SRK looses ground

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Murtaza Husaini

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Dec 13, 2008, 9:05:09 AM12/13/08
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Source: Online Reviews

RAB NE IS A QUAINT FAIRYTALE TRYING TOO HARD TO BE AN EPIC ROMANCE

Thirteen years after they created box office history, Aditya Chopra
and Shah Rukh Khan are back at it. To tell a new story about love. To
set new rules about romance. To give birth to a new hero. And perhaps
to kill the hero they created in DDLJ!
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Aditya Chopra’s third directorial venture, is a
well-planned antithesis of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Not only does
it try to deconstruct Raj, whom SRK and Adi created with so much love
and affection, it reverses the storyline. There you knew Raj and
Simran were in love and wondered whether they will get together in the
end. Here you know Surinder and Taani are together and you wonder
whether they will fall in love in the end.
Well, doesn’t that sound like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam? Of course it
does, just that the third angle here is Surinder himself! His alter
ego — Raj! The Raj Surinder creates from all the masala movies Taani
loves watching at the neighbourhood theatre in Amritsar. The Raj we
have seen for the last 13 years, from DDLJ to KKHH, from K3G to Veer-
Zaara.
Compared to the spiked-hair-tight-tee-torn-jeans-pink-shades Raj,
Surinder is insipid. Even if there was no Raj, it would have been
difficult to warm to the man who must be the only government employee
in the country to bring work back home every night. White sneakers,
side-parted hair, thick-rimmed glasses and that bushy moochhi — Suri-I-
work-for-Punjab-Power is truly straight out of an RK Laxman comic
strip.
So, how did Taani land up in Suri’s house? Yash Raj Formula No. 364:
Zindagi mein kuch rishtein hum chunte hain... Kuch rabji chunte
hain... Suri was Taani’s father’s favourite student. When her fiance
dies in a road accident along with the rest of the baraati on Taani’s
wedding day, Papaji’s heart attack ensures the unlikeliest of
marriages.
After a spell of silence, Taani makes it very clear that she is ready
to play the perfect bahu but cannot love Suri ever. Suri makes it
clear to us: “Use dekhte hi mujhe labh ho gaya tha!” So enter Raj —
“naam toh suna hoga?” — as Taani’s dancing partner in a dance workshop-
cum-contest in town. Suri in the morning, Raj through the day and Suri
again at night, Rab Ne is almost a romantic take on Dr Jekyll Mr Hyde.
Or even a Superman, just that he’s born Clark Kent here and not the
other way round.
There are three human characters in the film — Suri, Taani and Suri’s
stylist friend Bobby (the very good Vinay Pathak), who is not just
responsible for his physical transformation, but also for his moral
support. The two other very important characters in the film are Rab
and the city of Amritsar. Rab, of course, rubs it in at all the right
points. And despite large parts of the film being shot in the studios
of Mumbai, there’s enough of Amritsar to give the film its own visual
life.
In fact, the way Rab Ne takes off — the opening credits roll to a
beautifully shot (by Ravi K. Chandran) Amritsar travelogue — and the
way the first few reels unfold with Suri’s mundane life lit up every
now and then by Taani’s broad smile, you wonder how the Chopra scion
could trade champagne and chiffon for such delightful ordinariness.
Then, in his bid to bring in that extraordinary touch, Aditya Chopra
loses the plot. Every time the quaint little fairytale tries to become
a grandiose epic, Rab Ne struggles. As if it could have done without
the loud and irritating Raj. As if the Punjab-powered Suri had enough
steam to pull it off on his own.
Also, Rab Ne is way too long. At almost three hours, it tries your
patience even if the goings-on are funny and the lines fresh. But the
wait is worth it because the climax has Aditya Chopra magic written
all over it and will put the smile back on your lips.
After Rab Ne, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Shah Rukh
Khan to play the hand-flinging head-shaking eye-squinting Raj/Rahul
again. Call it deliberately played or just the age playing up, SRK’s
Raj doesn’t look that cool at 43. Especially when the Imrans and
Farhans spell the new cool.
And Shah Rukh plays the boringness of Suri with such elan, you can’t
help but fall in love with his goofiness. Pardon Mr Palekar, but the
common man has never looked so loveable. Punctuated with a lot of
physical comedy and that occasional impish smile, Shah Rukh’s Suri is
the soul of Rab Ne.
But as Shah Rukh himself says, the believability of Rab Ne is because
of debutante Anushka Sharma. Playing the I-live-for-love Chopra
heroine with a hint of realness, the former model comes up with a
nicely nuanced performance, remaining impressively cool in the face of
the SRK fireworks.
The songs by Salim-Sulaiman look much better on screen than they sound
on the CD. But how one misses the melody of Jatin-Lalit. Haule haule,
the first half theme, is the pick of the lot, while the title track
smoothens out the second half. Phir milenge chalte chalte is
unnecessary but the five guest faces won’t allow you to sneak out.
If you don’t have DDLJ on your mind, you won’t mind Rab Ne. But the
fact remains; it’s little more than an ordinary film with
extraordinary intentions.

Askar Zaidi

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Dec 13, 2008, 4:17:07 PM12/13/08
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Wait...we are discussing Bollywood on this forum now ?!?!?!

Murtaza Husaini

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Dec 14, 2008, 5:00:11 AM12/14/08
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On 14 Dec, 00:17, "Askar Zaidi" <askar.za...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Wait...we are discussing Bollywood on this forum now ?!?!?!
>
> On Sat, Dec 13, 2008 at 9:05 AM, Murtaza Husaini
> <murtazahusa...@gmail.com>wrote:
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