As he arrives on the scene of his marriage, the waiting-for-long and tired traditional Indian wedding orchestra or the bandwallahs notice him and stand up murmuring amongst them “Dulha aagaya!” (The groom is here!). They begin playing of a typical Bollywood song usually played on Hindu weddings. The loud music disturbs the dead cold silence spread on the scene. And the chirpiness and joy of matrimony was missing on the spot as the guests have left long ago. As a heartbroken and miffed lover, he was so busy tangling and detangling his ladylove’s affairs that he forgot to show up on his own wedding. This is Anand L. Rai’s ‘Raanjhanaa’ – one who would go out of his way to unleash mayhem in his beloved’s life to cool off his rage and then put his life at stake to undo his wrongdoings!
Set in the holy city of Benaras, ‘Raanjhanaa’ unfolds the story of a Tamil Bramhin Kundan (Dhanush K. Raja) who develops a crush on the Muslim Zoya (Sonam Kapoor) in childhood. In fact, it was a crush-at-first-sight for Kundan. The crush grows into love as they arrive on the threshold of puberty. The boy proposes love but the girl rejects. But after getting slapped 16 times, slitting his wrist and some emotional blackmailing later, the boy gets his way with the girl. Their romance is killed by the girl`s orthodox parents even before it surges when she is sent to another city to finish her studies. 8 years later, the boy grows into a man, who is now waiting eagerly to have his beloved back in town but the girl (now a grown up woman), has found a mate of a better bearing. Doomed love, ill-timed death, revenge and some youth-led political campaigns dot the rest of the film`s story.
Clearly, `Raanjhanaa` is a love story that does not fall within the confines of a clichéd Bollywood romance.
Performance wise, expect nothing but a good show from everyone in the film. In his title role, Dhanush exudes excellence whenever he appears on the screen. Not with the kind of looks that a Bollywood hero is expected to have, Dhanush has hit the bull’s eye and that too as a romantic hero in his Hindi debut – all thanks to his acting finesse. He has reiterated the fact that a good actor is not at the mercy of good looks. To sum it up, this `Raanjhanaa` is charmer.
Sonam Kapoor seems to have bettered her acting skills and she looks quite convincing before and after interval. Abhay Deol, as Sonam`s love interest, has done complete justice to his cameo appearance. He has been well chosen for the part of a leader and a political activist.
Of the supporting cast, Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub and Swara Bhaskar are brilliant. Ayyub and Dhanush's camaraderie and banter is humour-inducing and entertaining at times during the film. A pat on the back goes to the casting director for choosing perfect actors, for even small parts, in the film.
Technically too, the film is very sound. The credit goes to the cinematographers Natarajan Subramaniam and Vishal Sinha for capturing the best visuals of Benaras and also for aesthetically portraying the rustic bylanes of the town.
A.R. Rahman's soundtrack is music to the ears and the film is rightly filled with song and dance sequences. The ones that are truly likeable are 'Piya Milenge', 'Tum Tak', the title track and 'Tu Mun Shudi,' which, by the way, is quite similar to 'Dhakka Laga Bukka' from Mani Ratnam's 'Yuva'.
The dialogues have been penned down logically, they all sound convincing and thereby, end up making the scenes and the characters look impressionable. Anand L. Rai's direction is an added boon for the film, paired with the flawless storyline. Rai tactfully shifts the scenes that keep the viewers' attention intact till the end.
Be it for its technical pros or for Dhanush's Bollywood debut, 'Raanjhanaa' makes for a good watch this weekend. Four stars for ‘Raanjhanaa’!