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Rab De Bana Di Jodi – movie review

December 13, 2008

This two hour forty-five minute movie is light, frothy, and enjoyable, even though the story is unbelievable. The concept behind the story is a good one. It’s about seeing through superficial appearances to the real person within. It’s about an ordinary man called Surinder Singh (Shah Rukh Khan), an introvert, and somewhat repressed, who falls headlong in love with a pretty young girl. Even after marriage he is unable to express his love for her. Not only is he quiet and undemonstrative, his appearance, dress sense and his hesitant demeanour is uninspiring and one is reminded of Clark Kent in Superman. His new bride, Taani (Anushka Sharma), finds him dull and boring, and is unable to love him. The movie is about their love, about how Suri sets about to woo her after their marriage and we wonder whether Taani will eventually see through Suri’s boring exterior to the real Suri.

The director, Aditya Chopra, a man who made the stupendously successful Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, tells this story in a fairly theatrical manner, by creating a situation where it is possible for Suri to dress up and act like another person and meet his wife in a different situation. No, not as superman, but simply the young dashing sort, much like the hero Raj of Yash Raj films – flamboyant, cheerful, talkative and an incorrigible flirt. Thankfully, Taani finds this “flirting” offensive. Any girl would, married or not.

The story
The story is fairly predictable and it is a kind of fantasy as well, despite it  being devoid of foreign locations. Otherwise why should the staid and restrained Suri suddenly break into a song? Why is Taani unable to recognize him in his double role? She doesn’t even say, hey you look a little like my husband! And why would Taani, a small-town home-bound girl behave in the remarkably liberal manner that she does?

There is a premise of the story I did not agree with. In one of the most serious scenes in the movie Raj asks Taani what girls want in their men and she says all that a girl wants is for a man to love her to distraction, and what Taani appreciates in Suri is that he loves her even though she doesn’t reciprocate one bit. I found this premise a superficial one. Perhaps this explains why some young men pursue women relentlessly even when the women are not interested, in the hope that one day they will be.

The music
The song Haule Haule is a good one and while the rest of the music is average, the choreography by Shiamak Davar is good. All the songs are picturised well.

The characters
Once in the skin of Raj, Suri’s character seems to change, much in the manner of Jekyll and Hyde. Shah Rukh’s rather dramatic acting distinctly sets apart both Raj and Suri. Overall though Shah Rukh does a good job, playing both roles with his usual flair and intensity. Except for the character of Suri, the others are poorly developed. Raj’s character is a paper cut-out and Vinay Pathak’s character Bobby is exaggerated, like Raj’s. However Pathak acts well, as usual. Taani’s character seems out of sync, on one hand she is a traditional girl who likes to do her “duty” by her husband, and on the other she is willing to break all societal norms and actually not go through much conflict, not until the very end! At least if the director had shown some disturbance in her mind it would have been more believable. Sharma acted quite alright though, considering the basic weaknesses in her scripted character.

Overall this movie is light entertainment and even if it drags in the middle, it is a must watch for Shah Rukh fans. He does an great job playing two characters and there are a lot of funny moments in the movie, and well, it is a romantic comedy.  But if you have to compare this movie to other romantic movies, it is not as good as Jab we met and certainly nowhere in the class of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

(Photo from sify.com)

Related Reading: Ghajini Review

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2008 9:37 am

    Hey…thanks for review…wanted to watch it next week in theater [am back home for a month] so will see and come back…..and I love Jab We Met ….just like that!!

    Jab We Met is far better, but this one has SRK! :) – Nita.

  2. December 13, 2008 10:30 am

    Hey good to know that u liked it…me planning to watch it today :-)

    I like SRK, despite his contorted acting! :) – Nita.

  3. Vinod permalink
    December 13, 2008 11:21 am

    Thank you for the review.

    Thankfully, Taani finds this “flirting” offensive.

    Why would you take that so personally? :)

    Didn’t realise I was being personal! :) I guess my view is that the kind of “wooing” that is shown in many films is offensive to women. In real life such “wooing” is usually not liked by women. You know, the street romeo kind. That’s what I meant. – Nita.

  4. December 13, 2008 11:24 am

    Thanks for the review Nita, can’t wait to watch it myself :)

    you are welcome and hope you enjoy the movie! – Nita.

  5. December 13, 2008 11:38 am

    After reading your review, I am not too sure whether now I want to watch it or not.

    1. I am not a SRK fan
    2. I am not too fond of romantic comedies unless the humor is very good. Jab we met also was fine through the first half alone.

    That is usually what I like to do with my reviews. Allow space for readers to decide for themselves, either way. :) I like SRK though can’t say I am crazy about him! – Nita.

  6. December 13, 2008 11:51 am

    One reviewer at Rediff gave it 3.75/5 and the other, a 2/5. Indiatimes has given it 1.75/5 or something similar. I’ve been thinking about watching this, but all the “mild” reviews have me worried.

    It all depends on your own taste Ruhi. From the critics angle this movie isn’t worth much and even from the entertainment angle its not if you don’t like SRK. – Nita.

  7. December 13, 2008 11:56 am

    The review makes me feel heartbroken..I just read a similar review in timesofindia..I am a die hard fan of SRK and I expect great movies from him..Nevermind,I have lot of time in hand and will watch the movie even if its boring ;-)

    SRK does a decent job in this movie Nimmy, even if the movie is not that good from the critics point of view. I think if you like SRK you will like this movie. And you won’t be disappointed in him, because he is not the director. I am certainly disappointed in Aditya Chopra! – Nita.

  8. December 13, 2008 1:07 pm

    Hmm…I am going to watch it tomorrow! Let’s see how it works out for me. :)

    hope you like srk! :) – Nita.

  9. lallopallo permalink
    December 13, 2008 1:13 pm

    DDLJ was a movie which defined our generation and perhaps I can say Bollywood was it’s best with DDLJ. So, I was thinking that the guy (aditya chopra) who gave us that film cant go so wrong..I didnt read your full review because I dont want to go into the movie with any idea about the story..you wrote in the end that JWM was better than this one..well, I didnt really like JWM..so, Iam thinking..
    But, even if it’s not that good as you say, I will still watch it for SRK..he is cool..even the new girl looks beautiful..so let’s see..
    As for it’s reviews on internet(rediff, ibn etc), I dont care for them.. I dont take those irritating reviewers seriously in any case..
    I only take your reviews seriously :)

    Thanks lallopallo. yes in this review a bit of the story is given away, but not the end, not that there is any kind of suspense in this movie. In any case they get married right at the start, that is the absolute first scene! :) – Nita.

  10. December 13, 2008 1:35 pm

    nice..i am going to watch this one after my exams are over…a week to go..

    a week huh. well, this movie is sure to be around till then. could well be a hit, not that I can predict these things! – Nita.

  11. December 13, 2008 2:14 pm

    Dev:

    DDLJ had a believable story line, above everything else. SRK wasn’t OTT and Kajol is rather a good and versatile actress. The music was great (I still have it on my iPod – there I said it!) and the locales were lovely but did not appear contorted. Alas, this review suggests pretty much everything about _this_ film is.

    Directors should come with a stock price like warning – your talent can go up or down; past performance is not guarantee of future returns. :-)

    Nita:

    I get to watch few Hindi films, if any, and use that lack of access liberally as an excuse to watch very few anyway. However I am intrigued by the logic behind the names of modern day films. Most seem to be taken from songs of the 1970s, 1980s etc.

    This one, for instance, is from a song by Asha Bhonsle, Rafi and Shailendra Singh from the 1980s I think. I can hear the song in my head as I write which is how I remember Shailendra Singh sang it. Recently there were Khoya Khoya Chaand (another Rafi song), Laaga Chunari mein Daag (a Manna Dey song), Om Shanti Om (the hugely popular song from Karz), Bachna ae Haseenon (the song from Hum Kisi se Kam Nahin) etc.

    Hmm, these guys seem to be lost when it comes to titles and they take them from songs! And in this movie that bit about “rab de bana di jodi” is somehow dragged into the story. I didn’t even think it fitted. But I guess they had to justify the title and I guess it also added about half an hour to the movie! :) – Nita.

    Any light on this weird practice? Thanks.

  12. December 13, 2008 4:27 pm

    I was extremely disappointed by the music..and shocked at the no promotion strategy they seem to have adopted for this movie. Somehow the trailers never excited me to watch this one.

    music is nothing much unless you actually watch the prancing on the screen! These songs are more worth “seeing” rather than “hearing” ! :) – Nita.

  13. December 13, 2008 4:31 pm

    Shefali…how could you forget Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna..in fact even DDLJ was a song from before.

    somewhere I think the idea of title making sense was left long time back..I can’t think of any movie with a decent title from recent past…Personally I liked the title dasvidaniya..haven’t seen the movie though

  14. December 13, 2008 5:45 pm

    “Perhaps this explains why some young men pursue women relentlessly even when the women are not interested, in the hope that one day they will be.”

    I dont remember the quote exactly but it meant that the fun of love is in the pursuit, not in achieving it. Moreover I have observed many a men to lose interest once the object of pursuit agrees :)

    Nice review. I was planning to go for it today after exam but couldn’t. I dislike all the DDLJ and KKHH type mushy movies. Hope this isn’t that mushy with SRK’s typical overacting and shaking head.

    Reema, this is exactly like you described, a movie iwth “SRK’s typical overacting and shaking head.”!! Haha! And yeah this one is mushy mushy and mushy!! – Nita.

  15. December 13, 2008 8:30 pm

    and what is your rating ? :)
    probably, I will watch this movie on monday

    for srk fans? Its 5 stars! :D for non srk fans – 1 star! :) – Nita.

  16. December 13, 2008 8:55 pm

    Nita:

    Thanks. That extra half an hour explains much :-)

    Rambler:

    Yes, DDLJ was extracted from a song as well but it wasn’t the most popular way to name films then. I have not seen KANK and I think it came out a few years ago, so not top of mind recall. These were examples, not an exhaustive list :-)

    Now you say I can remember Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham as being from a song too (involving Tina Ambani nee Munim).

    That Dasvidaniya is wrongly spelt. The Russian word Dasvidanya means good-bye and there is an old Manna Dey song with that being the main theme of the song :-/

  17. gauri permalink
    December 14, 2008 12:16 am

    Nita – do you write reviews about the movies you (want to/happen to) watch, or do you watch movies – as a part of your profession, or otherwise – so you could write reviews?

    If it’s the latter: 1) how do you manage to sit through a crappy movie and 2) bring yourself to write a neutral review?

    Slapstick or overdone humor, for instance – not everyone subscribes to that idea of ‘funny’, but there still are a lot of takers. Or an utterly useless, pointless movie to some could be a light, fun movie to others. It’s not something objective like cinematography or special effects, where you can say “wonderfully done” and be right.

    I don’t know if my comment has much to do with this post in particular, but this is something I have been curious about.

    Granted, that a review is an opinion piece in itself, but it still must be difficult to keep the potential audience intrigued, and confirm their intuition about (not) wanting to watch the movie. See what I’m trying to say?

    -g

    • December 14, 2008 8:12 am

      Gauri, when I started out it was writing reviews for fun and there are a couple of people who have read my reviews and have asked me to write professionally for them. This was one movie I should have written professionally but for that I need to deliver the review on that day itself. Due to some other commitments I could not do it, and thus I lose out. :( Anyway I can always publish it on the blog and that gives me a lot of pleasure as well.
      About the mindless humour, I admit I enjoy these kind of movies too. For me if a movie is boring and drags, it loses out, even if it has all the high fundas like good cinematography etc. So I say what I feel, I say the movie is crap, its not entertaining. I have never tried to be neutral. Some may not agree, but that is fine. I am here to give my opinion and I do. Nor can I pretend to like a movie just because its “arty.” While a movie needs to be cinematically good and it also needs to be interesting. If it is both, its 5 stars for me, if only one of them, the movie cannot be more than three, and if neither entertaining and also badly directed, then the movie gets1-2 stars. In fact the kind of thing I detest in a movie is dishonesty, when a director inserts songs/dances just for the sake of it, when the story does not call for it. That was why I was very disappointed in Welcome to Sajjanpur, a movie that was very highly critically acclaimed. I felt the movie did not deserve it because it was not true to itself. Its like me putting things on the blog for pure sensationalism, not because I believe in it, or feel strongly about it.
      In other words, I enjoy seeing movies, I enjoy the mindless humour too, but not all of them. I simply go by whether I enjoy it or not. And I tell the truth, never to try and please somebody. But if I like a mindless comedy I am careful to say that hey this is a mindless comedy and you the reader may not like it even if I do. I liked it and these are my reasons. Or I hated it and these are my reasons.

  18. December 14, 2008 4:25 am

    Thanks for the review.

    This movie is playing in a couple of theatres in Newyork. Will try to watch it. I usually enjoy SRK movies :)

  19. Vinod permalink
    December 14, 2008 8:47 am

    Nita, I ought to have mentioned this before – your honesty is beautiful.

  20. December 14, 2008 6:30 pm

    lots of mixed reactions for this movie ..
    I have read bizzare reviews for thismvies..
    atleast this one wud make some one like me to watch the movie … :D

  21. gauri permalink
    December 14, 2008 10:24 pm

    Aha! Nicely said, straight from the heart. Thanks for taking the time to explain.

    I actually loved Sajjanpur – I didn’t know it was critically acclaimed or anything – just saw it in the Indian store, read the synopsis. I found it a blend of Ruskin Bond and Malgudi days, and both are very close to my heart. But yes, there are some arty for the sake of being (f)arty movies. Mindless humor too, Andaaz Apna Apna/Bheja Fry – good; Laxmikant Berde/Ashok Saraf combi – noisy and headachy.

    Honest reviews are the most appreciated – did I tell you, I would never have ventured to watch Dostana, but after I read your review, I went ahead and saw it with zero (if not minus 3) baseline expectation. And what do you know, I simply had a good time when I came out of the theater! You told it like it was, and I was not disappointed!! :) Thanks for that!

    Keep them coming…

    -g

  22. December 15, 2008 7:03 am

    Nita,

    I was throughly amazed with experiment Yash Raj did in this movie.
    Things which were more noticeable were:
    1. Over acting in terms of character of Raj.
    2. Yellow color usage.

    The movie seemed to be dry, and overall acting intense. It lacked punch lines.
    Only SRK and this some acting talent made people sit till last minute.

    • December 15, 2008 8:18 am

      amreekandesi, if you enjoy srk movies you will enjoy this one!

      Vinod, thanks. :)

      Arvind, :)

      Gauri, thanks. :)

      Sunny, yep, it was only SRK otherwise it would have been difficult to sit through it. The character of Raj was ridiculous!

  23. December 15, 2008 11:25 am

    Saw this movie yesterday and found it okayish!!

  24. December 15, 2008 11:32 am

    Just read Amit’s review too. I think you’re right when you say it doesn’t match up to ddlj… I haven’t made the mistake of watching this yet, and I don’t think I will! :)

  25. December 15, 2008 9:56 pm

    Cool Review. I will try to catch up with this movie sometimes. Plot sounds interesting.

  26. December 29, 2008 11:54 am

    Nice review. I liked the movie. Though the story is unbelievable, the Director has made it look quite believable. After all fairy tales are also unbelievable aren’t they?

  27. January 12, 2009 6:25 pm

    There were so many things I wanted to comment on as I read through all of this, from the original post, to many of the comments, but I suppose it’s kind-of irrelevant now. [ 1 month in film world is practically an age, old hat, dead duck, history :-P ].

    What I will say is, considering this is my first read of your work, is that I like your writing style. You’ve covered here that you enjoyed it, despite its flaws, spelling them out in a manner such that readers can pick away at whether they ‘could’ forgive the flaws or not.

    I always find rating difficult, I do tweet an out of 5 score, but as you said below it’s quite a varied thing depending on factors:
    “for srk fans? Its 5 stars! :D for non srk fans – 1 star!”

    on my blog, I kinda took the cop-out option of traffic lights. if unsure, there’s always ‘amber’ to fall on. it works for filtering out the must-watch greens & no-go reds but i’m still keeping an eye open for a better rating system.

    okay I seem to have sidelined ..
    back on track ..

    i might add, i don’t agree with your scores.. i’d say 3.5 if you can forgive the plot flaws & take it for what it intends to be {fluff and fantasy}, 4.0 for those that fit the above & are SRK fans, though that’s most SRK fans I think (certainly including myself)

    anyway ..
    nice to be here .. consider me subscribed :)

    Ramjaane, thanks and welcome here. And where movies are concerned, I try hard to give both the pros and cons but also state whether I enjoyed it or not! That is my own personal style of writing movie reviews. As for having a different rating for the movie, ofcourse! Each individual will have his/her own scores. – Nita

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