I'll head to the theatre, first day (if exams, next day :P) to watch any movie with Shah Rukh Khan (SRK)on the porch, and what more to lure me when he plays a middle aged, average-looking, working class salary man who attempts a romantic adventure of his life. Every film doesn’t have a great thought. It takes watertight screenplay and direction to make a blemished concept into a great movie.
RNBDJ is an adventurous experiment, a happy albeit superficial compromise between art-house and commercial cinema, a product that’s best described by the leading man’s moustache and glasses. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (RNBDJ) the plain translation of the title means "A couple made by God” does have an interesting concept, but poor screenplay plays spoil sport here. A film about an introverted, ordinary-looking, boring man (SURINDER-SRK 1) who disguises himself as the fun loving Bubbly (RAJ- SRK-2) on learning that his wife would never love him, plots to cheat and mess with her head, complicating her already vulnerable state! Whom she chooses (or God chooses) to be her lover forms the rest of the story.
Surinder’s love life is practically zip, but on a visit to his old school teacher's home, he gets captivated by the beauty and exuberance of his teacher's daughter Taani (Anushka Sharma) but that day turns out to be a tragedy instead, with her fiancé and in-laws meeting with a fatal accident and her father coincidentally suffering a stroke (Dai! This is two, three, four much!) A decision was made then, for her to be betrothed and married to Surinder someone whom her father trusts Suri concedes; Taani tearfully agrees only to please her father….. Sounds utmost stupidity, isn’t it?
She can be a good wife to him, but she will never love him. Naturally this breaks Surinder's heart because he had in the first place been associated with her pain. While he has some little itsy-bitsy happiness stemmed from Taani's taking care of him, he still feels shattered knowing that whatever sincerity, care and concern he'll be showering will be of no use. His efforts to win her over and make her understand his love won’t have any effect.
Life takes a turn when Taani, bored with being a housewife, signs up for a dance class and with the help of his good friend Bobby (Vinay Pathak) a hair-saloon owner, Surinder transforms himself to the charming romantic hero with an alter ego Raj. He joins the dance class and by chance — or, as he believes, by divine intervention — becomes Taani's partner in the competition. Despite Raj's initial crudeness — a result of Surinder's inexperience with women and his attempt to emulate the "cool" images from movies — he and Taani become friends as they work together on their dance routine. Suri starts wooing Taani from scratch with this new, outgoing persona- Raj. But alas as we all know, such a plan becomes a formula for disaster, thus he struggles with the pain of living a lie, especially when his plan becomes successful and leaves him pondering over whether to live a lie forever?
The big surprise is the tiny three-member cast, instead of the standard full-scale Yashraj family from grand grand ma ji’s to grand grand chota chota child ji’s and Middle-class homes, offices, instead of Flamboyant Palaces and Swiss cottages. A bolt from the blue is the hero who wears a thick moustache, black-framed spectacles and pants (which don’t fit) A simple, charming heroine dressed for the most part in ‘salwaar kameez’ and I was scratching my head- Could this really be a Yashraj film? The outlines of the characters are new but the brush-strokes that fill in the whole aren’t. The few fresh touches in ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’ are trounced by those that are all too familiar.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi thus becomes mixed up with plenty of situational comedy involving unusual identities, but at its core ought to be a very strong romance story dealing with the idea of unconditional love without expecting anything in return, fails due to an inept screenplay and soporific dialogs that have less life in them than Manmohan Singh’s speeches (except climax)
It is accepted that Taani can’t identify her husband in disguise the first time they meet, but even after days of being together with both the characters; her inability to identify the disguise is plain lack of common sense. To ask the audience to believe that a woman can’t recognize her husband just because he’s removed his moustache and donned a flashy dress is to suggest that Indian moviegoers need a brain-transplant.
If Raj can be that intelligent in making her fall in love with him, then why doesn’t Surinder try such atrocious ideas to impress her? Then what is the use of singing “slowly, slowly, love will come” every now and then?
If at all one wants to watch this movie, then it is for SRK; be it the reserved Surinder who loves his wife behind her back or the openly flirting Raj,
SRK essays both the roles to near perfection; especially in the scene near the climax where SRK cries and laughs at the same time, breathing life into the longest of monologues when Taani tells Raj that she is in love with Surinder. While a superstar plays the same type over and over again, an actor tries to break the mould and reinvents himself. RNBDJ is that rare film where an icon gets to feed both the actor and the star in him and Shah Rukh Khan celebrates in both these roles and if anyone's in doubt of his acting ability, I guess this one movie will show what he's capable of. In fact, between his portrayal of Raj and Surinder, I choose the latter more, because he had fused some wonderful shades into his Surinder that makes him an instantly likable character, special credit, internal emotional struggles he has to go through as he woos his wife.
Anushka Sharma is as mediocre an actress and she resembles Sonam Kapoor (of Saawariya fame) from some angles. So I could confront she is my next ANGEL if I fail in winning SONAM. In few scenes (the initial confrontation with Surinder about not loving him and when Surinder tries the Sumo-wrestling nonsense), Anushka flounders and is all at sea and her best performance comes from the finale where you can see how she reacts on knowing world come crashing down under the weight of realization.
Being a Bollywood movie would also mean plenty of song and dance, and being set against the backdrop of a dance competition, it brings about opportunities for the characters to hit the dance floor their moves. Like the rest of the RNBDJ nonsense, music is poppycock. None of the songs are likely to stand the test of time. Both Haule Haule and Dance Pe Chance were so bad that I have a hard time believing human were involved in their choreography.
Aditya Chopra, Mr. Lobotomy is credited with the silly story, hopeless screenplay, prosaic dialogs and complete (mis)direction. Aditya Chopra forgot the most essential aspect of commercial film making while writing the script: the audience should not be led to think about the movie while watching it. But the screenplay is a complete let-down. He also borrows a trick or two from Hollywood’s romantic comedies — the makeover segment or the dance competition ploy to weave the plot around.
To all Shahrukh Khan Fans whose hearts are aflutter each time their hero’s movies are released and if he thinks the audience would lap up any tripe he throws their way, I say not to waste either time or money in theatre added Popcorn, Cola losses. Wait for any Hindi channel, if to aired on Valentine’s Day or get a DVD.
Mr. Critic 5-Star: **
P.S: Images courtesy- IndiaGlitz
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