast highlights the character of Kundan.
Zoya never allows Kundan to get through. She, with her education, widens her horizon and, now, wants to make her own choices. She wants to marry someone who is like her and befriends Kundan when there’s a need. Jasjeet (Abhay Deol), a student leader, plays a pivotal role and becomes the causative factor for the follow of events in the second half. Kundan and Zoya travel together for the rest of the film and a portentous course leads to the climax.
The film is not another Bombay or any film that operated in this territory. Despite the story is rampant with communal tension, nothing is brought out in the scenes or the dialogues. It goes against romanticizing the message of Hindu-Muslim union. What works for the film is not the element of religion, but the emotional baggage, esp. the controlled emotions. They charge the movie and make it electrifying, and that derails the film from the normal track.
Raanjhanaa is vibrant and charming in the first half. Anand Rai packs all the fun-filled moments and good songs in the first half. Dhanush’s antics are humorous. His character Kundan is ruffled but not rash. He always surprises with his next move. The first half is humorous, charming and believable. The rustic flavor of a small town in UP is veritable. On the flip side, the second half lacks zing. The director is not in form while drawing the political imagery of Delhi. He couldn’t perfectly establish the scuffle between venality and idealism. The screenplay goes a bit haywire in this part but culminates in an endearing finale.
In the film, Kundan lives in two worlds and his presence acts as a bridge between them and keeps the narrative flowing. Dhanush stands out from the rest. He pulls off every act with ease. May not be a hero material but adds soul to the entire body of the film. Sonam Kapoor never tried to move an inch from her previous outings. Though she was appealing in the first half, she failed to deliver at the right time. She got multiple moments in the later half to outshine Dhanush but she says barely capitalizes on that front. You want to sympathize for her but become restrained, and without blinking for a while, your focus shifts to Dhanush. He owns this film and keeps it bouncy and watchable till the end credits.
There’s lot to Raanjhanaa than a simple story of love. Although the director couldn’t manage to bring most of it to the screen, he used the right tinge to paint the picture. Raanjhanaa is a medium which amalgamates various art forms into a coherent milieu. And the whole process creates a lasting impact on the viewer. Anand rai’s treatment is poetic and his fine elements create a panoramic drama: filled with emotions, laced with lilts, frantic camera, chromatic frames and a tempo underscored by the flavorsome background score of A R Rahman.
My Rating: Expectation – 6/10; Reality – 7/10view less