Okay, before I move forward with the review of RAANJHANAA, I must state on record that I find it absolutely uplifting and invigorating that our stories have relocated from foreign destinations to the hinterland of India. It’s a welcome change, isn’t it? Most of us being desi at heart, we tend to connect more with stories that are set in our backyard. And that’s the first thing you observe as the reels of RAANJHANAA unspool. This time, the talented Aanand Rai places his plot in Benaras, saunters into Punjab for a while, before concluding the tale in Delhi.
Now to the film! Simplicity and unfussiness catches your eye/attention right away in this world of flashy and ostentatious makeovers. Aanand attempts to encapsulate the love story of regular people caught in a complex scenario in his new outing RAANJHANAA. The focus is on emotions here and RAANJHANAA is akin to a container that encloses myriad emotions such as affection, abhorrence, penance, euphoria and betrayal. On surface, this may seem like an uncomplicated story, but scratch the exterior and there’s a strong undercurrent of emotions ready to explode and engulf you… Embellished with a taut screenplay and super performances, RAANJHANAA easily charms its way into your heart!
RAANJHANAA narrates the story of Kundan [Dhanush], who falls in love with Zoya [Sonam Kapoor] the moment he sets his eyes on her. The story takes a turn when Zoya goes to Delhi for further education. There, she falls in love with a budding politician [Abhay Deol]. But there are complications in this love triangle…
Initially, RAANJHANAA manages to hook you with the atmospherics, but the ingenious narrative and worthy performances win you over gradually. The romance, the simplistic lines, the heartbreak… the film transports you to a different zone altogether. The dream-like world gives the impression of being pure and unadulterated initially, but this illusory world is soon shattered by reality [read corrupted by greed and power] as the plot thickens.
There are times when you feel Aanand might borrow from romantic movies of yore — most storytellers take the tried and trusted course to appease the spectator — but the plot changes relentlessly as it advances. Let me add, it’s not the customary love yarn we spectators are habituated to watching on the Hindi screen. The sequences between the lead pair are humorous and endearing, with some distinctive moments. There are heartrending and distressing flashes too and also sequences that astonish… that’s when you put your hands together for the screenwriter and also the director for being so unconventional, so original, so innovative.
Aanand elicits the conservative/old school middle class setting wonderfully well. The milieu and narrative wholly absorb you, making you believe that you’re as much part of the goings-on. Furthermore, the director uses only expressions — without resorting to heavy-duty dialogue in few sequences — delightfully.
The sole hiccup is that the film deviates in the middle of the second hour, when politics takes precedence, while romance takes a backseat. That’s when you start feeling fidgety. But these portions are vital to the plot as it leads to an explosive climax, which comes across as a shocker. In fact, the sequences before the wrap up are the highpoint of the movie and you can’t help but applaud the writer as well as the director for thinking out of the box.
The DoP capture the stunning locales of North India exquisitely. The radiant colors explode in every sequence, getting you enthralled at numerous junctures. Dialogue, befitting the milieu and characters, are interspersed dexterously in the sequence of events.
A.R. Rahman’s musical score fits into the scenario admirably. The music — the songs as well as the background score — augment the impact on several occasions. The quality of music is supreme and each of the compositions has the distinctive Rahman stamp of uniqueness and exclusivity. Sure, like all Rahman compositions, the soundtrack of RAANJHANAA takes time to grow, but you listen to it once, you feel like hearing it persistently.
Dhanush, who makes his Hindi film debut with RAANJHANAA, is simply outstanding. To state that he’s the mainstay of the film would be most appropriate. You take back his innocence, his dedication for his beloved, his emotions as you exit the auditorium. Here’s a performance that deserves an ovation! The actor in Sonam was waiting for a role that would make the spectator sit up and notice it and the one in RAANJHANAA gives her that opportunity. The headstrong and emotional persona comes across so well in this film. In addition, like DELHI 6, she’s devoid of makeup and that makes the character so appealing. This film is a huge leap frontward for Sonam as an actor. Abhay Deol is understated, but effectual in a special appearance. It’s a superior act, something you’ve come to expect from the talented actor.
The supporting cast is unblemished and each of them pitches in a superior performance. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is a talent to watch out for. He’s remarkable as Dhanush’s friend. Swara Bhaskar is equally fab in a role that offers her plenty of scope to display histrionics. Kumud Mishra is first-rate. Vipin Sharma is adequate. Sujata Kumar is first-rate as the scheming politician.
On the whole, RAANJHANAA encompasses romance and myriad emotions most wonderfully, besides bravura performances and a popular musical score from the maestro. A film that touches the core of your heart. A film that’s definitely worthy of a watch. Not to be missed!
Rating: 3 and Half Stars.
https://www.bollywoodhungama.com/moviemicro/criticreview/id/549839Tags: Aanand L Rai Dhanush Raanjhanaa Reviews Sonam Kapoor Taran Adarsh
most probably will watch tomorrow…
I’m fed up of Kolaveri Di, don’t want to be associated with it anymore, says Dhanush
“I can’t stop Kolaveri Di from following me,” said Dhanush in an exclusive interview with Indian Express’ columnist Harneet Singh on PLaY.
The National Award winning actor talks about stalking and love, Raanjhanaa and Rajinikanth, song and sleep.
Ques: What’s your mindspace these days — you are a big star in Tamil cinema but you’re making your debut in Hindi films.
Ques: I’m not nervous. I’m calm and happy. I’m eager to watch the film and see how people react to it. The world might peg Raanjhanaa as my debut in Hindi cinema but I don’t feel like a newcomer because by now I know the journey between “action” and “cut”.
Ques: What was it about Raanjhanaa that made you decide that it should be your first Hindi language film?
Dhanush: Let me first tell you that I never harboured any aspiration to do a Hindi film but then, the script of Raanjhanaa arrived and I found it to be extremely compelling. I didn’t judge it on the basis of the language — I saw it just as a script and whether or not it excites me. I could relate to each and every scene of the script and the character of Kundan. After reading the script I told myself, “if you don’t say yes to this script then what else will you say yes to.”
Ques: Did you need any inspiration to portray the small time boy who loves a girl to distraction?
Dhanush: I based this character on myself. During my high school days, I was fascinated by a girl and I used to follow her around all the time. I was really desperate and used to do stupid things just to get her to notice me. I tapped into my memory and relived it in order to play Kundan.
Ques: Following someone around all the time is stalking. How did you make a stalker loveable in the context of this film?
Dhanush: Stalking a girl is hugely different from admiring someone. If people believe that Kundan is a stalker, then that’s a wrong impression. The girl, Zoya, is his dream. He doesn’t yet have the guts to tell her that he loves her and so he tries to be around her to know what she likes so that he can make himself appealing for her. Like he wants to know what is her favourite colour so that he can wear a shirt of the same colour. There is purity in his love.
Ques: What was the toughest bit about Raanjhanaa?
Dhanush: The language. I could have given much more to the film if I knew Hindi. The script was in Roman but the team would mark out lines and keep explaining them to me. I used to then translate the lines in Tamil in my head and act once in Tamil and then in Hindi.
Ques: Do you think you got this film because Kolaveri Di became such a monstrous hit?
Dhanush: No, Kolaveri Di didn’t get me this film. I got Raanjhanaa because of my film Aadukalam for which I got the National Award. Director Aanand L Rai saw the film on YouTube and decided to cast me.
Ques: But do you think you can ever escape Kolaveri Di?
Dhanush: I’m fed up of Kolaveri Di. It haunts me everywhere I go. I don’t want to be associated with it anymore.
Ques: You sound traumatised because of the song. When was the last time you hummed it?
Dhanush: About a month and a half back. A friend forced me to humm it. I can’t stop the song from following me. The kids, especially when they see me, start singing the song.
Ques: Kolaveri Di had so many imitations in different languages. Which one was your favourite?
Dhanush: I loved it when Sonu Nigam’s son Nevaan sang it. I also liked the Gujarati version of the song.
Ques: Has your father-in-law Rajinikanth seen the promos of Raanjhanaa?
Dhanush: We haven’t had the time to discuss Raanjhanaa since he’s also busy with his work but I’m sure once he sees the film, he’ll have his comments.
Ques: I’m curious to know what is your favourite Rajinikanth joke?
Dhanush: I don’t think I should be even answering this question. He’s something else in our part of the world.
Ques: Who is your biggest critic?
Dhanush: My brother Selvaraghavan is my biggest critic. I started acting because of my father but my brother made me a star.
Ques: Will you be acting in more Hindi films? Have you watched many?
Dhanush: I have seen a few Hindi films and I always wished that I had done a film like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. I’ll see the response to Raanjhanaa and then take a call. Making this film has been a unique experience and promoting it has been another kind of an experience. Out there, we just do 2-3 big interviews because the market is too small. I’m just not used to this extent of promotion. Given a choice, I’d rather go home and sleep.
Movie Review by Sukanya Verma
Raanjhanaa isn’t easy viewing but works thanks to Dhanush’s powerful performance and A R Rahman’s score, writes Sukanya Verma.
‘When a man loves a woman, can’t keep his mind on nothing else.’ The Percy Sledge classic sums the spirit of Aanand L Rai’s new romance to perfection.
In Raanjhanaa, a guy from Benares tests his owns limits to the extent he’ll go for the girl he’s been besotted by ever since he was a little boy. Endeavours that begin this early have a way of getting out of hand and exasperating.
But Rai has Dhanush — wonderful, tangible, indefatigable Dhanush, and the actor in his first Hindi film holds fort from start to finish.
This is his story — complicated but transparent, one that you may be inclined to feel judgemental about but one that you’ll see from his perspective. Eventually.
What I liked: After depicting a flair for blending a backdrop’s flavour in the Kanpur-themed narrative for Tanu Weds Manu, Rai extends his aptitude to introduce the verve of Varanasi in Raanjhanaa without making it too in-your-face. Moreover, since the film revolves around locals, doesn’t make sense to capture the visuals (by N Nataraja Subramanium, Vishal Sinha) like some wide-eyed tourist. But the playful hues of Holi and a generally colourful palette that defines the city of temples fills the frames for most part till the story shifts to misty winters in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University campus.
Narrated in flashback, Dhanush recalls the first time his Kundan’s kiddie version (a jovial Naman Jain. Also played Katrina Kaif’s fan in Bombay Talkies) laid eyes on THE object of his affection.
But it Kundan’s pursuit of her (Sonam Kapoor in a chequered pinafore) as a ninth-grader (Dhanush), where he watches her imitating Madhuri Dixit’s popular Ek, do, teen/Channe ke khet mein steps or breaks into a spontaneous, ecstatic jig to Coolie’s Humka ishq hua hai yaaron after she slaps him more than one and a half dozen times to relent and reveal her name, Zoya, which packs in some ad lib humour. The second phase of their interactions has its moments too. There’s a charming scene where an amused Zoya (that’s Sonam) is standing on the balcony while our man dumb charades his way to refresh her memory.
Contrasting personality isn’t some gimmick in Raanjhanaa.
The idea is to depict a connection between two individuals developing with a different set of priorities. While one grows up, and in the process grows out, of the comfort zone to evolve, the other remains dedicated to a single-minded aspiration.
Sonam and Dhanush have a peculiar chemistry. It’s neither simmering nor constrained but bears a quaint mystery, which deepens as they alternate to justify and contradict their actions.
A nose-ringed Sonam looks like a dream even in regular attire of kurta, jeans, cardigan and stole. She does well in the light scenes but somewhat conscious when trying to seem vocal about serious, socio-political issues.
Abhay Deol, though not relegated to a guest appearance, works as both — the snag in the story and a charismatic ideal Raanjhanaa insists upon. Rai picks a solid actor for the role even if the payoff isn’t particularly satisfying.
What I loved: Dhanush and A R Rahman.
Music, here, is truly the food of love. Rahman’s understanding of the distress, intensity and anxiety of tender emotions often supersedes its director preoccupied with stuffing glamourised clips of active student politics.
The latter could be handled with a lot more tautness and better presented arguments, which invite the same criticism as one of the members in the headstrong crowd — over simplification of complex issues, I get what Rai is trying to do — craft a hard-hitting finale for his tale of a man’s passion and penance.
If Rahman is Raanjhanaa’s discerning soul, Dhanush is its explosive heart and nimble body. There’s a scene involving him, Deol and a gas cylinder. It’s subtle, funny and says volumes about his Kundan.
Dhanush’s Hindi is wobbly but surprisingly grows on you even as his vigour burns the screen whether he’s clumsily asking out Sonam on his bike, joyously gate crashing a wedding procession or biting his lips in agony when affronted by the one he’s wronged.
In reality as opposed to movies, people are changeable, making their mind, prone to think differently at different junctures, Raanjhanaa’s protagonists embody this impermanence and that’s what makes it unpredictable, startling. What I disliked: For all its romantic zeal, Raanjhanaa treats its women rather roughly.
Strangling someone in embrace, twisting arms to prove a point is not cute. Not romantic. Not done.
Ironically, during a street play, Sonam brings up the issue of eve-teasing and how casually it’s treated in this country.
It’s uncomfortable to watch the frequency at which the talented Swara Bhaskar (playing Kundan’s smitten, short-tempered childhood companion) is smacked by her male buddies (including an impressive Mohammad Zeeshan Ayub rattling off the punch-lines) as well as the abusive nature of their bonhomie.
In one scene, she tries to seduce Kundan only to be rejected with a crude, ‘Kundan ke pyjama ka naada itna bhi kamzor nahi ke tere do hook khulne se dheela ho jaaye.’
Also, alarming is the regularity with which wrists are slashed. It’s ridiculous how one rebukes another as ‘Jaahil/Ganwar’ for making suicidal moves and two seconds later is crying hoarse about laying life if they can’t marry the one they desire.
What this tells you: Raanjhanaa isn’t easy viewing. Kundan and Zoya aren’t easily likeable. They have flaws. They make mistakes. Blunders, really.
But Rai shows them for what they are; he never paints a pretty picture. And this brutal honesty coupled with a commanding Dhanush is what works.
Rating: Three Stars
KRK reviewed Ranjhana .. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_profilepage&v=WwVKjmsS37U
Wahtever .. but his reviews are funny. His CE trailer review was EPIC … https://www.youtube.com/watch&v=xzRD9yelxmQ
Movie Review by Komal Nahta
Eros International and Colour Yellow Pictures Ltd.’s Raanjhanaa (UA) is a love story. Kundan (K. Dhanush Raja) is a Hindu from South India, settled in Varanasi with his parents. His father (Vipin Sharma) is a temple priest. He has a crush on Zoya, a pretty Muslim girl, since childhood. Even when they are still in school, Kundan expresses his deep love to Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). She doesn’t take him seriously but publicly embraces him when he slits his wrist in a tempo to prove his love for her. All hell breaks loose in Zoya’s house and she is packed off to Aligarh where she studies for some years before getting admission in Delhi’s prestigious JNU College. In JNU College, Zoya meets a firebrand student leader (Abhay Deol) and falls head over heels in love with him. The student leader has political inclinations. He, too, loves Zoya. Meanwhile, Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar) loves Kundan since childhood and is very keen to marry him. She resents the fact that Kundan loves Zoya.
Zoya returns to Varanasi after eight years and Kundan seizes the opportunity to once again reiterate his love for her. All through the eight years, Zoya’s caste-conscious parents, unaware that the boy Zoya had embraced eight years ago was Kundan, continue to be fond of him and make him run errands for them and help them with the household work. Kundan helps Zoya dodge the marriage proposal of a doctor, brought in by her father. Soon, Zoya reveals to Kundan that she is in love with her college pal and would soon marry him. The marriage preparations begin as Zoya has succeeded in convincing her parents that her college friend is her soul mate. Kundan is devastated. He decides to marry Bindiya, that too, on the same day as Zoya’s marriage to her college friend.
As luck would have it, Kundan learns that the college pal Zoya is to get married to is a Hindu pretending to be a Muslim. He spills the beans before Zoya’s parents and the marriage is called off. The prospective bridegroom, Jasjeet, is even beaten up by the loyalists of Zoya’s father. Jasjeet is injured so grievously that his parents take him away to their home town, Jalandhar, where he breathes his last. Here, Kundan’s marriage had not been solemnised as he had reached late for his own wedding.
Zoya is devastated about Jasjeet’s demise but she soon becomes active, once again, in the the political party Jasjeet had formed in Delhi. The party grows from strength to strength. Kundan goes to Delhi and tries to get close to Zoya again, but Zoya is unrelenting as she can’t forgive him for breaking her impending marriage to Jasjeet and for his ultimate death.
So what does Zoya now do? Does she have a change of heart gradually? Or does she seek revenge on Kundan? Does Zoya marry Kundan? Or does Kundan marry Bindiya?
Himanshu Sharma’s story is fresh and has the small-town flavour as it is set in Varanasi. Sharma has penned a screenplay laced with a lot of humour and a dash of emotions. The first half is excellent and the four characters who endear themselves instantly to the audience are the madly-in-love Kundan, the bubbly Zoya, the cutely foul-mouthed Bindiya who pines for Kundan, and Kundan’s bosom pal, Murari (Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub). The humour in the pre-interval part is so entertaining and enjoyable that the audience has a truly good time. Adding brilliantly to the humour are the dialogues, also penned by Himanshu Sharma.
The film, however, takes a dip after the death of Jasjeet. Writer Himanshu Sharma has given too much importance to the activities of the political outfit, after Jasjeet’s demise, and that portion gets long-winding and boring and it also has class appeal only. However, the scenes involving Murari keep the audience entertained in the second half too. Also, the scenes of Kundan coming to the aid of Zoya and her friends make for interesting viewing. Even though the drama in the second half is a bit boring, the silver lining is that it has many twists and turns and it is so unpredictable that the viewers can’t guess in which direction it is headed. The ending is also equally unpredictable and would shock the audience. Although there would be a section of the audience which may not approve of the ending, it must be said that the ending is the most logical and justified one.
All in all, the story is interesting and quite different from a lot of love stories one has seen while the screenplay has good doses of drama and romance, extraordinary comedy and a bit of emotions too. The dialogues, as mentioned above, are gems and a major highlight of the film. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that the dialogues are a hero of the film.
K. Dhanush Raja may not have the looks of a traditional Hindi film hero but he suits the character of Kundan wonderfully and he acts with such effortless ease that he comes out with flying colours in his maiden attempt in Bollywood. He is supremely natural and his character, extremely endearing. His simplicity and honesty come to the fore loudly and clearly, adding to the character he plays. His dubbing deserves mention. Sonam Kapoor looks very pretty and plays Zoya beautifully. The character of Zoya has tremendous range and Sonam does full justice to it. Her transition is amazing. Abhay Deol is also very endearing as Jasjeet and comes up with a superb and dignified performance. Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub is outstanding as Murari, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that he evokes laughter every time he comes on the scene. Swara Bhaskar is first-rate and shines in the role of Bindiya. She gets into the skin of the character of a small-town girl. Kumud Mishra (as Zoya’s father) lends very fine support. Deepika Amin is good as Zoya’s mother. Shilpi Marwah makes her presence felt as Zoya’s friend, Rashmi. Sujata Kumar (as the chief minister) leaves a mark. Vipin Sharma is superb in a brief role as Kundan’s father. Urmilla Sharma (as Kundan’s mother), Rahul Chauhan (as Bindiya’s father), Reena Kumar (as Bindiya’s mother), Ishwak Singh (as Zoya’s groom-to-be), Tejpal Singh (as Jasjeet’s father), Dimple (in the role of Jasjeet’s mother), Gayle Almeida, Pooja Pillai, Rishika Kumar, Sandeep Dixit and Ankita Jha (all as students involved in a group discussion), master Naman Jain (as young Kundan), baby Soniya Ankhlesariya (as young Zoya), baby Payal Bhojwani (as young Bindiya) and master Ansh (as young Murari) lend fantastic support. Others are also very nice.
Aanand L. Rai’s direction is excellent. He has remained true to the script and the characters and has maintained an easy pace. He deserves kudos for extracting such good work from his cast members and also for his perfect casting. A.R. Rahman’s music is melodious and although the music is not super-hit, four songs (‘Banarasiya’, ‘Tum tak’, the title track and ‘Tu mun shudi’) are very appealing. A couple of super-hit songs could’ve added a great deal to the love story. However, it must be mentioned that the songs are bound to grow in popularity. Irshad Kamil’s lyrics are very meaningful. Choreography (Bosco-Caesar) is very eye-pleasing. A.R. Rahman’s background score is outstanding. N. Nataraja Subramanian and Vishal Sinha’s cinematography is wonderful. Tariq Umar Khan’s sets are very appropriate. Javed-Aejaz’s action scenes are nice. Editing (by Hemal Kothari) is sharp.
On the whole, Raanjhanaa is an interesting, entertaining and a fairly different love story and will do very well at the ticket windows. It is like heady wine and its effect will only grow. Dhanush will be loved in the film. Although the total investment in the film is on the higher side (Rs. 28 crore), the film will definitely prove to be a paying proposal as around 55% of the investment has been already been recovered from sale of satellite and music rights.
Raanjhanaa Movie Review by Anupama Chopra
Raanjhanaa Movie Review by Pratim Gupta
There’s this really quirky advertisement which comes on TV where a man asks the ticket guy at a multiplex if he can give him some discount because the film has already started inside. If you were to apply the same logic to Raanjhanaa, you would only have to pay two-third of the ticket price. Maybe even half if you can bargain well.
Really, what was that last one hour? Was it from the same film? After pulling you inside in its world and making you fall in love with the characters, Aanand L. Rai’s second film loses its body and soul in the search of a destination. Till then the flow is organic and addictively so.
The charm of Raanjhanaa, baked from the same dough as Aanand’s first feature Tanu Weds Manu, is in the celebration of a small-town romance. Here it’s the story of Kundan, played by south superstar Dhanush in his Bollywood debut, who is the son of a Benaras pandit and who falls truly, madly, deeply in love — not really in that order — with the neighbourhood girl Zoya (Sonam Kapoor).
The impossibility of a Hindu-Muslim coupling would raise its ugly head but more importantly the girl would go on to brush it off as a school adventure. No such luck for the boy who waits for her to return from Delhi and restart from where they had left off. He had slit his veins then and he still roams around with a blade. In case he needs to shed blood again.
Lekin “mohalla ke laundon ka pyaar doctor engineer hamesha utha ke le jaata hai”. Here he is a student politician, played by, as the trailer must have alerted you, Abhay Deol. He is the man Zoya is ready to slit her veins for. The man she fell in love with on the Delhi campus. Now the action would move back to the holy city where the unholy trinity would come together for some marital action.
Now, all this happens in the first half. The electric, emotionally charged, rainbow-struck first half. It is when the shocker comes early into the second half that Raanjhanaa doesn’t know where to head. Left to pick up its own pieces, the film digs deeper into the world of politics, emerging into a very different film, belying the promise it had made in the first hour.
Throughout that far-better-handled first 80 minutes it is A.R. Rahman’s songs and score that Aanand best makes use of. With a sparse few spoken lines, he cuts to these elaborate montages to Rahman’s music, exuding everything from the first attraction to the falling in love to the heartbreak. Thanks to the glorious soundtrack, there is an automatic attachment of epicness to the proceedings.
The presence of Dhanush helps. Taking a dig at his own looks at the very start, he actually uses his physicality brilliantly to create this impetuous and impish boy who can go to any lengths to get his girl. He’s street-smart yes and even vindictive, but beyond his machinations, the honesty and innocence shine through. And it’s infectious enough for you to root for him. That too over Abhay.
Sonam looks like the girl who can create such crazy flutters in the hearts of two very different men from two very different backgrounds. But her performance is uneven, often lacking the intensity of the other actors or the film. No wonder when an important character dies in the film, they had to cut to Dhanush’s reaction to mask her reaction. Or the lack of it.
The real stars of Raanjhanaa, though, are the actors who play Kundan’s friends — Swara Bhaskar as the hopelessly lovelorn Bindiya and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as the no-nonsense Murari.
You get a feeling why Rahman would have taken up this project. There’s a strong spiritual tone to the subject and his songs evoke them in all their magic and melody. Raanjhanaa wouldn’t have been a shadow of the film it is without his music.
There’s a lot of heart in the way Aanand Rai tells a story but maybe sometimes he should rein in his characters and not let them take him away from the heart of the story. It’s about picking that one right road tum tak. Tum tak… tum tak…