Friday, December 19, 2008

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

As I drove back from work last Friday, I was sort of worried seeing the traffic from Windsor Manor onwards, and dreaded another Kumaraswamy rally like last month when I had got stranded for five hours on the road. As I inched ahead towards Cauvery Circle, I realised it was not Kumaraswamy but Shahrukh Khan who was holding the traffic. At the Cauvery Theatre. No, the King Khan had not descended there incarnate, it was only his new Aditya Chopra flick. I drive the same road everyday at almost the same time, but have never encountered such congestion due to a release. This was despite the fact that RNBDJ was the only Hindi film released that weekend and Cauvery is a rather mediocre theatre.

This huge turnout can be attributed to intelligent marketing, good promos, and of course the banner's and actor's reputations, a year-long wait for a Shahrukh movie, who appeared only in a cameo in Bhootnath this whole year. Despite dozens of idiotic poor jokes, scores of plot loopholes, and hundreds of irritating jis, the movie still made a whopping Rs 60 crores worldwide on the opening weekend, per YRF. “I have become like an ISI mark on a product, so people think, ‘dekh toh le, kuch toh hoga, since it is SRK and Adi together’,” is how Shahrukh reacts on Economic Times, and for once I see a slightly modest SRK.

The movie begins with a situationally forced wedding between the blander than common-man Punjab-Power-lighting-up-your-life employee and his teacher's commoner than the girl-next-door daughter Anushka Sharma. Following which, they inhabit, but do not cohabit, in the mansion the small-town average man lived all alone. The moustached, oil-haired, bespectacled, white-full-sleeved-baggy-shirt-clad cartoon transforms into another spike-haired joker donning red/yellow/orange/peach/lavender/plum/violet tees and sporting large fashionable shades, in an attempt to win his wife's love. And the wife does not recognize the new guy as her husband, because she abhors him so much she never even saw him properly, and falls for the outspoken blabbermouth who emerges from the shy introvert every evening. There is another toon who provides all the paraphernalia required for this double life. And I still wonder what part did poor Rab play in all this.

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi goes an as SRK shifts hamming from one character to the other, going through several emotions and changes of minds. The simple Simon character keeps smiling secretly and mischeivously, as if he is the forged one, or is playing a prank. The good-for-nothing Anushka prepares lunch boxes for one (and asks them back in the evening without fail) and teaches choreographic steps to the other. She doesn't have any charm or appeal whatsoever, and an extra would have looked better. Vinay Pathak disappointed immensely. Sirji, you are not made for this kind of crappy shadowy roles when you can run an entire film on your own.

The only good part lays exactly at the end of the first hour, when Kajol/ Bipasha/ Lara/ Preity/ Rani appear on screen for less than a minute each, and SRK mimics Raj Kapoor/ Devanand/ Shammi Kapoor/ Rajesh Khanna/ Rishi Kapoor, to the tunes of an intelligently written and choreographed song even with stupid lyrics: Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke, Fir Milenge Chalte Chalte. You can listen to Haule Haule too.

Shahrukh's last venture, the year-old Om Shanti Om is closely paralleled in Rab Ne.... SRK in two characters, one introvert, timid and sincere (an underdog there), the other flamboyant, smart and vivacious (a successful superstar there), one new girl in the lead role, one good actor screwing up his reputation being a sidekick to SRK, a star-studded light-hearted song, even the release timing at the end of year, coinciding with another actor's who allegedly has a dog named after him.

How much ever money RNBDJ would have made, SRK-Adi's third project together is nowhere compared to their first (DDLJ). The second one, Mohabbatein, was likeable too, maybe because of AB and Aish. But I would nevertheless agree with Shahrukh, SRK and Adi ek saath hain, kuchh to hoga, dekh to lo ek baar, though I'd rate it only 5 on 10.


26 comments:

Roli said...

Its a good, one time movie... although I have not read through you blog as I am busy these days... Just to make you aware that I have seen this movie, I am putting up my comments here. I will surely read your last 2 blogs as soon as I will get enough time.

Garima said...

Thanks for the reviews again .... We were planning to see the movie last weekend but were not sure if we shud make an effort of driving 20 miles for this ..... so probably this one makes it really clear that I have better tasks at hand than this :)

Anonymous said...

Nice review as always :) Some how not feeling to watch this movie even it has SRK in it directed by talented director and classy production.. Not in mood to see wacky SRK...in both the looks in the film he look more like cartoon character :) more ever the story line is copied from some dance reality show it seems... after reading lots of reviews.. i better skip this movie :)

ashes said...

Roli:

Oh you liked the movie. My post disagrees actually, but since you did not read it... :)

ashes said...

Garima:

Glad that my reviews are of help to someone. Let me know if it was actually useful after you watch the movie.

ashes said...

Anonymous:

You can actually skip the movie. The storyline is based upon a dance reality show, I had expected something like Dil To Pagal Hai, but sadly the dance part was sidelined to give way to SRK's stupefied antics.

Shweta Raaj Bhatnagar said...

hey nice review although i differ...M of the class who would take anything SRK dishes out...Bur seriously its not that bad yaar...paisa vasool kinds and the emotions are portrayed nicely...worth a dekko...;-)

ashes said...

Shweta:

Thanks. Yes, it is people like you SRK and his movies make money out of :) Emotions are portrayed nicely? Firstly, there were no emotions in the movie at all. Compare RNBDJ's emotions with Ajay Devgan's portrayal of emotions in HDDCS. Secondly, Shahrukh Khan cannot portray emotions that well. He hams all the time, and his Surinder Singh character was totally emotionless.

KT said...

well I didn't see the movie ... but I heard unanimous bad reviews .... you would bet that I inhabit the part of the world where I am less surrounded by SRK fans ...

but one of the SRK fans commented .. movie was rubbish but SRK as usual at his best... this kind of thing actually sux big time abt SRK ... its as if dishing out wine in a bisleri bottle

Initially I was interested in seeing the movie because it was come back for Aditya Chopra and Anushka was looking pretty cute in the promos. With initial promos I thought it would be a love story spanning his whole life time (just like Veer Zaara)

But when I saw the promos 4-5 times on TV, I knew it wud be another SRK-waste movie and with the first review and a little detail of the storyline I decided I will wait for someone to download the movie instead :D

~vagabond~ said...

I skipped through the post because I didnt want to ruin the story line for myself...I'll probably come back and read it and comment some more once I watch the movie. I am excited though to see it but am not raising my hopes too high given how crappy the last movies I raised my hopes high for turned out to be. Like Dostana, which left me wailing "KJo, how could you?!" LOL.

PS. Hope you're okay with me blogrolling you. :)

Vamsee said...

Great review. I pretty much agree with everything except what you say about Anushka. She was the only good looking person in the movie and I thought she acted and danced well. I used to be a huge fan of SRK, but in this movie I could not look past his horrible teeth and wrinkled skin.
There was no chemistry between the pair. The second SRK was as annoying as the first one was boring. The whole "rab" thing was the stupidest thing I ever heard. Why cant they show women falling in love with smart, intelligent people!!

Oh man! that was quite a rant, but I was really irritated with the movie.

ashes said...

KT:

Yes, SRK sucks. Among others, the most prominent reason for me is that people still like him, his fans idolise him so much that they like whatever he does. The aam junta doesn't have an unbiased opinion. They believe that if it is SRK, he cannot be bad. That actually sucks.

Rab Ne... is one such movie and one such performance. You are completely correct in estimating the movie from the promos. Only if a few more people had done that. I know a few people who didn't even watch the promos because they believed it would have spoilt the film.

ashes said...

Vagabond:

Well, I think I've taken utmost care not to let any spoilers creep into my review. But then yes, you are right about the RNBDJ, and good that you don't have any hopes. I too didn't have any, but the movie still managed to shatter my hopes :P

Thanks for blogrolling me :) I do not maintain one on my blog, but you are already on my reader for quite some time.

ashes said...

Vamsee:

Thanks for the compliment. Anushka might have danced well, but I did not find her good-looking at all. The many TV soaps that my mom watches has much better looking faces, and so are many dancers that shake their legs et al behind item girls.

Completely agree with the 'Rab' thing and women. I still don't see why did they christen it like that.

Anyway, thanks for visiting and commenting. Please keep doing that more often. :)

Anonymous said...

As usual, Overacting.... again by the most overrated actor in India....... phew............

ashes said...

Alok Bhaiyya:

Yes, he is the most overrated actor, and that is why his movies sell.

Welcome to my blog. Keep visiting back.

~vagabond~ said...

So I finally watched the movie last night and then read your post today, and you were bang on. I kept nodding my head in agreement over your post.

I was enormously disappointed by the movie...there was just too much I couldnt digest...her seeing Rab in him but not recognizing her husband...how the heck she could possibly be in love with someone without recognizing his soul in someone else...her annoying martyr act at various points through the movie...him wanting to "elope" with his wife and start a new life together somewhere else while pretending to be Raj for the rest of his lifetime...and the proclamation that Rab had anything to do with this royal mess.

DDLJ made me fall in love with SRK, and I think with OSO and RNBDJ the romance might finally be getting over. I miss the old SRK...you know the one who didnt overact, didnt try so very,very hard to convey a role that made no sense, and instead acted only in roles that sounded believable to him and the audience. *sigh*

And yup...SRK and Anushka..no spark there at all. Zilch.

ashes said...

Vagabond:

:) Yeah...you are one person who totally echoes my feelings here. Stupid, senseless plot. How much difference can a moustache make for god's sake. Completely worthless.

Anadi Misra said...

OKay, finally saw it. I liked the theme - The Triumph of Common Man. I would give it a 7 though coz it does have a feel good factor about it.

I do agree with most of the things you said. Everything was rather sketchy, from characterization to most dialogues, to concept, and Shahrukh's excessive hamming, mostly as Raj...I wonder why both characters were so extreme, just to make us realize that if they meet somewhere in the middle, then that is the 'real' Raj, or perhaps because the actually normal people don't usually make great characters...but I doubt if any deep thought was put into the characters...Quality wise, the product is rather mediocre and would be acceptable for anyone else but from the guy who made DDLJ.

To me it appears that Aditya Chopra was trying to cut losses at YRF and hence came up with what everyone perceived as a sure shot BO winner. Look how quickly he wrapped up and released this movie, makes me think that financial success was what he was after rather than his actual comeback from a creative hiatus (though he is involved with the movies coming from his banner). If that was the motive, then he has succeeded, but he has diluted the brand, or maybe not, If hardcore fans still couldn't find fault with the movie.

It was self-referential to the point of being irritating...Dhoom,etc. And their house looked very similar to Kajol's in DDLJ.

I agree with the ugly teeth comment by Vamsee...maybe preparing for a werewolf role :P...Anyway, the cons have been well covered so let me try and bring out the few pros.

I would like to offer another take on the whole 'not recognizing the husband' complain. I think this can be construed as artistic/cinematic license. We all know what we are watching is make believe, so such assumptions should be acceptable. I think this movie stays within itself when it proclaims that, it doesn't market itself as a serious, hard-hitting documentary or being based on a true story. Besides, haven't we believed and loved exactly the same transformation in the cult hit Golmaal (Amol Palekar shaves mustache, no hair oil). In the past, people have feigned deception by as little as a mole on their cheek. I take it as maturity on the part of the audience to accept the premise and be taken in by it. And I have always believed that unless you do that, it will be impossible to understand and appreciate many of the movies.

I think you were a little unkind to Anushka. She does have a wholesome, punjabi lass look and she looks pretty in many scenes. I do agree that there are many prettier girls, but perhaps this was the only casting call which actually made sense w.r.t. the story setting (Vinay Pathak being wasted in a silly role). Like Gracy Singh wasn't the prettiest either, but her casting made sense.
And with SRK, he looks SRK whether he plays Surinder or Raj. I guess that is his charisma/star quality, people don't expect him to be anyone else, barring a few roles by other more accomplished directors (Gowarikar, Maniratnam, and the over-hyped Chak De)

The movie is manipulative, aimed to overwhelm us by pity/emotion provoking moments (with dialogue, the now common SRK expressions and the background/theme music being extremely catchy and sentimental)...though to their credit, it does overwhelm me a couple of times :P...and therein lies YRF's Rab (genius)...just ask the fans of the movie

But yeah, just one-time watch only and to be followed by a lot of quality cinema to wash off any after-effects.

ashes said...

Anadi:

Yes, the theme of the triumph of a common man is good and provides a feel-good ending. Also, reality shows of the kind shown in the movie are really popular in India these days, though they are so many they've already reached the point of satiation. So that might be the reason for people liking and I disliking the movie.

Re Aditya Chopra trying to cut losses, that is what I said, the movie was aimed to make money. Period. Hardcore SRK/YRF fans would still die for RNBDJ.

Your take on oh-is-he-the-same-guy-as-my-husband looks convincing in an artistic movie, RNBDJ was far away from which. You are a bit forgetful about Golmaal, Ramprasad and Lakshmanprasad were supposed to be identical twins. But yes, there was some Amitabh-Rekha movie where the moustache and clean-shaven ploy was used to create two different characters, but many such things were perhaps acceptable then which are not in today's cinema. The contrary is used at times, for instance, the three father-figure characters of Paresh Rawal in OLLO. (I am not sure if the just-a-mole thing was actually used in some movie or it was just talked about as an extreme level of disguise.)

Anushka, yaar, seriously, failed to attract me. You can sight much prettier girls at malls/ pubs in Bangalore. But maybe that was essential to show a girl-next-door feel. Again, OLLO scores over RNBDJ and Neetu Chandra there looked much better. Even Freida Pinto in Slumdog Millionaire. Anuskha's eyes are very bad, in particular, and I feel she has a distinct squint as well. I may be wrong though.

When it comes to SRK, die-hard fans (who are anyway huge in number), would definitely like him. In fact, I had started liking him after OSO, but Rab Ne acted as a deterrent to my growing up liking. It is definitely a hit, as the BO numbers show, but would nowhere be close to DDLJ, and I think would soon be lost in the anals of Indian cinema history.

Anadi Misra said...

Of course I remember they were twins :). The parallel is the illusion supposed to be created by a very simple makeover, so much so that the gf doesn't recognize it.
There could be a slight variation of the degree here, but if you can believe one, you can believe the other...It is just a matter of presentation, a way of story-telling, so the question is, whether you are willing to be led into this illusion or whether you want to be logical about it...My guess is, you want to be logical about this one :)
But then again, everyone has a different sensibility when it comes to accepting illusions, so while you might accept, just for the sake of example, a terminator, matrix kind of illusion, others may choose to find Govinda's antics believable...etc etc (personally, I try to believe them all :D)...My only point is, you have to be willing to be led, in order to move beyond their basic premise and experience the movie...perhaps your logical sense finds it hard to do that for most YRF movies, which is fair :)

Comparing OLLO & RNBDJ is again, well, comparing different genres...RNBDJ is supposed to be larger-than-life masquerading as reality, and the other is supposed to be real-life pretending to be larger than that...And while you may think differently, both are equally silly illusions :) (I mean there are several loop holes in OLLO too, but I am afraid to get into an argument with you on that, since you like it so much)

So, it comes down to which illusions you want to believe in :)

Don't get me wrong, I did like OLLO, all I am saying is, when compared within the parameters of its own genre, its just an avg. movie, and it lacks craft and finesse movies of this genre usually exhibit (ofcourse if you view it from the RNBDJ viewpoint, it will appear more realistic)..This is the guy's 2nd movie, so no kid-glove treatment for him :P

Can't believe I spend tons of words in what appears to be a defense of RNBDJ :P, I movie I didn't even like that much :D...and all I wanted to say was, it depends on how you look at it :P

Oh BTW, the mole story is true, its a famous legend associated with Sohrab Modi, the great actor in 40s & 50s. (I may be a little off on the exact story, read it in a newspaper when I was in school)

ashes said...

Anadi:

Now I seem to be forgetful :P. Was there an illusion created in Golmaal? Did the gf perceive them as two separate people, i.e. two non-related people? I mean, did she not realise they were twins and had similar faces?

You are right about the belief-illusion-theory. Terminator and Matrix has their own sets of loopholes. Every movie has some. Ghajini has its own, OLLO too, Slumdog Millionaire has many too. The point is, all movies are based on a basic premise and then the plot is developed upon it. As long as things stick to that presumption, you can have a make-believe output. (Another difference between assumptions in science fiction movies and these kinds is that most scifis have an assumption that the human race wants to achieve, time travel, for instance. Therefore it is easy to believe them.)

Anyway, I did not much dislike the basic assumption than the way it is carried out later. The hamming, the king-like image of SRK that does not fit in this kind of a role.

Khair...that's been too long even after the blogpost :) I see your point, and agree to it partly.

BTW, sometime back someone said I could not be critical; I now find myself too critical of RNBDJ, and the criticism has been increasing following this discussion :)

Anadi Misra said...

I agree...you started off as a generous grader, looking for positives in every movie (Julie bhi review kar di thi :D), but have transformed into a 'masala basher'...wonder if its the influence of fellow blog reviewers, who are unnecessarily critical and bitter...(Great Bong comes to mind)...

You are right, the girl knows they are twins...but my point is, a gf being unable to catch the deception is a little bit of a stretch, of course when we talk in terms of the degree of believability, the Golmaal illusion is a little more believable, but my point was, ki there is not a lot of difference so if you can accept one, you can accept another...

BTW, RNBDJ copied so many scenes from their own movies and others...it becomes irksome after a while...jaise the lush green fields (DDLJ etc.), the house (like DDLJ)...and the famous sighting of the Rab scene...I first remember seeing it in Lamhe, when Anil Kapoor does that a few times, uske baad DDLJ, and a few other movies, Pyar to Hona Hi Tha..Do you remember any movie before Lamhe which did that?

Another popular scene, the 'I Love You' using city lights. I first saw it in 1992 in a movie starring a telegu star in a Hindi movie...can't remember the name of the movie but the star was one of the three, Nagarjuna/Chiranjeevi/Someone else (I know, it doesn't narrow down much :D)

So in that movie, the guy proposes to the girl by asking specific residents living in the building opposite to her gf's building to turn on their lights at midnight...so he calls the girl close to midnight, asks her to come to the terrace, and lo behold, she sees 'I Love You XYZ' in the building opposite to her...At that time, I thought that scene was a classic (though now I wonder if that was a rip-off too)...was disappointed at the shoddy copying by YRF, but must compliment them on their good memory...

I also heard that there was a scene ripped-off from friends...Do you know which one?...Waise they have borrowed from Friends a lot in the past, but I am curious to know which one it was this time...I couldn't identify any...

Sorry, I am using your blog for Q & A (btw, when are you reviewing that one)...Also waiting for your CC2C review...be kind :)

ashes said...

Anadi:

Yes, RNBDJ copied a lot of scenes from older one. Even his getup looked like Amol Palekar's, as my Dad noticed. There were a lot of rip-offs from others too, though I cannot recall the one you are talking about in Lamhe.

Shit man, I seem to be quite uninformed, or my memory is fading away. I didn't know the I Love You scene, and cannot recall anything from Friends. Or maybe I don't remember all scenes of RNBDJ.

The CC2C review is out: http://ramblingmutterings.blogspot.com/2009/01/chandni-chowk-to-china.html

Amiya Shrivastava said...

mujhe pata tha promo dekhne ke baad hi ki ghatiya film hai... maine SRK kee films theaters mein dekheen hain...jaise Kabhi alvida na Kehnaa...agar main un paison ke wada pao khata to shayad main zyada santrupt hota...

Bhai maine kasam khai hai pehle reviews dekhoonga phir SRK kee movies par paisaa kharcha karoonga!!

Achcha hai too ek movie critic ban gaya!! kam se kam tere blog se easy info mil jaayegee!

ashes said...

Amiya:

Haha...wada pao better than SRK movie :)

But saale, pichhle review (Ghajini) mein to burai kar raha tha mere reviews ki. Aur kah raha tha kabhi nahi padhega :) Ab kah raha hai hamesha padhega. Tu neta to nahi ban gaya hai?

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