Raanjhanaa is a love story that has a Shakespearean touch and is mounted on a lavish scale. Set in Benaras, in a sense, the heart of India, the first half in the vibrant city where the Ganges flows, just sweeps you off your feet with its colour and feel. The plot follows Kundan (Dhanush), a Tam-Bram settled in Benaras. A slight vagabond, he falls hopelessly in love with Zoya (Sonam Kapoor), a fairly affluent Muslim girl in his neighbourhood. And his feelings are beautifully conveyed through dialogue written by Himanshu Sharma and songs composed by Rahman.
Like an obsessed puppy, Kundan is happy to shadow Zoya from morning to night, till her parents hear of it. Naturally, they think it’s preposterous for their teenage daughter to have a crazy Hindu admirer. So she is promptly `banished’ to live with an aunt in another city.
But the separation cannot stop Kundan’s infatuation from growing wings. Taking a vow of celibacy, he waits patiently for his lady love to come home. When she returns, she talks of how she has fallen in love with another man Akram/Jaspreet ( Abhay Deol), a senior at her university in Delhi. Kundan is devastated but he has a heart of gold. He more or less relents to becoming the best man at Zoya’s union to Jassi. But life doesn’t play out in a straight line. The various twists and turns that follow unravel a mystery.
And around this time, the chinks in the script also show. All of a sudden, Raanjhanaa seems like two different films. In the first half, it is an interesting, intense, introspective love story, where you empathise with the characters. In the second half, the love story gets diluted to make way for gobbledygook political ideology that is an irritant.
Director Aanand Rai should be credited for drawing a superlative performance from the National Award-winner Tamil superstar, Dhanush, who makes his Hindi cinema debut here. His Kundan is a gem (pun intended). Sonam Kapoor is in top form giving Zoya several shades from giggly to grey. Unfortunately, she gets covered more for her fashion than her true mettle as an actor.
A Hindu Brahmin boy falls in love with a beautiful Muslim girl from his neighbourhood. Does their love pass the acid communal test?
You may not like this film if you cannot digest brooding love stories.
The Times of India