There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Showtime: Not so ajab prem ki ghisi piti kahani

By Abhishek Chatterjee

I always had a minor gripe with almost all of Rajkumar Santoshi's films. He could never do songs right. Less noble directors than Santoshi, arguably the pioneer of the Bollywood 'item' song, did songs much better. With the possible exceptions of Damini, China Gate and Andaz Apna Apna, Santoshi's treatment of the mood, placement and quality of his soundtrack on film was mostly mediocre, haphazard and random. With APKGK, he gets this bit of the piece mostly right. The effort is not visible with the rest of the film, sadly. He tries his hand at a pure comedy after a rather long hiatus after 1994's cult favorite, Andaz Apna Apna and the final product is sadly middling at best.
Prem (Ranbir Kapoor) is a well meaning no-hoper, scourge of the rather picturesque town he lives in and thorn in his father's life, who hopes the boy will make something of himself one day. One fine day, Jenny (Katrina Kaif) walks into his life and our hero is smitten. What follows is a cute-ish love story and some funny comic set pieces. But Jenny is in love with Rahul (Upen Patel), who's father doesn't want the Hindu Rahul to get anywhere close to Christian Jenny due to political compulsions. But our hero, much like Ajay Devgan's brooding Vanraj from 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam', gallantly decides to sacrifice his own feelings to make sure Jenny and Rahul can be together, with Jenny finally coming around to Prem's affections in the end. So you get it. Nothing original in there. It was always going to be about the treatment. And Santoshi appears a bit out of water and fails to create anything more than old wine in a, well sadly, old bottle. You are rarely interested in Prem's life and Jenny's many sufferings appear trivial and contrived, much like the copious amounts of glycerine-tears she sheds. Neither is mood for this intended comedy particularly even, oscillating between comic book caper and serious love story. The bright spot in the piece seems to be the music, Pritam's light and peppy score assuring repeat value.
The film's lead pair carry on as best they can, with Kapoor earnestly trying to make something of his bumbling nice-guy character and Kaif, well, just being herself again, anglicized, wooden and incapable of more than 3 expressions. The rest of the cast are insignificant and mere caricatures, with the exception of Prem's parents Darshan Jariwala and Smita Jaykar, who do well in the scope they get. And as for Upen Patel, he really should have given up 'acting' and returned to England a long time ago.
In the end, a forgettable film, but for a few genuinely funny gags. See it if you must.

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