I was surprised that Raja Rani turned out to be such an entertaining film when I had the least expectations from it. Yes, I didn’t have much expectation from the film after watching its trailer a month back, but I was proved wrong. It turned out to be a refreshing romantic entertainer supported by neat performances by its entire cast, especially Nayanthara and Jai in particular. The film’s strength is its simple story and the performances of its cast.
When director Atlee said that the film is based on the premise that there is love after love failure, I presumed he is going to end up churning a clichéd tale of romance. But, he presents a story every couple in a relationship, love or marriage, can easily connect with and embrace it.
The film opens with the wedding ceremony of John and Regina, played by Arya and Nayanthara, who have agreed to marry each other to keep their respective families happy. However, wedding only makes things between them worse as they hate each other to the core and never aspire of living happily ever after.
After some time, John and Regina learn about each other’s past and come to terms. However, both hesitate to reveal feelings they have for one another forcing things between them to turn uglier. Will they accept each other leaving behind their respective pasts and find love? This forms the rest of the story.
Even before I start raving about the film, let me complain that I had a problem with its running time. At 2 hours 44 minutes, I felt Raja Rani would have been much better film with some tighter editing. It could have been shortened by at least twenty minutes, but sadly we are made to sit through the last minute.
The film bridges the gap between love and marriage by highlighting that there is love after heartbreak. One of the reasons I instantly liked the film is because it never gets preachy, but only points you at the right direction of a relationship. The direction that will eventually lead you to happiness provided you are ready to let go off your past and embrace your present. It has its share of clichéd moments such as the overly dramatic cinematic climax, but you can’t help the fact that the overall output is worth sitting through.
While the film features Arya, one of highly successful heroes in the industry, but I felt the performances of Nayanthara and Jai was the best among others. Arya and Santhanam share some lighter moments together, while Nazriya doesn’t have a strong role to portray her talent.
The first half of the film was highly entertaining with an emotional punch right before the interval, while the following half struggled to evoke interest in the audience as much as its predecessor. The climax was overtly clichéd and you wonder how a film, which was heading in the right path, could all of a sudden shift gears and change lanes towards the end.
Debutant Atlee handles his script with conviction, but he loses control of it at regular intervals while trying to keep it as commercial as possible. It isn’t a great debut, but it’s a better film from a debutant among a crop of first time filmmaker of the recent past.
Raja Rani is a refreshing take on romance and is one of the better films of this year in this genre.