I paid 210 rupees to watch this film. And entering the theatre, I had no clue what to expect. I had seen just a few promos on television. I knew nothing about the storyline. Unlike other times, here was a film which I knew nothing about before watching it. I had heard the songs a few times. Never really paid attention to them. And as I stepped into the almost full house first day first show of Aditya Chopra's Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi at InoxSwabhumi, I felt highly uncertain.
Rab Ne.. starts off with just random shots of Amritsar. The place where the whole story unfolds. As the opening credits appear on screen we are made familiar with an everyday morning in the city. People slowly starting to make their way to the Golden Temple, workers cleaning the streets, grandmothers making their way to their house roofs to worship the rising sun, vendors cleaning their carts for the day's business. It establishes a city waking up. In the midst of this bustle we are taken to the Amritsar train station where the focus is on a man deboarding a train. The man, probably in his early 30's, is dressed in a full-sleeved shirt buttoned up all the way to the wrists, plain trousers, and white running shoes. His hair is well-oiled and combed, he has a moustache which looks very well maintained. He wears plastic rimmed glasses. Your average middle-class working man. Behind him, a beautiful woman, much younger, wearing a beautiful red patiala. She sports an expression of uncertainty. It is assumed that they are married; a fact that we are made sure of a few scenes later. And so the story begins..
Rab Ne.. is, quite simply put, a love story. The simplicity of its story is clarified by its tag-line- 'There is an Extraordinary Love Story in every Ordinary Jodi'. Expect the unexpected, but not so much as to make the film an unsatisfactory watch. It could indeed be the story of an ordinary jodi. Firstly, what this film does not do is show something absolutely over the top. There are no outrageous and frustrating twists and turns. It is a very straightforward story. Very cutely constructed. The circumstances of the marriage between Shahrukh's character Surinder, and Anushka's character Taani are very believable. The instances that follow, are also the same. This is the story of an ordinary middle-class man who falls in love with a simple family girl. They get married the day after they meet each other for the first time, their marriage is the result of the sorry happenings of one day. What follows is a story involving a makeover, a dance competition, incidences of uncontrollable joy over a yellow tiffin carrier, and figuring out what love, really, is all about.
This is a film for the entire family to watch. Rab Ne.. is a love comedy/drama. It has most of the elements of your average Bollywood film. There is the song and dance routine, there is the melodrama, there is the action brought about by the word bitch, there is even time for some male bonding. For the entire two and half hours, its hard not to either smile or feel sad about the characters on screen. One thing it successfully establishes is characters. It centres around the characters and characters only, never giving way to unnecessary details.
Shahrukh Khan, playing the role of SurinderSahni, our average middle-class working man; and also the role of Raj Kapoor (Yes, you heard that right. To know more you've got to watch the film), is a gem to watch. What he did in Om Shanti Om he does once again. He makes us laugh, and he makes us cry, telling us again why he is the Khan of the industry. He tackles both roles, one of Surinder, and the other of the flirty and flamboyant Raj, churning out one one-liners after the other, with absolute ease. The contrast between the two is amazing. One wearing the plain shirt, trouser and shoes; the other with the body hugging chain-around-the-neck t-shirt, designer jeans and cowboy boots.
VinayPathak is another gem in the cast, playing the role of Surinder's best friend Balwinder 'Bobby' Khosla. You will not believe the fact that it is actually him the first time you see him with his back turned to us, knocking on Surinder's front door. And then there is new-comer AnushkaSharma. Top model. And Rab Ne.. would not be what it is without her. She is a natural. A treat to watch. There is something about her smile that makes you want to smile. With every smile, she lights up the screen. She speaks with her eyes, those perfectly soothing stretched eyes. She has unbelievable screen presence. And the chemistry between her and Surinder, as well as her and Raj is perfect. One, where they sit at either end of a huge family table and have their dinner talking about how nice the food is; the other where they are going neck-and-neck in a golgappa eating competition. Even the chemistry between Shahrukh and Pathak is perfect. It is all about characters.
Rab Ne.. is also a film about moments. Small insignificant moments perhaps, but ones which mean the world to the characters. When Surinder discovers the small yellow tiffin carrier his wife has given him, filled with food she herself has cooked for him, his joy is uncontrollable. This is followed by one of the cutest song and dance routines of recent times. HauleHaule could be a short film by itself. With two excellently choreographed sequences within it, both amongst the hustle and bustle of busy Amritsar, this could be the story of a man exploding with joy about the fact that someone he loves has cooked a meal for him and packed it with love and care. There is also the small gesture of rubbing rang on his cheek in the same song. Then there is the song and dance ofPhirMilengeChalteChalte. It will remind you of Dhoom Tana from Om Shanti Om, having the wordings and settings of famous hindi songs of old. Shahrukh Khan brings out comedy even when he is dancing. There are several other such instances, involving a sumo-wrestler or the Dhoom-like bike face-off, to name a few.
Taken without complications, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is still a love story. An Extraordinary story, about a very simple couple. Don't judge this film too much. It succeeds in being outrageously funny, very soothing and feel good, all at the same time. Rab Ne.. is all about feeling, realising, deciding, and most of all, about loving. It will make you sad, it will also make you as happy as Surinder was when he discovered the yellow tiffin carrier. Do not forget to stay for the closing credits. This is a very-very cute film.