Raabta Review: Earnest Sushant Singh Rajput can't combat cliched writing..

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Bollywood.com Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

By Rohit Vats, Hindustan Times

Reincarnation is still a sought-after theme for the Hindi film industry despite its fondness for modern clothes, gadgets and locations. 
Commercially successful films and shows like Baahubali and Game Of Thrones also influence choices. Sometimes, then, filmmakers appear stuck in a dilemma . Debutant director Dinesh Vijan is probably one of them.
Vijan’s Raabta (Urdu for connection) is thematically a ‘love-never-dies’ sort of a film, and it wants to look glossy, which means the characters are likely to make transitions in time and space. With such predictability comes the challenge of striking a balance between two different time zones. Raabta struggles real hard there.
Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Shaira (Kriti Sanon), which seems Bollywood’s current favourite name for NRI girls, meet in picturesque Budapest and realise they might have a history, from a previous birth maybe.
Shaira, a non-committal chocolate maker, gets inexplicable flashes, but then she meets a globe-trotting, cynical yet charming business tycoon Zak Merchant (Jim Sarbh) and her world turns upside down, literally.
Nobody knows where things are headed till Vijan decides to go all out on cheesy lines, saturated colours and a dash of hastily planned flashback.
To his credit, he manages to assemble the desired ingredients of a ‘masala’ Bollywood film: A hardworking lead fresh out of a sizeable success, a fairly recognisable heroine, Deepika Padukone for a cameo, and a bankable antagonist in Jim Sarbh. But the mixture doesn’t quite shape up in something very exciting.
Vijan’s vision is clichéd and that hampers the film more than anything else. The guy and the girl have to look up-market and thus are a banker and a chocolate maker. The cynical one has to creepily sing old Hindi songs and paint.
At some point, they would also talk how they knew they would meet. The good yet valiant guy and the rich yet hysterical cynic would also engage in a tussle to impress the heroine somewhere during the first half. They would do it the old fashioned way by actually saying, ‘Ladki to main hi le ke jaaunga.’ In all of this, the girl would mostly play coy and keep giggling.
Such films also need an indispensable friend for occasional comic relief and good-natured flower sellers to make us believe in the beauty of mankind.
Nothing wrong, just clichéd.
But that’s also wasting terrifically talented actors such as Sushant Singh Rajput and Jim Sarbh. They are capable of more than simply repeating what we have already seen.
Rajput and Sarbh try despite striking loopholes in the screenplay, and that saves Raabta to a good extent. Rajput, in particular, rises and does what is expected of him. He is pleasant and performs action sequences with aplomb. His cockiness may appeal to some.
Sarbh makes the most of the opportunity and shines as a person struggling to come to terms with the reality.
Raabta lacks the finesse required to pull off a theme like this, but it is definitely good to look at. From Budapest to colour blasts during flashback scenes, it features some captivating moments. Sadly that doesn’t seem enough.
Poor writing is Raabta’s nemesis provided you don’t want to settle for a ‘being there’ done that’ kind of a story.