It felt a little like a more heartbreaking version of 500 Days of Summer as the movie ended. Raanjhnaa is a love story of such extremes that for a good long while it shuts you up and makes you think. Think about this misplaced insanity called love, defying logic, reason et all. It might be a tad bit off the mark to compare it to the Joseph Gordon-Levit- Zooey Deschanel starrer, but Raanjhnaa is not a quintessential Bollywood love story, a story about love. Fairly.
Dhanush makes a brilliant Bollywood debut as the scruffy Kundan who runs through Banaras ki galliyan after Zoya (Sonam). Kundan, with best buddy Murari (Zeeshan Ayyub in a stellar role) in tow leaves no stone unturned to get the girl. It takes him some 16 odd slaps on his face to get her name while poor Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar, another winner) pines away for the gawky boy.
With communal strife as the cause, the school time romance comes to an unceremonious end as Zoya’s parents pack her off to Aligarh when they find out about her illicit romance with a Hindu boy.
Eight years go by and Zoya returns to find Kundan right where she left him, stupidly in love with her. But she’s moved on, Aligarh to JNU, Kundan to Akram (Abhay Deol). Kundan has two choices - either he can woo her (which he does hopelessly) or help her get married to Akram. He does one after the other and it all explodes in a terrible heartbreaking nasty business.
‘Aashiq ki tab nahi fatti jab mehbooba ki shaadi ho jaye, tab fatti hai jab khud ki shaadi ho,’ says Murari. Jilted love turns to heated anger and chaos is the next station.
Ranjhnaa is about love that never finds home. None of the characters manage to find solace or peace in love. It is not that they do not deserve it, it seems that by a strange twist of fate, love that is left tragically incomplete is the norm of the day.
Raanjhnaa has its flaws. The movie feels terribly drawn out in parts, JNU is really nothing like that and Sonam has still not learned to act. Surrounded by such brilliant actors, we can only pray she learns a thing or two by the time she shoots her next.
What saves the day are the other actors and some really brilliant scenes. The scene where Murari asks Kundan to die as he lies injured, is heart wrenching, as are Kundan’s closing lines.
The tale could have been more crisp but we don’t mind it. Dhanush isn't your Ranbir Kapoor, but he sure can romance. He steals the show. Zeeshan Ayyub and Swara Bhaskar - hats off! Brilliant music by AR Rahman is another winner for Raanjhnaa
There is something painfully nice about Raanjhnaa. And it is worth a watch.