Rab ne bana di jodi

Posted on February 10, 2011

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My reaction to this film is of stunned disbelief. This film is a perfect example of how to take a good idea and turn it into an unbelievably idiotic film. It also confirmed my opinion that Aditya Chopra is a mousy chauvinist.

The peg on which the film hangs is so bizarre that it would take a man of the most sodden dullness to not notice the potential contained in the idea. The film could have been a bizarre, fantasy film about Indian arranged marriages. But this is hardly Aditya’s thing and it leads me to conclude that Adi actually though that his idea was not bizarre at all and it could be made to appear perfectly normal with some help from Rab. That reminds me, God should smote Aditya Chopra for making Him look like an idiot.

I have never been an admirer of SRK’s acting skills; his good performances can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But SRK has earned the right to be a bad actor. His good performances are merely for the record. The Suri/Raj provides an uncanny parallel to the good actor/bad actor SRK. Just as Suri must invent a loud over-the-top persona to express himself and be loved, so has SRK invented the Raj/Rahul persona to express himself and be loved. And both get generous help from their best buddies.

SRK is good, but it is nowhere close to a flawless performance. SRK overplays Suri’s awkwardness and the body language is contrived. The overall effect is endearing in a broad filmy way but both Adi and SRK fail to create a rounded and intimate portrait of a shy but good-natured man. As the maniacally happy and energetic Raj, SRK is in safe territory: Raj is after all channeling the Raj/Rahul persona and over-the-top is the order of the day.

Anushka Sharma is easily the most promising debutant in recent years. She makes her character memorable by putting up a spirited fight against the chauvinist intentions of her director. How I cheered when she tells Suri that she doesn’t have to grin like an idiot to show that she is happy, that she feels burdened by gratitude, that she cannot take anymore of his kindness. But Adi cannot have a woman have the last word, so Suri mumbles something about his love and tries to take the spotlight away from her plight. And this too is not enough. In what is a direct reversal of the choice offered to the woman in the folk stories that inspired Paheli, Taani is offered a choice between the same man only to have her decision corrected by God.

Early in the film, Taani tells Suri that she needs some time to adjust to her new circumstances and her life with him, but she cannot love him. Suri, who was a reasonable fellow back then, is happy that she has at least stopped sulking and mourning and hopes that maybe she will fall in love with him, haule haule. Now if Adi was absolutely determined to introduce Raj, the least he could have done was provide us a reason why Taani thinks Raj and Suri are different people. Heck, he could have taken the whole branch instead of a leaf from Hrishida and introduced a twin brother lie.

Of course, she does not have to realize that Suri and Raj are the same but what does that indicate? That she is a direct descendent of Lois Lane? That she needs glasses? That she hardly looks at Suri? That people choose to see what they want to see? That God is messing with her? But Adi doesn’t want to think so much and passes this off as divine will.

And as if all this is not enough, there are some boring, poorly placed songs. The song with the YR regular heroines didn’t have a single redeeming feature to excuse the fact that it was included just for the heck of it and in the most painfully obvious manner.

If there is one thing that this film does correct, it is that it finally and indisputably proves that Aditya Chopra has lived off his DDLJ reputation for too long. Maybe he was never any good to begin with. Maybe he just got lucky, like Suri.

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Posted in: Reviews