Review: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

One often cribs about Yash Raj repeatedly casting SRK in similar roles, in film after film. However, this allegation is far from true. Right from DARR to CHAK DE INDIA, the combination has collaborated on varied subjects. With RAB NE BANA DI JODI, they take this association to another level altogether.

To start with, RAB NE BANA DI JODI brings back the golden team of DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE and MOHABBATEIN after a hiatus and the only parallel you can draw with the earlier achievements is the fact that each of them is a love story. Otherwise, RAB NE BANA DI JODI is truly different. It's not set in London or Switzerland, there's no sarso ke khet, it's not about a good looking couple sporting designer outfits and accessories, there's no parental opposition either.

Set your eyes anywhere and you see countless unknown faces. In markets, malls, streets, airports, stations, just about everywhere. And everyone who walks this planet has a story to tell. With RAB NE BANA DI JODI, Aditya Chopra talks of one such ordinary person. Living in one of those crowded bylanes of Amritsar, his life undergoes a 360 degree change the moment he sets his eyes on a beautiful girl.

Like SRK does a 360 degree turn in the movie, Aditya Chopra too does a complete turn as far as the story is concerned. Seeped in Indian emotions and traditional values and very desi at heart, RAB NE BANA DI JODI is a complete departure from the good-looking, picture perfect YRF movies that sport glam bodies parading designer outfits.

For the present-day generation, a story like RAB NE BANA DI JODI may come across as an original piece of work, but if you've been a keen observer of films of yore, you can't help overlook the similarities with Dr. V. Shantaram's NAVRANG and more precisely, Raj Kapoor's SATYAM SHIVAM SUNDARAM. In fact, RAB NE BANA DI JODI also brings back memories of the low-cost MAIN MERI PATNI AUR WOH [Rajpal Yadav, Rituparna Sengupta], not in terms of story, but in terms of characters.

The problem is, RAB NE BANA DI JODI works in patches. The first 30 minutes and the penultimate 30 minutes are the highpoint of the enterprise, but the screenplay in between doesn't hold your attention. That's the truth!

In a nutshell, RAB NE BANA DI JODI is no DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE. It's not MOHABBATEIN either. At best, it's an average fare that may generate some curiosity initially, that's it. You expect much, much more, but… alas!

Surinder [Shah Rukh Khan], a simple, clean hearted, honest man working for Punjab Power, leads a humdrum life, but the moment he sets his eyes on Taani [Anushka Sharma], his life undergoes a change. She's flamboyant, fun-loving, vivacious, unlike Surinder. But unforeseen circumstances bring them together.

Director Aditya Chopra chooses a desi plot and weaves a story around an ordinary, middle class couple. The story begins with gusto and the initial scenes between Shah Rukh and Anushka are thoroughly interesting. But the screenplay falters the moment Shah Rukh's character Surinder transforms into Raj and his personality undergoes a sea-change. The first question that strikes you is, why didn't Anushka realize it's him, her husband, not someone else? Sure, he has undergone a complete makeover, but how can you not recognise your husband's voice or appearance? That's a glaring flaw, it's like taking the viewer for granted!

The sequences thereafter are equally uneven. A few sequences are well executed, but the problem is that Shah Rukh keeps playing the game till the very end. If he had to win her heart, he could've done so by making her realize that it's a mirage, making her realize that the person she loves and the person she's married are the same.

There's a twist in the tale only towards the pre-climax, when Anushka is ready to elope with Raj, her dance partner. The climax, the drama that ensues during the finale of the dance competition, is excellent. Even the end [the honeymoon in Japan] brings a smile on your face.

Director Aditya Chopra is letdown by his own writing. The story is not convincing, the screenplay is not water-tight and therefore, RAB NE BANA DI JODI does not create the impact it ought to make. Also, the film is quite lengthy. With a running time of approx. 2.45 hours, RAB NE BANA DI JODI could've easily done with some trimming. The unwanted flab could've been trimmed for a better impact.

Salim-Sulaiman's music is of a mixed variety. 'Haule Haule' is a superb composition and 'Dance Pe Chance' is foot-tapping, but the remaining tracks, though well shot, are plain average. Ravi Chandran's cinematography is top notch.

Shah Rukh is superb as the simpleton and your heart goes out to him every time he appears on screen. You want the underdog to win and here too, the way SRK tackles this part, you're all the more convinced. As Raj, SRK goes overboard at times. Anushka looks the character and surprises you with a confident performance. It's no small achievement to share screen space with an actor of the calibre of SRK and Anushka manages it very well from start to end. Vinay Pathak is incredible. He contributes enormously in making the proceedings lively.

On the whole, RAB NE BANA DI JODI is vey desi at heart with a strong start and an equally strong emotional end. Having said that, you cannot deny the fact that you expect much, much more from Aditya Chopra. RAB NE BANA DI JODI is no DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE, it's not MOHABBATEIN either. It's lower than that! At the box-office, the business will be better at some multiplexes, while the single screens will be below average. The business in Overseas, however, should be better, but the business in India will totter, tremble and fumble after the initial weekend.

Bollywood.com Rating: 2.5

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