This Review Contains Spoilers!
This movie has its roots in a twist of sexism that made this American woman sad. You'll have to read this review understanding that I necessarily came to my viewing with a cultural divide. Someone more familiar with Indian culture will surely have a better take on those aspects of the film. Nevertheless, I have watched this movie twice and will surely do so again.
The woman's honor is everything and even things she cannot possibly control affect her honor and lead to a horrific act that, alas, provides the whole reason for the plot in the first place. And then the cliche women-can't-drive. OMG. Sigh. So, that's in there.
Complaints about that aside, my understanding is that Vaada is based on a US film, but I didn't see that movie and can't recall what it was, though I'm thinking about tracking it down and watching that one.
Arjun Rampal was incredibly hot. He can't help it, the poor guy. Even in a fake goatee and mustache he was hot. There was no amnesia in this film and I can't decide if I'm disappointed or not.
There was also martial arts in this movie, which I was NOT expecting. All of a sudden my man Rampal was channeling Jet Li and I have to say it was pretty awesome mostly on account of a tight black shirt and some very decent choreography. Someone must have been watching some John Woo because there was lots of Slo-Mo. I happen to LOVE martial arts movies so when a Gung Fu fight suddenly broke out I was pretty darn happy. Well done.
I Like Movies Where You Learn Something
One thing I learned is that no man should ever wear a light blue suit. Not EVER. Because if Arjun Rampal looks like half a doof in a suit that color, there's just no hope for the rest of mankind. Everyone else would have the full-on doof effect and probably worse. Fortunately, the blue suit was limited to a song and dance bit and some idiot was going for the Sari color coordination. Nice try, major fail.
Rich Man vs. Psycho Man - Who would YOU choose?
The plot of this movie is that Rahul, a handsome rich tycoon (Rampal) falls in love with this woman named Pooja. He romances her and has to work surprisingly hard for it, especially considering that the blue suit was yet to come. They get married and THEN right after the ceremony, Pooja tells him that she has had a previous relationship. Rahul is cool with that once she assures him she does not love the man. Well done, I thought. But of course, it's obvious she's not telling him everything.
And, indeed, we learn the following, not necessarily in this order:
In the past, the former boyfriend is one Karan. He is Nucking Futs. Psycho. Completely off his rocker psycho and stalking Pooja. Her father won't permit her to marry a poor man. (Pyscho is apparently OK? But I think the poverty thing was just an excuse . . . So, Psycho boyfriend goes off to make his fortune and have psychotic breaks in Europe and elsewhere besides India.
Meanwhile, Rahul meets, courts and marries Pooja and tells her that she, the woman, is now the family's honor and therefor his honor. They have a happy marriage, there is singing and dancing that includes the blue suit which is when I knew they were really in love because 1) He was secure enough in his masculinity and general off-the charts hotness to wear that thing around her and 2) She didn't ask him what the hell he thought he was doing going out of the hotel dressed like that. Probably she accidentally lost the suit later. "But honey, it was there! It must have fallen off the Gondola! Don't worry. I'll get you a nice charcoal-gray suit."
Then Rahul teaches her to drive and she is unable to master this -- yet Rahul has her on the damn freeway where she can't drive a straight line and he must have had brain damage from that suit because he did not have his seatbelt on. And yes, there is an accident and yes, Rahul goes through the windshield but instead of ending up with amnesia, he ends up blind.
This is destiny, he says to Pooja. Now you are my honor AND my eyes. Or your eyes are mine. Possibly both. Which was kind of touching, actually.
Then it turns out blind-Rahul has this good buddy who is now his business partner and who he relies on a lot. And his friend, can you believe it? Some chick did NOT wait for him while he was off making his fortune and instead married some other guy. And yes, the good buddy is none other than the psycho Karan.
The main plot of the movie is that Pooja commits suicide. Or was it murder? Because her body has disappeared from the morgue. My first thought was vampires, but that turned out to be wrong. The police captain assures everyone that he will recover the body and find the culprit. Then Karan gets arrested for the murder, but Rahul bails him out. But the police think Karan did it. Karan insists he's being framed and then he begins to suspect that Rahul is not really blind.
Rahul is Blind . . . Rahul is NOT Blind
There ensue several attempts to trick Rahul into revealing that he can see. Because if Rahul is pretending to be blind, he would not ALSO be an evil genius capable of foiling such trickery. Or else, he's actually blind.
1) First, that Krazy Karan arranges to send Rahul a packet of papers to sign but SOME OF THE PAGES ARE BLANK! If he signs the blank page, well, that must mean Rahul is blind. If he does NOT sign the blank pages, then Rahul can see and is a liar and a murderer.
Rahul wants to know how many pages to sign, but the guy who hands him the documents doesn't know. Just sign them all, he says. No, no, Rahul says. I will count them. Which he does. The camera cleverly shows us that, indeed, some of the pages are mostly blank but for an official looking stamp. Rahul counts, starts to sign then decides that no, he will only sign the documents if Karan is there, too.
A brilliant plan foiled. Or did the blind guy just want his trusted friend there for him?
2) Next, Karan and his attorney put poison in Rahul's drink -- right in front of him because if he's not blind, then he will not drink the poisoned drink but if he IS blind, then he'll drink the poison. The attorney points out the flaw in that plan in the event that Rahul really is blind so instead of poison, Karan substitutes a laxative in the bottle that says POISON right there on the label.
Rahul demonstrates that blind people can hear, so he knows when people get up and when drinks (or poison???) are poured. And the lights go out. We know that Rahul has engineered this lights-out in a bit of genius (but is it EVIL genius?) and when they come back on . . . Well the wrong guy gets the poison and has to leave for the facilities.
3) The next attempt to prove Rahul can see involves lowering four potted plants hanging in a doorway such that when Rahul walks through, he will either duck (Rahul can see) or bonk his head (Rahul is blind). But this plan is foiled too. Because Rahul trips and does not walk through the doorway. Instead he stands up IN the doorway and bonks his head on only one of the potted plants. Ouch. Then he throws them all, complaining about idiots who lower potted plants in a blind man's house. He tosses his pots with uncanny accuracy at the police chief and his henchmen who are hiding there to witness the proof.
4) The NEXT attempt to prove Rahul can see involves hiring a thug to beat him up. And not just one thug it turns out, but a whole bunch of thugs. The reasoning is this: Rahul gets mugged and can't defend himself (Rahul is blind) or Rahul gets mugged but defends himself (Rahul can see).
This leads to the tight black shirt and the martial arts and it was starting to look a lot like Rahul could see because he was beating their asses bad. BUT then Rahul blindfolds himself and continues to beat their asses only worse. So, the issue is still not resolved.
5) The penultimate attempt to prove Rahul is blind involves taking him for a walk on the train tracks. Rahul gets run over by the train (Rahul is blind) or Rahul jumps off the tracks and does not get run over by the train. (Rahul is not blind.) Things don't go according to plan (not having learned the lesson that blind people can hear and probably feel vibrations too.)
The train is behind them and it's kind of loud actually and the whistle is blowing, but Krazy Karan assures his friend that the train is on a different track. And then OMG! There is a young goatherd on the tracks and the boy and his goats are about to be shish-ka-bob. Rahul saves the boy and his goats by running really fast and flinging himself and the boy off the tracks.
Well. Rahul insists he is blind but hey, he saved the goatherd. Seems kind of like he can see. Only, then there's some hard evidence that Karan killed Pooja (in the form of a shoe) and Karan goes on trial. But did he do it?
You Will NEVER Guess . . .
Meanwhile we see Rahul alone at home and holey moley! He really CAN see! How long has he been lying to everyone about that? But, since he saved the goatherd I knew he wasn't Evil-Rahul. Krazy Karan was willing to sacrifice the boy so, yeah.
Anyhow, Rahul explains away the goatherd incident (the boy SAVED him!) and then Rahul's faithful servant, who has been bribed to testify that Rahul can see, testifies instead that he was bribed and Karan goes to jail screaming his innocence.
Then things get a little silly.
Anyway, see what I said about saving the goatherd, Rahul is NOT evil. Karan is still psycho but NOT a murderer but he drove Pooja to suicide in order to protect Rahul's honor and this is payback, baby.
I actually liked this movie a lot because the events did not unfold in the order I revealed them, and because of Arjun Rampal in a tight black shirt busting his Gung Fu moves and because of all the shots of Rampal looking like maybe he is a murderer who framed the psycho . . .
Rampal has very much improved as an actor and this movie represents a midpoint between some of his really impressive roles and movies that suck so bad no one could save them. Plus, one of the songs was really good.
This movie was a win for me.