When politics throws a spanner in love

When politics throws a spanner in love

Ranjhanaa
Hindi (U/A) ¬¬1/2
Cast: Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol
Director: Anand L Rai

It all begins as a slapping contest. A besotted Dhanush can’t take his eyes off neighbourhood girl Sonam Kapoor. As the puppy love progresses along Varanasi lanes, Dhanush goes wagging his tail after Sonam, who, in turn, takes immense pleasure in greeting him with a slap. And loyal lover Dhanush religiously offers his cheek every time Sonam goes whack-whack. Wow, some love this!

Raanjhanaa’s positives lie in this uninhibited romance, brought to the fore mainly by Dhanush who is blessed with an amazing lack of self-consciousness. As a Tamil Brahmin boy obsessed with a Muslim girl beyond his reach, Dhanush is all raw and delightfully crazy. And in the absence of an “I love you”, his wrists are ever ready to be slashed.

It doesn’t matter much to him even if Sonam’s caste-conscious parents pack her off on a train and years later, on her return, she fails to even recognise her old charmer.

Now, on the flip side is an undercooked political sub-plot that consumes most of the second half. Sonam — now part of a JNU bunch of activists led by student leader Abhay Deol — puts on an aam admi garb, shouting “power to people” and clashing with police at India Gate. And somewhere down the road, her kohl-lined eyes start craving Abhay Deol. Only that Deol doesn’t get much time to do anything other than looking good in kurtas.

Even as the love triangle assumes an increasingly political tone with some strange twists, Dhanush continues mooning over his disinterested love interest.

The south star makes for a good watch in his Hindi debut. Sonam too matches up to his performance, but the ones who leave a greater impact are Swara Bhaskar (as the girl who pines for Dhanush) and Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub (as Dhanush’s friend).
Raanjhanaa would have fared better had it kept politics off the love story.

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