It takes guts to reinvent oneself with the overused storyline of an underdog protagonist falling for an angelic girl whom he chases and woos with those lifelong promises in spite of repeated rejections and ultimately win over the heart a spectator who is overtly particular about new age cinema. Anand Rai after Tanu Weds Manu in Raanjhnaa lends more thought and soul into his storytelling methods to capture that cinematic old world charm to good effect. Though diluted by the drastically different halves, the rooted yet flawed nature of the characters, undoubtedly supported by supreme performances are etched deeply in one’s minds long after the viewing.
Madhavan’s unperturbed character in Tanu Weds Manu did the trick in balancing out the over the top mannerisms of Kangna Ranaut in the same. Here however, we are to see the distinction between the modern day Awaara Kundan Shankar, son of a Tamil pandit and a self confessed practical JNU pass out Zoya whose ever changing personal equations only lead to their lives getting doomed. Being slapped, compromising with poetry and emotional black mailing to the extent of cutting one’s hand, Kundan goes all out for a girl who accepts him for his consistency, at 15. Years later after they’re separated, at teenage, one of them calls it childishness while the other is unbashedly sure about it being love. The differences are established well when the girl is open about accepting the fact that she is merely utilising the services of the good for nothing male lead, for settling her love marriage. The phase where both take personal liberties and err, just to satisfy their conscience makes the journey even more intriguing.
Political tracks in movies like Paa and Halla Bol were frustrating due to their half-baked, over idealistic treatment. Raanjhnaa almost does that if it wasn’t saved by a near perfect dose of twists and turns in its screenplay. The priorities of the director however weren’t clear in terms of whether he tried to cater himself to the entertainment craving audiences or the intelligentsia, similar to what Raju Hirani experienced with regard to 3 Idiots. The glitches appear more so clearly when the unappealingly written Abhay Deol’s role doesn’t click within its limited time frame. Kundan, played by Dhanush comes through more effectively than any other character in the movie specifically because of the limited regard that we give to his casual appearance, inadvertently helping us focus more on his performance. Besides his mastery over Hindi diction, the way he dances, laughs, cries and emotes every expression with utmost precision gives us a clear indication of his forte of performing in intense dramas ever since Pudhu Pettai, Mayakkam Enna and 3. Sonam Kapoor gets her best written role after Mausam whose humanly flaws explores various dimensions of her skill set to perfection. Zeeshan Ayub is another wonderful pick in a movie that drifts too easily into the political arena. A R Rahman’s compositions and background score haven’t been used in any of his recent works as stupendously as in this Anand Rai’s second outing. Moreover, the vivid cinematography that captures the minutest details with finesse makes Raanjhnaa, a near-complete cinematic experience.
(Original article can be found at http://goo.gl/O8IxA )