Friday, November 6, 2009

Film Review: Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani

Frothy fun all the way

Starring: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Upen Patel and Darshan Jariwala
Director: Raj Kumar Santoshi
Rating: ***

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani may never have officially claimed to be a sequel to the 90s cult hit, Andaz Apna Apna, but it is, in fact, a cocktail of frothy romance and giddy-headed comedy in the same vein. The hilarious ‘purish nahin, aap mahapurish ho’ dialogue is altered to ‘toph kya aap toh pop ho’ here.

The playful ‘Elloji sanam’ is evoked in the background….two rival gangs hatch a kidnapping plan, there’s an ineffectual don a la Crime master Gogo and the climax has all the riotous, slapstick fun elements one saw in Raj Kumar Santoshi’s earlier comedy.It probably isn’t as zany as Andaz Apna Apna, but it still confidently holds up well as a frolicsome joyride, weaving a charming tapestry of quirky episodes. The comic-book touch enables Ajab… to work as part comedy and part fantasy, and the result is a feather-light, feel-good film.

Prem (Ranbir Kapoor), having left his schooling half-way, spends his time goofing around with friends and running a club that tries to bring together lovers. One such instance brings him close to Jenny (Katrina Kaif), a recent entrant in his neighbourhood. The two become friends, with Prem making several life-style changes in a bid to win her over.
There is a rather charming touch to their characters, where both stammer whenever they get upset or emotional. Santoshi makes the romance kick in a tad too quickly, where the couple fight and the episode is followed by a song.He introduces a few twists and turns along the way, but they seem too trivial to cause a serious impediment to the love story. This is where the film’s path diverges slightly from something like an Andaz Apna Apna, which could revel in its silliness without a care. This being a love story, however flippant it maybe, one is expected to invest a little more in the characters’ lives and their emotional somersaults. However, the script and essential lightness of the narrative makes it difficult for you to really sympathise with Prem and Jenny’s affairs. There’s complete absence of any real drama or conflict.

Yet, the film stays enjoyable if you’re willing to go with a non-serious love story interspersed with peppy songs, charming lead stars and goofy fun. In the climax (a very extended one), you have a sequence where Ranbir is fighting the goons all alone and Katrina in a bid to help him, swings the baton too. But it always ends up hitting Ranbir instead of the bad guys. So after two or three mishaps, Ranvir grabs her shoulders and says, “Tum mere side se ho ya unke…Jaake kone me baitho’. There are many such cute moments.

Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is another great showcase film for Ranbir Kapoor, who displays his fine abilities not just as an actor, but as a dancer too. There is great assuredness about him as an actor, but one also gets the sense that there is something lacking in terms of originality in his act. There’s too much studied proficiency to his performance, and this brings a certain emotional disconnect with his character.

Katrina Kaif, natural as always, shines in the part of the lovely Christian girl. The actress always works her charm in characters that are somewhat extensions of her own personality. Upen Patel looks bulky and ill-at-ease. The episode involving him and Katrina is not so bad, but Santoshi resorts to quick contrivances in the end. Darshan Jariwala is superb!

The film should count as a successful attempt from Raj Kumar Santoshi, who was running out of form for a while. Like all his films, this one too is a relatively lengthy film. Not a film that will stay with you, but a perfect date movie nevertheless.
-Sandhya Iyer


Blogger Aarkayne said...

Nice review Sandy but I think I liked APKGD much more than you did. Certainly no comparisions should be made to AAA though they can never be far away. The genre is the same. Whereas that was about really two bounty hunters, and their mad hatter ways, this is about a good samaritan with a heart of gold! In a way though it does not lend itself to as many mad antics, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the writing was! this HAS to be Santoshi’s BEST writing since AAA. He’s a natural at writing comedies and should seriously think of doing one each year. And yes I completely agree the climax, by which i dont just mean the godown scene, which in itself was working slapstick elements beautifully with the smart one-liners, but even the way he ties it all up(and it is TOO delicious in my opinion to give away) with some ‘divine’ intervention, is simply a fabulously creative touch! I was not expecting it.

I have not laughed this hard in a movie, since some moments in HASEENA MAAN JAAYEGI, all the way back up to actually AAA. So in pure Bambaiyya terms apunka paisa solid vasool bhidu! Paisa pheka, tamasha dekha!

I would whole heartedly recommend anyone to spend their hard earned monies on this. You wont be disappointed.

Err, please do remember to suspend your disbelief from the ceiling at home, in case you did not get it from the promos, this is all supposed to be comic book sorta of comedy. In some bizarre ways it kept reminding me of DICK TRACY! The tacky, overly done, artificial looking set pieces all add to the fun.

November 7, 2009 at 11:02 PM  
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