Movie - What's Your Raashee? (Hindi)
Director - Ashutosh Gowariker
Producers - Ashutosh Gowariker, Ronnie Screwvala
Cast - Harman Baweja, 12 Priyanka Chopras, Darshan Jariwala, Anjan Srivastav, Rajesh Vivek and others.
Music - Sohail Sen
Cinematography - Piyush Shah
Editing - Ballu Saluja
Lyrics - Javed Akhtar
Story - Inspired from Madhu Rye's novel, 'Kimball Ravenswood'
Screenplay - Ashutosh Gowariker, Naushil Mehta
Dialogues - Naushil Mehta
Release Date - 25th September 2009
You can be happy when you see good movies. You can have a disgusted feel after seeing bad movies. But when you see a great concept made into a bad movie, you feel sorry. That is exactly how I felt after watching Ashutosh Gowariker's excruciatingly long What's Your Raashee. And to add to that, a lead actor who does not know anything about acting. But the one factor which made me sit through the whole movie was the leading lady, Priyanka Chopra. She was the only good thing about this badly made movie.
The movie has a very interesting plot. Yogesh Patel(Harman Baweja) has just finished his MBA in Chicago and has a fun life there. He is suddenly called back home by his family and only when he reaches there, he learns that he's been called to get himself married off. Apparently, if he marries, his grandfather would bestow all his properties upon him, which can be used to clear his elder brother's humongous debts. So after a lot of emotional blackmail, Yogesh agrees to get married within 10 days. And after reading an interesting book on astrology called What's Your Raashee, he decides that he will see one girl from each sun-sign, and get married to the one he likes the most among them. He starts meeting the girls one by one, and he soon realizes that all the girl whom he comes across, look the same. (His granddad gives him some silly logic about this, which I didnt really get).
Now, this plot sounds great on the surface level, but the way it is executed, makes you cringe most of the time. The worst part of the movie is that the director is confused to treat it as a social satire or fantasy or a comedy or a musical. He messes the whole thing up and the end result is disastrous. The nail on the coffin is the usage of songs for each of the 12 different sun-signs. So that makes it 12 songs and 2 extra songs for the hero also. So the songs themselves make up for more than one hour of the running time. Seriously, how did Mr.Gowariker expect people to sit through this?? If this movie had Rahman (who usually does music for all of Gowariker's movies), people would have still sat through this movie just because of Rahman's songs. But unfortunately, this film has music by newcomer Sohail Sen and all he gives is a bunch of mediocre songs. The only saving grace about the music is the good work by Javed Akhtar on the lyrics of the film. The sub-plots regarding the marriage broker's illicit affair and the goondas chasing Yogesh's brother are all terrible. They are brought for comic relief, but you feel like crying, when you see those scenes. This is Ashutosh's first city based subject in a long time, completely different from the epic-scale movies like Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar or the sensitive Swades. He had gained immense respect and a great stature through these three films and all his fans would certainly be disappointed by such a film coming from him. I heard that he's going back to his period film style with his next featuring Abhishek Bachchan. Hope that one brings him back on track. (I hope Rahman gets back with him in that project).
I didnt have the courage to go watch this 3.5 hour long film in the theatre, thats why I have put up a review so late, after watching it on DVD. (It took me 2 days to watch because I would sleep off quite often during the movie). Nobody minded the length of Lagaan, Swades or Jodhaa Akbar, because they were all good films and kept the interest of the viewer throughout. But the viewer loses his interest on this messed up movie from the second boy-girl meeting itself. And a ridiculous climax which does no justice to all the build-up will just make you hate the movie even more.
Harman Baweja as the NRI gujju ladka Yogesh Patel, tries hard to act well, but he just cannot do that. In fact, you can notice pretty clearly that he is trying to act, at many instances. I havent seen his other two superflops, Love Story 2050 and Victory. And above all this, his striking resemblance to Hrithik Roshan in both looks and voice, makes him look just like a cheap duplicate of Hrithik. I so badly wish that Hrithik had done this role instead of him. It would have been so much better then. I saw many positive comments about his acting in many of the reviews about this movie, but I didnt like him one bit. He was trying too much, when all he had to do was to stay simplistic.
The only reason why I sat through this whole movie is Priyanka Chopra. She took up an impossible task of portraying 12 distinct character, even beating the legend Kamal Haasan's record which he created through a lot of make-up and computer graphics in Dasavathaaram. In this movie, each of the 12 girls are made distinct by Priyanka's wonderful acting. She didnt have to rely on make up too much to make her characters unique and distinct. She just played them exceptionally well and created a difference. But her amazing performance is let down by a shoddy script. The characteristic of each sun-sign is not fleshed out effectively. I think Ashutosh focussed on them more in the songs (which were obviously fast-forwarded). Out of the 12, her portrayal of the girls from Aries, Scorpio, Gemini, Virgo and Capricorn stand out. The others are either poorly written or are diluted with stupid songs.
From the rest of the cast, Darshan Jariwala and Anjan Shrivastav are decent. Rajesh Vivek and the whole lot of others tests your patience with their hamming.
Music is mediocre to say the least. Some songs like, 'Jaao Na', 'Sau Janam' and 'Su Che' are good to listen to, but do not fit into the movie at all. In fact, none of the songs fit into the movie. I have said this earlier, if the movie didnt have any song, it would have been a much better movie. There is nothing special about the picturisation of the songs as well. We are used to such great songs in Ashutosh's movies from the team of AR Rahman and Javed Akhtar, and this one comes across as a disaster compared to them. Ashutosh should stick with Rahman. They both complement each other wonderfully. And the fact that Rahman hardly makes bad music, would also help the movie a lot. There is nothing much to talk about the cinematography and art direction - very mediocre compared to Ashutosh's other films. I think the editor went to sleep watching the film. At least he could have made this film an interesting watch through some smart editing, which unfortunately, didnt happen.
The movie has good intentions, a great idea and a wonderful performance(s) from the leading lady. But the director and screenwriter could not make use of all these and give us a confused, 3.5 hour long mish-mash. Though it wasnt as bad as I thought it would be, the dumb climax ruined it all. It looked as if the writers didnt know how to end the story, which was already going nowhere. It is not surprising that the movie turned out to be a damp squib at the box office. If there's anything watchable about this movie, it is Priyanka Chopra. All the other aspects of this movie are totally disappointing. I have 3 requests to Mr. Ashutosh Gowariker - 1. Please do not make movies without AR Rahman
2. Please do not take people like Harman Baweja as heroes.
3. Please try to decrease the length of your movies. It is high time.
Rating - 2/5