These days, I'm increasingly getting the feeling that the local multiplex is also doubling up as a time machine. You step in and are straight away transported to the
1980s, otherwise known as the worst decade of Hindi cinema.
Two weeks ago, it was Singh Saab the Great. And now it's R… Rajkumar. Though this film is better than that one, because at least director Prabhu Dheva and leading man Shahid Kapoor bring hard work and a degree of conviction to this grossly dated masala mix.
R… Rajkumar is ostensibly Prabhu Dheva's first non-remake Hindi film but you've seen it all before: a dialogue-spouting hero — his signature line is: "Silent hoja warna main violent ho jaunga"; assorted buffoonish villains; and a heroine, Chanda, played by Sonakshi Sinha, who gets tossed around between all of them.
Honestly, I try not to judge Hindi movies by how well or badly the female characters are treated, because then I pretty much can't enjoy anything. But R… Rajkumar is cheerfully, boisterously regressive.
Rajkumar stalks Chanda. When she slaps him, he uses the opportunity to kiss her hand. He surreptitiously enters her bedroom and sees her change. And incredibly, he calls her lollipop. None of this makes her angry — instead, she falls in love with him.
The villain, who is also besotted with her, says, "Tum hamare bageeche ka sabse sundar phool ho" and insists on marrying her, even giving a detailed description of how he will squeeze her on their wedding night.
The story is both abysmal and exhaustingly loud because when the hero isn't doing pyar, pyar, pyar, he's indulging in maar, maar, maar and men — defying every law of physics — are flying in all directions.
Some of the songs are catchy and there are about two-and-a-half genuinely funny moments in the film. Early in the courtship, when Chanda taunts Rajkumar about his lack of height, he retorts: "Tera wajan dekha hai. Main bhi toh adjust kar raha hoon." But that really isn't enough to make you adjust to this bludgeoning movie.