Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Movie Review

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi Movie Review

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.