Dhanush has a formula, and it is self-deprecating charm. He uses it in almost every movie and manages to win each time. You wonder if it is because it is so reflective of his natural persona, or if it is the only way filmmakers can sell Dhanush as a protagonist in mainstream Indian cinema. Either way, it works- and in some cases (like with his recent Tamil venture ‘3’ and with Ranjhanaa) Dhanush carries what would otherwise seem cumbersome stories and screenplays on his slick, narrow shoulders.
In a way, Raanjhanaa works as a deviant romantic film that plays tribute to the way love stories were made in the 80s: colorful unrequited love, constantly unfolding characterizations, and a definite disregard for the audience’s attention deficit; but therein lay it’s biggest flaws: it is exasperating almost as soon as it is endearing.
Raanjhanaa is based in Varanasi and is the story of Kundan (played by Dhanush) and his love for a local girl, Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). His love spans decades and grows stronger until it is rejected and crushed, leading him to make rash decisions and subsequently seek redemption. It feels twice as long as it actually is, but Dhanush pulls out all stops to keep you in the game. For the average Tamil-movie goer, it is a normal Dhanush affair. It is almost eerily suspicious as to how Dhanush landed this role that he performs with such ease and aplomb.
Sonam Kapoor is above average(her average, of course); her character is cold and severe and she does a decent job of getting you to be confused and just hate her(again, not hard). There are times when you are so exasperated with the movie that you are wondering why A.R. Rahman wasted his music on the movie. Is it time for an intervention, A.R.R? Conserve your creativity for more deserving scripts? The soundtrack is fantastic. The movie maximizes benefits from the music by using long drawn sequences set to the music rather than use dialogue.
Granted, Raanjhanaa features a few of the regular evils of Indian cinema: nonchalant displays of the guy stalking the girl and forcing his love on her, violent reactions to her denial of his feelings, and irresponsible suicide attempts; but it avoids caricatures and cheap humor. Not for a lack of fodder, that is just not what this movie is about. It is about 140 long minutes followed by ridiculous plot twists in the last 5 minutes.
Watch Raanjhanaa if you want to watch a weird, brooding love story with excellent music. If nothing else, you hang out for two and a half long hours with two Chennai boys who’re just trying to make an odd movie bearable.