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She’s no ‘Pretty Woman’ walkin’ down the street. With trimmed hats, stilettos (higher than her dreams) or with a brazen billionaire to whisk her away into a fairytale of fantasies. She’s Rajjo (Kangna), the little girl who lost her childhood in an infamous kotha, in the dingy red-light ilaakas of the city. Although, she’s the Queen Bee (called Rajjo Rani) of her domain, commanding the highest rate-card.
Rajjo is a top-‘notch’ dancer, and even as she entices a housefull of horny, hungry, lusty men with a jhalak, jhatkas and mujras, she harbours a deep-seated dream of being a classical dancer. But before that, a Maharashtrian Virar ka chokra, the 21-year-old Chandu (Paras) walks into her kotha with his budding manhood, albeit with noble and naive intentions. Somehow, love blossoms over closed-door callow chats (purely platonic), under the supervision of Begum (Manjrekar) – the hijra and boss of the brothel. Chandu drops out of college (without a penny or plan) to rescue his Rani from the ungracious whims of fate.
Kangna, as Rajjo makes a pretty picture in every frame (perfect make-up, hair-do and fashionable clothes. Why???). You can’t miss her reddened lips even as she turns into a village belle for some part. She makes a sincere effort, but is trapped in story that crumbles and finds no escape. Yet, she’s the only thing that helps us sail through this tiring tragedy. Paras is passable (he’s got plenty of ‘growing up’ to do); Manjrekar is effective and Prakash Raj needs to reinvent himself with an urgency.
Vishwas Patil probably had a heart-wrenching story, but he’s unable he exploit his cast well, or narrate a tale that’s coherent, consistent or engaging. Randomness rules! Events unfold – forced and futile. Dialogues with zero-impact (some laughable) find their way into this mehfil of mess. Well, the social message is good, but Rajjo’s trials and tragedies don’t evoke a tear of emotion or grief. Most of all, the direction, execution and music is stuck in bygone era.
This one falls many notches below expectation. And not even a Rajjo-nautch can swing it out of the red-light zone.
A nautch girl’s escape from the ignoble life of Mumbai’s kothas, to finding love and living her dream.
The Times of India