Starring: Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Shilpi Marwaha
Directed by: Anand L Rai
Earlier outings by south Indian male stars in Bollywood have usually prompted the well-rehearsed shake of the head by unimpressed critics. However this time around, Dhanush and the makers of ‘Raanjhanaa’ have little to worry about. A well-told story and good performances wins more than half the battle for the film and it's unlikely you’ll leave the cinema hall singing ‘Why this kolaveri di’?
What's it about?
Set in Benaras, ‘Raanjhanaa’ is about Kundan (Dhanush) and his obsessive love for Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). When a waist-high Kundan Shankar sets his eyes on Zoya Haider, a lifelong passion begins. But their school romance soon comes to a halt when Zoya realizes that Kundan is Hindu. As can be predicted, the summer fling results in a pressure cooker situation at home complete with fuming parents, who pack Zoya away to her aunt's place. Time goes by, but our hero’s love for Zoya remains unchanged. Nearly a decade later when Zoya returns to Benaras, Kundan realises sadly that the wait wasn't worth his while. Saying anything further will be a spoiler but we must add that a shocking kahaani mein twist awaits.
Having seen a fair number of rather good looking South actors failing to make an impression, we weren't very convinced since Dhanush is as unconventional as they come. However barring his strong Tamil accent, we think Dhanush effortlessly carries ‘Raanjhanaa’ on his shoulders alone. From besotted school boy to devoted lover, he makes it all work and there are hardly any glaring faults to his performance.
Now here’s a role that Sonam Kapoor can be proud of. Having played a small town girl before in ‘Mausam’ and ‘Saawariya’, this is the only time she hasn't made us cringe. She fumbles in a few emotional scenes but this may be her best performance so far. Abhay Deol’s part is just an extended cameo but the excitement he brings along is a welcome change to the tone of the story thus far. We would have liked to see more of the good-looking Deol boy onscreen but other than the short length of his role, he gives us nothing to complain about. Swara Bhaskar as Bindiya gives a stellar performance. Her mannerisms are just right and she keeps the proceedings interesting. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Murari is another character to look forward to. As Dhanush’s friend and reliable sidekick he mouths some of the better dialogues in the film. A few lines like ‘Mohalle ke ladko ka pyaar aksar doctor aur engineer le jaate hain’ and ‘Pyaar nahi hua, UPSC ka exam ho gaya, 10 saal se clear hi nahi ho raha’ keep you in splits.
We loved the engaging first half of the movie and also the dramatic turn of events that continue even after the curtains raise for the second half. However, it is the end where the story begins to drag after taking a different turn.
What to do?
Despite a few flaws, ‘Raanjhanaa’ is an entertaining love story and a Dhanush movie all the way. We recommend you visit the theaters for this one.
in.com rating: 3.5/5
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