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Friday, August 15, 2008

movie review Bachna Ae Haseeno

Sorry to disappoint all the young girls, but unfortunately Ranbir doesn't drop the towel in this one but to make it up to you, he looks super hot throughout the film, appearing shirtless in a few scenes. Bachna Ae Haseeno may have flaws as a film, yet it succeeds in entertaining and does so many things right, that you are willing to overlook the mistakes. The best part about the film is that in spite of being slightly over two hours twenty minutes, the film's pace is very crisp and you in fact may walk out of the theatre planning to see the film again. As a director, Siddharth Anand has got this one right because his intention was clearly to entertain and he does that extremely well (without a single double meaning joke, vulgarity or over the top melodrama) while extracting great performances from each of the key four characters.

The fact that the film races ahead is a plus and a minus; a plus because from the time the opening credits roll in the title track music video to the end credits there is constantly something happening and the proceedings are quick, but a minus because things do get left a bit unexplained and at times resolutions and reactions happen because they are supposed to happen and not at a point where they are completely convincing. But yet, somewhere this doesn't bother you once you realize that Bachna Ae Haseeno is just a fun romantic comedy and is not meant to be path breaking cinema and hence you realize that these flaws do not hinder your viewing of the film because they never make the film less enjoyable.

In a nutshell, there are three women who Raj interacts with at various stages in his life; Mahi when he is eighteen, Radhika when he is in his mid 20's and finally Gayatri when he hits his early thirties. He initially breaks Mahi and Radika's hearts and it is only when he finally wants to commit to a woman, that he himself experiences his first heartbreak. It is then that he realizes that even if he never gets the love of his life back, he wants to go back and find the women he has hurt apologize to them and convince them that he was the one at fault and not them.

The film begins with Raj's short but cute love story with Mahi (Minissha Lamba). We are taken back to Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge with the very optimistic Mahi who believes luck follows her wherever she goes. This is the one story where things seem to happen very quickly, as she falls in love with Raj and endures heartbreak at his hands in the course of only one day. But then again, at that age, where a girl like Mahi is searching for her DDLJ Raj, Siddharth succeeds in not making you doubt her love too much. Minissha Lamba literally glows on screen as the young, cute, bubbly Mahi and she is completely believable as an eighteen year old. Ranbir and Minissha look so cute together as teenagers that they easily make this track work. What's even more surprising is that when we see Minissha again in the second half of the film, she is just as believable as a married woman with two kids. There is a huge difference between the young Mahi who falls in love with Raj and the Mahi we meet later who seems to have shut the doors of her heart post her experience with Raj and has somewhere become cold and hard. Minissha handles this with utmost maturity ensuring that while making the character cold, she retains the fact that Mahi has become this way only because of her hurt and that hurt is always there in her eyes. When you watch her on screen you find yourself amazed at how much she has matured as an actor and along with strong screen presence, she shares great chemistry with Ranbir Kapoor. Along with Deepika and Sonam, Minissha Lamba is the one actress from the young brigade who is definitely headed for superstardom.

Radhika is Raj's live in girlfriend and he is thrilled at this arrangement, that is until his transfer to Australia is announced and Radhika proposes they get married and go to Australia together. This track has a several funny moments making you wish Bipasha Basu would try her hand at comedy more often as she is so good at it. Her track is quite fun to watch and at no point in time do you feel she looks older than Ranbir. Her switch to the cold hearted super star Shreya in the second half is just as convincing and fun to watch, especially when she makes Raj truly earn her forgiveness. Here Siddharth has subtly shown that because Raj and Mahi's story was a bit more innocent and whatever Raj did was a more innocent mistake, Mahi is able to forgive him more easily. But leaving Radhika at the altar after a one and a half year live in relationship has scorned her deep and hence her forgiveness does not come easy. Bipasha is extremely likable and of course looks stunning but it's the way she has performed with such ease that truly deserves credit.

Raj meets Gayatri (Deepika Padukone) in Australia and he can't get over the fact that there are female taxi drivers there. She is someone who lives life on her own terms, drives a taxi and works as a cashier at a grocery store to fund her MBA education. This track too, is filled with several funny moments and Deepika has improved tremendously from her debut in Om Shanti Om and of course, this time her voice not being dubbed, adds to her performance. As usual she looks stunning on screen and her chemistry with Ranbir is undoubtedly superb but that chemistry is strong in the comic and fun scenes as well, and not just the romantic ones. She is quite likeable as the carefree Gayatri and when she smiles or laughs on screen, you instinctively find yourself smiling too; such is the power of her dimpled smiled.

It would be wrong to call Ranbir Kapoor's Raj a Casanova in the true sense as right from his "first love" Mahi, you get the feeling that his intention is never to hurt any woman, and yet without realizing it, his actions scar them for life, or at least until he reappears in their life to apologize. Ranbir Kapoor is the perfect choice for the character because even while breaking hearts, he exudes a certain innocent vulnerability making this character all the more loveable. He lights up the screen like magic, his comic timing is great and he is just a pleasure to watch on screen. In fact the film is out and out a Ranbir Kapoor film and he laps up the opportunity, not letting the audience down in a single scene. Also, he is as believable as an eighteen year old as he is as a thirty year old which is also noteworthy for an actor in only his second film. Heroes beware, Ranbir truly is set to take on the industry and this young lad is set to rule hearts and the box office for years to come.

The film is not saddled with too many supporting characters but Hiten Paintlal is great fun to watch as Raj's friend and Kunal Kapoor in a special appearance as Mahi's husband also does a fine job.

The cinematography (Sunil Patel) is breathtaking as you are exposed to various locales of Switzerland, Italy and Australia. The music has been steadily climbing the charts and the songs are smartly placed in the film so that even when two songs do happen almost within five minutes of each other, it is justified and doesn't bore the audience. The editing is crisp, the dialogues fresh and overall Bachna Ae Haseeno is like a breath of fresh air which the audiences will thoroughly enjoy.

Watch Bachna Ae Haseeno because it is what entertaining cinema should be; watch it for great performances from the young brigade and watch it knowing you will want to come back to the theatre to watch it again.

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