From the trailers, you probably thought Raanjhanaa was a one-sided love story with a political subtext. Yes, Raanjhanaa is Kundan’s (Dhanush) story, his love for Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), and what his love does to them. And there is the intertwined politics of it all too. But there’s more – It’s packed with punch and witty lines and the director’s understanding of craft is on full display.
Set in the beautiful Benaras, the first half is humorous, engaging and telling of Indian society. There is a showing of religious, class, caste divide in a milieu of love that equals devotion. In the capital of Delhi, the second half is gritty, challenging, and remarks on our political system that affect today’s youths.
The underlying current though is the nature of love. Love in a small town, love in a metro, lovers and their ways, the ingenuity of the emotion, and the dark side and love across time, place, culture, rules and a person’s lifetime. The film truly begins when Kundan falls in love with Zoya on first sight and with Kundan, you’ll discover in the end, the true nature of this circle of love.
Everyone has been talking about this, and you know Dhanush is not your conventional good-looking hero. Yet, he steals the film with his performance. Dhanush has an energy that has to be seen on celluloid. His eyes light up with emotion and he draws you in with the portrayal of his character. The object of his affection, Zoya is played by Sonam Kapoor. Yes, Sonam Kapoor is a fashion icon and very popular celebrity, but we don’t head as much about her acting. Well, with Raanjhanaa, she makes Zoya come to life. She infuses the character with beauty and genuineness. Lead actors are only as good as their supporting cast. Abhay Deol, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub and Swara Bhaskar, are memorable and excellent despite their limited screen time.
There are several reasons you should watch Raanjhanaa. And whether you like or hate the film is secondary. It is a refreshing take on an old love story. The route it takes and the journey it puts you on is off the beaten track. The director’s vision translates to screen and he extracts performances out of his actors that work for the film. A R Rahman‘s music and background score works too. It may not be a best-selling album but it fulfils the purpose. You’ll definitely come away with something.
The only reason you shouldn’t watch Raanjhanaa is if you care about plot more than you care about the experience. If your question is, ‘story kya hai?’, this one isn’t for you. I’m going with 3.5 stars.
Viewing courtesy: Gold Cinema, Borivali East. Check out their website for further details.