Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma
Director: Aditya Chopra
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi directed by Aditya Chopra, is a film that hangs from a threadbare premise that is hard to swallow.
Shah Rukh Khan plays Surinder Sahni, a working-class simpleton from Amritsar who goes in for an image makeover, and poses as a cooler, trendier fellow so he can woo his young, distracted wife Taani (played by newcomer Anushka Sharma). Picked to be partners in a local dance contest, the lady and her husband-in-disguise, Raj, become fast friends, until she finds herself falling for him.
To be honest, even if you are willing to buy into that bizarre premise - that Taani fails to recognize her own husband because he's shaved his moustache, lost the spectacles and picked a funky hairstyle - Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is still an exhausting watch because it's such a predictable story, because it recycles the same old clichés, and because the characters are so poorly developed.
It's difficult to get your head around Taani, easily the film's most confusing character, who takes the drastic step of marrying a man she doesn't love on the urging of her deathbed-bound father, when her fiancé is killed in a road accident. Never once does she remember or refer to either her fiancé or her father in the film. She's progressive enough to think it's cool to be having gol-gappa eating matches with a male friend, but conveniently forgets to tell him she's married.
Going back to the oldest trick in the book to solve all his screenplay problems, director Aditya Chopra drags in Rab, or God to solve the film's decidedly uncomfortable conflict of whether Taani should run away with her lover, who's actually her husband-in-disguise; or whether she should stay with her husband? You see, the message this film delivers repeatedly is that you know it's real love when you see Rab or God in another human being.
Rab, in fact, comes quite handy here and is referred to every few minutes by someone or the other, and very often in long, boring monologues that characters deliver aloud to themselves.
When it's not peddling God and its theories on love, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is really an antiquated love story that is regressive, chauvinistic and plain stupid in parts. Which is sad if you think about it, because stripped down to its basics there is clearly a sensitive idea there - about facing one's insecurities, and about coming to terms with the fact that it's okay to be yourself.
The emotional core of the film is the Surinder character whom Shah Rukh Khan plays with such genuine affection, you miss him dearly when the focus shifts to the loud buffoonery of Raj. Amidst all those silly gimmicks of a sumo-wrestling match and an Om Shanti Om-inspired item song with Bollywood's top heroines, the moments that stay with you are the ones involving Suri. It's to Shah Rukh Khan's credit that Suri stands out in such a messy film.
Newcomer Anushka Sharma appears confident, and is well cast as the spirited Taani, but saddled with an inconsistent character she fails to leave a lasting impression. The same, thankfully can't be said for Vinay Pathak, who's absolutely delightful as Suri's faithful friend Bobby.
Aditya Chopra's return to direction after eight years is marked by a flawed script, which in turn spawns a disappointing film. Where's the smart dialogue and the spirited characters that defined his debut film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? There's no trace of either in this film.
The problem then, at the root of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, is that much like those artificial sets in the film, the emotions too are contrived.
I'm going with 2 out of 5 and at best an average rating for director Aditya Chopra's Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. If you must, watch it for Suri; he's the only honest thing about this film.
Rating: 2 / 5 (Average)