Sunday January 2, 2011
Movie review: Band Baaja Baaraat (Maneesh Sharma)
I remember writing this, in my review of Pandiraj’s debut Tamil film, ‘Pasanga‘.
Tamil cinema is home to rampant male domination. No hero in our state apologizes – its always the woman who is used to apologizing; if the man does, he’s either above 50 (in filmy age) or from a neighboring state (Mammooty?). And worse, no hero apologizes to a woman – if anything, Tamil heroes are known to advise women, at the drop of a dhoti, however wrong they are.
Why am I starting a Hindi film’s review with that? Because, that’s precisely what went through my mind as Band Baaja Baaraat ended.
More than that brilliant Delhi-ness of it…more than those delightful dialogs (‘Tum uski flyover banati jaa rahi ho!’ is just one such line – there are TONS more!)…more than that crackling chemistry between Anushka and Ranveer (when was the last time we’ve seen such beautiful chemistry between the leads?)…more than all those contagious dancing…it was the fact that the film had Shruti Kakkar (Anushka) dominating the relationship almost throughout the film that astonished me!
Shruti made the rule – the now-epic, ‘Jiske saath vyapaar karo, usse kabhi na pyaar karo’. She broke the rule. She assumed that such rule-breaking is no big deal since Ranveer was line-maaro’ing her anyway. She got upset when he did not reciprocate her feelings. She broke the partnership. She fought with him. She decided to get married to Chetan. She. She. She!
It was almost as if there was nothing Ranveer did wrong in the relationship! And despite that, he barely raises his voice in a fight with Shruti.
In this age, where heroes, even debutants, demand scenes to showcase their alpha-male’ness, Ranveer’s debut comes across as a pleasant shock. He doesn’t have fight scenes in the film; he doesn’t argue too much with Shruti…he makes her chai, instead! Even in the last scene where they make up and kiss (notice the order!), he’s the quintessential sadak-chaap loverboy who doesn’t use the most appropriate words to describe their relationship – he calls it ‘mauj’ and if mauj = love, so be it, he says! Even after making up, Shruti teases him ‘Sab mujhe hi sikhana padega?’! After reading one of his allegedly-notorious exploits in mainstream media, I thought director Maneesh Sharma would have told him in the same tone as Maqsood Bhai (Neeraj Sood as a flower vendor – fabulous cameo!), ‘Rehn de! Tu bas meri baat sun – sab teekh hoga!’, when Ranveer may have felt apprehensive about his role vis-à-vis Anuskha’s! And that’s where he really scores!
And Shruti, in turn, is all spunk. Here’s one actress who uninhibitedly plays the Janakpuri-chaap Delhi girl in all its glory – her bindaas dance movements in the weddings they organize…her sloshed dance with Ranveer in their office, just before they produce the best kissing scene in Hindi films in several decades…her excited showcase of her ‘wedding album’ that she put together after working with ‘Anu aunty’, when Ranveer asks her about her ‘binnes’ plan in the bus…her I’m-in-heaven prancing around the house the day after they make love…all her arguments with Ranveer…WOW! For her third film, Anushka gets one of the best roles a young heroine could have ever dreamt of and she pulls it off in incredible style!
In fact, like the Cheshire cat, what remains after the film ends is Anushka’s winsome smile!
But if there was a hero in this film, it is Habib Faisal – who owns the screenplay and dialogs and infuses life into an otherwise simple romcom. There have been way too many complaints about the ‘second half’, but I found it perfectly functional and logical, after a tiff. Yes, the convenience of things going completely wrong in respective individual businesses doesn’t sit comfortably with what seemed to be a largely realistic first half, but think about it – very few things go wrong in the beginning of ‘Shaadi Mubarak’ too! There’s just a mandatory scene of a stage not rotating and even that ends smoothly. So, in a way Habib was perhaps setting us up for a similarly opposite situation when the duo start on their own – I won’t complain about the ‘second half’ like everybody else precisely because of that!
I remember laughing really hard when I saw the promos of this film, particularly the ‘Bronze package bhi hai. Bronze mein hum kriya karam karte hain!’ line by Ranveer. And to think I got an entire film peppered with delightful dialogs like that and a complete film that embodies the 3 lines I wrote in an earlier review…I couldn’t have asked for more.
This is one heck of a delightful film – do not miss it, if you haven’t seen it yet.