Raanjhanaa is the story about a man's obsessive quest for the woman he has been in love with since he was a little boy. An obsession that is futile, romantic, satisfying, dangerous and painful. The portrayal of this drama could have been annoying but Dhanush, in his Hindi film debut elevates to an almost lyrical quality and stands tall as all eyes are on a performance that could safely be judged as one of the most outstanding Hindi film debut in recent times...I was awestruck.
Some of the audience may be receptive to his pursuit but some of them have felt that this unrequited love story might portray women harshly . In all fairness sometimes life does imitate art but so does art. Watch the movie for what it is...and I can safely say that most of us would not be inclined to engage in such a pursuit.
Anand L Rai gave us a sampler of Kanpur in Tanu Weds Manu ( Average film, outstanding music) this time he give us a vista of Benaras in all its holy colorful glory before concluding in Delhi.Rai manages to also garnish the film with many interesting characters such as Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Murari, Kundan's friend. These are not mere fillers but have meaty sized roles. Anand L Rai shows promise and growth and I will be looking forward to his next venture.
Narrated in flashback, Kundan( Dhanush) fall in love with Zoya ( Sonam Kapoor) as a child and remains doggedly in love as a teenager. Zoya, initially hesitant because of the Hindu-Muslim difference ,eventually gives in to his charms as well ,but is sent away for higher studies. Kundan waits for her return. However when she returns, she has not only forgotten about him but has also fallen in love with a rising political candidate Akram ( Abhay Deol). Menawhile Bindiya ( Swara Bhaskara) loves Kundan as well. There is a lot of humor in Kundans pursuit of Zoya, a moment to watch is his breaking in to gig to Coolie's Hum Ka Issaq hua hain yaaron or his lively mannerisms in the parody of Saame Ne Yeh Kaun Aaya.
However shifting lanes is the underlying theme as one individual grows out of childhood love while the other one becomes dangerously obsessive and a doomsday.
Abhay Deol as Akram manages to keep a balance and exude a dull sheen in the radiance of Dhanush's blinding act. He does not suffer from the Shashi Kapoor or the Sunny Deol moment in Deewar and Darr.
Sonam Kapoor looks radiant, with her quiet elegant and some good acting( Is this a breakthrough moment for her?)
But I gush for Dhanush and AR Rahman. After a mediocre Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Rahman comes back firing on all cylinders - almost. This is not his finest moment but songs like Tum Tak, Banarasiya stay with you and a reason to buy the album ( I did)
If Rahman presents a great soundtrack, then Dhanush can be the loud boom that accompanies it with an explosion on screen. His Hindi is still in the infantile stages but his acting sets the movie on fire.
I did not quite enjoy the second half because the political undertones and the penance track was not as engaging. The final moments were unexpected but made up for the somewhat weak half.
Raanjhanaa is not flawless but a genuinely satisfying experience. A weak second half prevents it from becoming a classic but an arrow called Dhanush pierces your armor to make yo appreciate the film. Four stars. 7/3/2013