Movie - Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (Hindi)
Director - Rajkumar Santoshi
Producer - Ramesh S Taurani
Cast - Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Upen Patel, Darshan Jariwala, Zakir Hussain, Smita Jaykar, Govind Namdeo, Vijoo Khote.
Music - Pritam
Cinematography - Thirru
Editor - Steven H Bernard
Story, Screenplay, Dialogues - Rajkumar Santoshi, RD Tailang
Background Score - Salim/Sulaiman
Release Date - 6th November 2009
Rajkumar Santoshi is one of the best filmmakers we have in the industry. He has made some of the most hard hitting movies in Hindi Cinema like Damini, Ghayal, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Lajja and Khakee. Then he went on to make a terrible film called Family and a mediocre Halla Bol and went into hibernation after that. But he is remembered and loved the most for one other movie that he has made, which is called Andaz Apna Apna, totally different from his usual style. Probably Hindi Cinema's best comedy, that movie has attained cult status and loyal fans still laugh their guts off when they see that movie starring two of our biggest superstars, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, during each one of the innumerable TV re-runs of the movie. Each and every character of that 1994 comedy is still fresh in everyone's mind. So when the news of Rajkumar Santoshi returning to comedy came out, I was super-excited, being a huge fan of Andaz Apna Apna myself. And the great promos of the film increased my expectations. The movie has a fresh new pairing of Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, who look extremely good together. And having seen Ranbir Kapoor display his enormous potential in Wake Up Sid!, I was looking forward to see a great performance from him also.
Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is set in a comic-book world. It is completely illogical, it has non-stop gags which are silly and hilarious at the same time and it has absolutely no pretentions of being realistic. The town in the movie is a beautifully constructed set and Santoshi makes it pretty obvious to the audience that it is a set, purposely. The character names are taken from various other comedies, and the movie reminds you of the wonderful Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa at times too. Santoshi does not forget to give subtle tributes to his own Andaz Apna Apna at certain points, especially in a scene where Ranbir almost says the dialogue, 'Aap purush hi nahin, Mahapurush ho!'. I seriously wanted him to say that there, but he didnt. :( The lovely song 'Ello Ello' plays out from a radio in one scene. And ya, the goofy sidekick Robert is back too. The location is mainly in Ootty, again the primary location in AAA. The story is not something which you've never heard before. But the gags keep coming non-stop and it is the combined talent of Ranbir and Mr.Santoshi which makes those silly gags work big time.
The story is about Prem (Ranbir Kapoor), a jobless 9th fail fellow, who is the President of a club called Happy Club, whose primary agenda, is.. well, to keep everyone happy!! During one of the missions for Happy Club, Prem meets Jenny (Katrina Kaif), a beautiful girl whom he immediately falls for. Then we have the usual love story, which later develops into a triangle when Rahul (Upen Patel) comes into the picture. But the ghisa-peeta story is made interesting by the gags that keep coming non-stop. Even the melodrama is purposely made to be over the top to suit the comic book style narrative.
The film works majorly because of Ranbir Kapoor. He is surely the Superstar among the new generation actors. This is only his 4th film, and if he has already shown so much spark, he is certain to go places in the future. If it was any lesser actor, the film would have fallen flat, but Ranbir makes even the silliest of gags work, with his goofy charm and amazing acting skills. Be it comic scenes, romantic scenes, melodramatic scenes, or even complete slapstick sequences, Ranbir glides through all these effortlessly, making all those scenes really worth your money spent. He has unbelievable energy and Santoshi utilizes that almost perfectly to make him a very memorable Prem. Ranbir also has both the boyish charm and mischief of Aamir's Amar and the silly goofiness of Salman's Prem from Andaz Apna Apna, rolled into one. It is a delight to watch him in this movie. It is also interesting to note that he comes in various get-ups in many comic scenes in the movie. He makes so many scenes interesting by his acting alone, even when the script lets him down. This guy is really talented!!
Katrina Kaif surprised me with her acting for the first time, in New York. She had the reputation of being the amazingly beautiful and sexy, but terrible actress, who is unbelievably lucky as well. (All her movies other than Yuvvraaj have been superhits, or at least hits). But she was always considered a bad actress in spite of her string of hits. With New York and Namastey London, she surprised everyone with competent performances. In this movie too, she plays Jenny almost perfectly as per the requirement of the character. She is beautiful, vulnerable, cute, emotional, childish, sexy, dumb and clever, all at the same time. She has dubbed her own voice and has done quite well in the scenes where she is required to emote. She is quite okay in the comic scenes too, and we can finally get to see some natural expressions on her face in those scenes. And man, she is super hot in that club song!! Sigh!! She shares electrifying chemistry with Ranbir and they make an irresistible pair, especially in the song sequences and romantic scenes. Together, they derive new meanings to the expression, 'on-screen chemistry'.
I think Rajkumar Santoshi chose Upen Patel for the role of Rahul because he needed somebody who could be a total loser. Upen's horrible acting is used very well by Santoshi to make the audience hate him completely. How does that guy get roles in movies even now? Drashan Jariwala as Prem's father is wonderful. His interactions with Ranbir are genuinely funny. Smita Jaykar plays the mother's role well, and has her own comic moments to shine in the second half. Govind Namdeo is okay. The usually scary villain Zakir Hussain plays Sajid Don, a total comic villain, very much like Mogambo's nephew Crime Master Gogo from AAA. (I really missed Gogo in the climax fight scene!!) He is funny though he is nowhere near the brilliance of Shakti Kapoor as Gogo. Vijoo Khote comes back as Robert, but has very little screen time. I am very tempted to write about the Superstar special appearance in the movie, but I am not depriving you people of the suspense.
If it was any other director, this movie would have been shamelessly lame. But since Rajkumar Santoshi creates the comic book environment perfectly, we enjoy the lamest of jokes and the silliest of gags. Just because he gives it the right treatment. This film certainly gives hope to the fans of AAA, because now we know that Santoshi hasnt lost his flair for comedy. We are still waiting for Aamir and Salman to get back together in a sequel for that movie. Ajab Prem.. is a neat romantic comedy without any vulgar or below the belt jokes, so common in the numerous comedies that keep coming out in Hindi. There are some truly brilliant scenes like the one where Prem talks to Jesus in a church, a la Shah Rukh Khan or the whole slapstick sequence at the dance party and many more. The movie could have been a little more shorter in the second half. The slapstick fight at the villain's den towards the end was certainly done to please the AAA fans, but it came nowhere near that one, even though it was funny.
Pritam has given a chartbuster soundtrack and the songs are already huge hits. They are shot very colourfully too, with some great work by cinematography Thirru, especially the 'Tu Jaane Na' song. Editing is perfect in the first half. Second half could have been trimmed a little more.
On the whole, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani is a great entertainer which takes us back to the cinema of the 90s. For people who do not like to go back, and those who havent enjoyed movies like Andaz Apna Apna, this one wouldnt be enjoyable. And others, go have your share of fun!! Its great to have Mr.Santoshi back with a bang!! The movie has been promoted well and has generated a great buzz as well. And with such an entertaining content, it is sure to become at least a hit. Watch it for Ranbir, the next superstar, a new Katrina and of course, Mr.Santoshi's return to comedy.
This movie has tempted me to watch Andaz Apna Apna again. Where's my DVD? ;)
Rating - 4/5