What is the only reason that will make you smile like an idiot in the middle of the street? Or give you the courage to confront your dreamgirl without worrying about the consequences? Or give a false sense of victory and take it away all at once?
Love. It can only be love.
All through the movie, you expect the imminent happy ending, half wishing to see something ‘different’ – and you are proven right. Raanjhanaa moves away from the regular love triangles and gives a fresh perspective to the concept of love – the human embodiment to The Pogues’ song “I’ll love you till the end”.
Set in Benaras and Delhi, Raanjhanaa is story of a Tamil speaking priest’s son, Kundan (Dhanush) who is in love with a Muslim professor’s daughter, Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), since an age where even the concept of love is unknown. As he grows older, the feelings just grow stronger, never to diminish. So much so that every slap Zoya gives is like a brush of a feather. Every rejection is a challenge to try harder. It is the consistency and earnestness of his crooked attempts to woo, that make Zoya give in, if only briefly.
Zoya moves to Delhi and returns grown up and grown out into a strong independent woman, embroiled in politics and in love with Jagjit (Abhay Deol). However, Kundan is still in the same zone – a happy-go-lucky, hopeless romantic clinging to his single minded obsession to be with her. Though broken hearted, he sets out to help Zoya, even if it is for the selfish reason to be together.
The movie broaches various social issues such as Hindu-Muslim divide, rape, faulty land acquisitions and the easy dispensability of the common man. Kundan, who moves from being chaiwala to a public speaker, shows a different side to his personality – his ability to emotionally move individuals.
Director Aanand Rai stays true to his vision throughout the movie with much conviction. Shorten the screenplay by 15-20 minutes and you have a much powerful story. Also the ease with which the leads characters slit their wrists is disturbing.
Cinematographers Natarajan Subramaniam and Vishal Sinha bring out the colourful vibrancies of Benaras and the contrasting dull hues of Delhi with élan.
The music may not be memorable – but that is the beauty of it. A. R. Rahman’s score blends in artistically and complements the storyline perfectly.
Sonam, in her career’s best performance, delivers a range of emotions effortlessly, while looking beautiful in every scene.
But the movie belongs to Dhanush. He neither has the looks nor the six packs of a hero, but is a superstar in his own right. His lean frame fills the entire screen. His acting pierces like an arrow – bang on target. He is like a magnet – pulling you into Kundan’s world and making you believe in his one-sided ill-fated love story. You are silently rooting for him every time his love is let down, trampled upon, played with, betrayed and rejected outright. And boy can he dance!
At the onset, the pairing of Dhanush and Sonam seems absolutely wrong. But they manage to bring out a quaint likeable quality to their romance.
In a special appearance, Abhay brings dimpled charm and maturity to his performance as a young politician who heads a team of like-minded individuals to change the corrupt political system of the country. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, as the BFF and Swara Bhaskar, Kundan’s smitten, short-tempered childhood companion lend brilliant support to the story.
All in all, the movie is a wonderful watch, despite the unbelievability of its story. So grab a ticket and go watch Raanjhanaa – if only to fall in love all over again!