Directed by: Anand L.Rai
Starring: Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Swara Bhaskar, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
There was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to write about Ranjhanaa; as well as the dark disturbing story that seems to have polarised audiences, this film holds the honour of being the first ever Hindi film I saw in New York City (meaning I have watched Hindi films in 3 continents – North America, Europe and Asia – only a few continents more to complete the set!) whilst the beautiful score by the very talented A R Rehman looks set to take up permanent residency on my iPod (just like the rest of his work).
The greatest issue with the film (apart from the curse of the second half though I forgave that for the superior first half) is Kundan’s obsession with Zoya – is this just a harmless crush that gets out of hand or something far more sinister? Does a conservative society as the one depicted force such behaviour or does Zoya use Kundan for her own means? The film maintains a silence of sorts, letting us decide ourselves which is a brave move, whether by design or chance. Furthermore, with more questions raised than answered, for me, a repeat viewing is essential to make some sense of it all.
Performance wise, I have never seen a film starring Dhanush in any language but that is all set to change after his tour de force turn here. Exuding a consistent and concentrated energy, Dhanush is the life and soul of Ranjhanaa, at once making us like him but providing enough depth in his performance to create a real character rather than a stock lovesick romeo. Sadly, Sonam is totally overshadowed by Dhanush and even worse, despite having an author backed role, totally fails to make Zoya feel three dimensional – instead, Sonam seems to have concentrated more on her look than her mannerisms which is pretty to look at but to throw away the opportunity offered by a breakthrough role is wasteful and is the very pretty but visible flaw in this film. I also loved the supporting cast, especially the dynamic duo of Bhaskar and Ayyub who show exactly how to maximize the potential of a good role as well as Abhay Deol whose appearance is welcome in any film for me.
Ranjhanaa is certainly worth a watch if only to join in the debate and see where you stand on this take on all consuming love. Furthermore, there are political and religious dimensions to the film that warrant closer attention all making that repeat viewing much more important. The last time I wanted to watch a film again so soon after seeing it was Rockstar which is now one of my favourite films ever. Whilst I don’t think Ranjhanaa will quite be like that for me, it is certainly a film I would highly recommend.