Monday, June 24, 2013

Raanjhanaa: Thoughts, Flies, Ointment...and Soup

(Since I'm a good person at heart, there are no spoilers here. You're welcome.)

There are many interesting things about Raanjhanaa.

Acting: Fantastic stuff by Dhanush (who owns Kundan and, by extension, the movie) as well as by Zeeshan Ayub and pretty much everyone else. Shout out for Asmita Theatre Group.

Its depiction of love: Raanjhanaa deals with obsessive love which, as things go, can be pretty OTT. But Raanjhanaa manages to keep it real. Dhanush’s love is the fanaa sorts but it’s also fucked up. It’s selfish and Dhanush, when it matters most, ends up thinking of himself over and above everything, even when it’s going to destroy his lady love's life (not a lot of ‘tumhari khushi main hi meri khushi hai’, no siree). But at the end of the day, it is love and it’s beautiful (Awww).

Class divide (vis-a-vis creed divide): That’s the real fault line in India today, says the film, overturning years of hard work by Bollywood. Zoya (Sonam) thinks Kundan’s (Dhanush) a bit of joke really. Never really looks at him as a person, you know, with feelings and stuff. Part of it is because she’s a bitch. The other is because she just can’t see herself marrying a person who, well, fixes the car or brings home the gas cylinder. She needs someone from her background. A pukka PLU. Well-read, English medium types, you know. Kinda ironic that she’s a commie in the film. Loved the dig at the JNU endless debate culture in a scene where JNU students discuss why someone would turn to burglary. Reminded me of the Judean People’s Front/People’s front Judea Scene from The Life of Brian. Zoya’s father’s: more simple. Hindus and poor people, keep offa my daughter, he screams. Silently. Cos he’s a chomu. He knows squat of what his daughter's up to, right from her her 15-year old self to when she's in JNU and he really needs to do more off a background check when agreeing to get his daughter married off.

Banaras: Depicted brilliantly in the first half without descending into any sort of cliché. Another thing’s that not clichéd: Muslims. None of them wear achkans or go about salaaming people. Also, almost (...) no namaaz! Woo!

The dialogue: Witty repartee delivered in some sort of faux Banaras accent? Yes, please! Pick of the lot: “Tumahara pyaar na ho gaya, UPSC ka exam ho gaya. 10 saal se paas hi nahi ho raha”.

The ending: More of the love-is-fucked-up-but beautiful shit. In other words, perfect. And also a bit of an unexpected twist plus it rounds of Sonam's character beautifully, her motivations clear as day and pretty kick ass. The metamorphosis of Sonam Kapoor’s character from innocent 15-year old, to oppressed woman, to liberated woman who woos her man with a public kiss to wronged woman is amazingly done. While Dhanush’s character is far more lovable and larger, it’s also a bit straightforward (just a little bit). Soman’s character, now there’s a whopper. So so well written.

A couple of dei ex machina act a bit like flies in the ointment. But really small, tiny little insignificant flies. Which you just flick out and carry on with drinking your soup, cos it’s just so good. Which is also a bit confusing cos the original idiom dealt with ointment so where did the soup come from?Any which way, Raanjhanaa is a pretty amazing film.

P.S: Wonder what Raanjhanaa means. "Like Raanjhaa"? The parallels with Heer Ranjha are more than a bit obvious. Other than the fact that it's a pretty sardonic take on it, almost a caricature. A bit like Paranjpe's Katha was to the Hare and the Tortoise.

P.P.S: I've just been reliably informed that Raanjhanaa is just a corrupted/informal form of Raanjhaa.


Anonymous said...

It's more of a form used while addressing, in a poetic way. Like "O Raanjhana"

Amit here. Long time no see! Hope you are doing well. Also I didn't like this analysis. Too sensible, doesn't allow me to feel superior and self-rightous.

Hades said...

Hahaha! Where would we be without our superiority complexes, eh?

Hope you're doing good, Amit.