Raanjhanaa – 2013 Review

BY RUBY CHINGU

The time has come. I am about to review the best Bollywood film of 2013, Raanjhanaa.

Palah Chingu will be so annoyed at this.

Haha.

Rating – 9/10

Director: Anand L. Rai

Writer: Himanshu Sharma

Starring: Dhanush as Kundan and Sonam Kapoor as Zoya

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This is going to be a very storyline-centred review so let’s be done with all the basic stuffs – the acting’s great, the directing is great, the cinematography is  super great. And VARANASI, there is no city more beautiful than that one! Beautiful portrayal of the holy place. *praying hard so that I can reach there one day* And the soundtrack by A.R. Rahman – like you need a review for his genius!!!

THE STORY

Raanjhanaa tells the story of a lover boy, Kundan, who had been madly in love with Zoya, his beloved. Zoya, however, did not love him. No matter how much he tried to make her fall in love with him, his efforts failed in vain. But then, this is not a story of romance. Though the title Ranjhanaa literally means ‘Beloved’, the story is far from romance. Instead, I was feasted with a tale of selfless devotion, blinded foolishness, anger, sadness, frustration, rejection, revenge and the fatal consequence of holding on too much onto one’s one-sided love.

It’s a motherfucking sad story.

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Our Kundan here was a nice sweet boy who lived in the beautiful holy town of Varanasi, the centre of Hindu culturalism. An outgoing son of a temple priest, he fell in love with Zoya, a Muslim girl from a middle-class albeit conservative family. They had a loveline when they were teenagers which was cut short by Zoya’s parents who sent her out of town for her to stop contacting Kundan ever again.

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Eight years passed and Kundan’s love for Zoya remained constant, perhaps stronger. Upon Zoya’s return to town, he was a little frustrated to learn that Zoya had forgotten about their little fling during their schooldays and could barely recognize him. Nevertheless, he did not give up and pursued her. always there to serve her family as a helper boy. He finally had the shock of his life when Zoya confessed that she had a boy she loved in college, who was coming to Varanasi to meet with her family and marry her.

Fearing that her father would not approve of her choice, she begged Kundan to help her convince her father.

Being a foolish infatuated lover-boy that he was, Kundan agreed. *Fuck you, bastard, how can you be so stupid?*

However, during the day of the wedding, Kundan dropped the bombshell to Zoya’s father of a fact that he just found out – Zoya’s soon-to-be husband was actually a Hindu. Kundan, being a Hindu himself, was rejected by Zoya mainly because of religious reasons, or so Zoya claimed. To see Zoya getting married to another Hindu guy and not him was a betrayal to his love. Zoya’s family beat the hell out of Zoya’s future husband and he subsequently died.

Zoya, who could not forgive Kundan, left town again and participated in student politics. Kundan, guilt-ridden by his deeds, travelled all over India to atone for his sins. For then, he realized the price of his failure to let Zoya go and embrace the fact that she did not love him.

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But man….. who can blame him? He was stupid, in a way, but his capability to love a girl for almost ten years, unflinching, with the utmost devotion is amazing. And the film is centred around that – Kundan’s love for Zoya. It is not actually about the love story between them, because there was NONE.

Even until the end of the movie.

I did not see that coming.

Kundan did look for Zoya again to obtain her forgiveness for indirectly causing the death of her lover. Conflicts arose, as the old cheerful funky Zoya died with her fiance. The Zoya now was a cold stern young politician who tried to continue the legacy of her dead future husband.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE FILM AND BECAME SO OBSESSED WITH IT?

The motherfucking unique and refreshing story. Himanshu Sharma, the writer, is also the writer of another quite refreshing film, When Tanu Weds Manu. Still, that was a romantic comedy and the ending was quite predictable. With Raanjhanaa, he took his writing to another level altogether. I watched the film once and did not quite get it. I watched the film twice and perhaps got it a little bit. It took me more than three times to actually grasp the story and find the answer to the question – “who the fuck is Raanjhanaa in this film?”

It was Kundan.

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He is, as of current, my favourite character out of all Bollywood heroes. He was not typical. He was not masculine, dark, brooding, strong, tormented etc etc. He was a normal boy from Varanasi, a kind hearted boy, a little bit mischievous. The only dramatic thing he had ever going on with his life was his love to Zoya. That intense, destructive, death-inviting love.

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Zoya, for me, was Kundan’s kryptonite. She was, whether you like it or not, the cause of his downfall. His life went downhill mainly because of his foolishness BUT Zoya’s disregard for him had a lot to do with it. Kundan could not handle it. He loved her too much – a fact that begged the question “WHY?!”

Because she’s pretty? She’s cute? I have no idea. Kundan fell in love with her at the first sight when he was a kid and that was it. At the same time, it seemed that Zoya was his happiness and by the second half of the film, became his only purpose in life.

The love brought darkness into his world. He was disowned by his family and left town. Like the blind Zoya who was ignorant towards his love, Kundan was also too blinded by his love for Zoya to notice the love and devotion of his childhood friend, Bindi. Love triggers such a crazy triangle and this film portrays the realistic cruel depiction of how love actually occurs in real life.

You love someone but that someone most probably won’t love you back. Not even when the story’s finished.

How do you cope with that?

Kundan coped it by sacrificing himself for the woman he loved. It was stupid in a rational sense, but for Kundan, he did not care. It was his choice of life. But I could not help but to feel angry for him as I watched the film. “Look around you, dude!” I shouted at my laptop, “you can be anything you want! Why confine your life into pursuing the love of a girl?! She fucking rejected you! Move the fuck on!!!!”

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But Kundan won’t. Because he was a Raanjhanaa.

Now, somebody tell me how can one not fall in love with this stupid bastard?

Awwww… (Palah is so going to puke with my statement.)

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