Till a few years ago, if a director approached a producer with a script that had just two characters from Scene A to Z, the producer would scoff at him and show him the door. After all, devoting an entire film on merely two characters is nothing short of a risk. That's not all, for the two characters aren't friends, acquaintances or lovers. They are strangers who meet accidentally on a bridge, since both have decided to commit suicide. If that's how your film begins, it's akin to taking another [giant] risk by Bollywood standards.
Okay, okay, before I begin dissecting ANJAANA ANJAANI, I need to clear a few misconceptions pertaining to this film. It's not a copy or adaptation or remake of Patrice Leconte's 1999 French film LA FILLE SUR LE PONT/GIRL ON THE BRIDGE, which starred Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis. The Twitterverse is also crammed with tweets speculating that ANJAANA ANJAANI bears a striking resemblance to the Telugu film ITLU SRAVANI SUBRAMANYAM . The only similarity between these three films is that two strangers meet on a bridge to commit suicide, that's it! ANJAANA ANJAANI is as diverse from these films as mangoes, apples and peaches. Now let's move ahead...
With ANJAANA ANJAANI, director Siddharth Anand accepts a big challenge. This one's a love story, but it doesn't follow the beaten path. It doesn't follow the rules laid out by the romantics in Bollywood. And that's where its strength lies. Generally, couples in love commit to die for each other, but in this film, romance blossoms much, much after the two meet at the bridge for the first time, when they are about to commit suicide. From strangers to lovers to strangers again is how the film explores the relationship between this couple.
ANJAANA ANJAANI works for two major reasons. The first being the powerhouse performances by its lead pair. Having watched their careers from the very onset, I would like to state that the two actors deliver career-best performances in ANJAANA ANJAANI. The second reason why ANJAANA ANJAANI works is due to the terrific moments in its second hour.
Final word? ANJAANA ANJAANI is worth a watch. If you are a romantic, or even if you are not, ANJAANA ANJAANI is a must-see for its interpretation of modern-day romance. Recommended!
ANJAANA ANJAANI is the story of Kiara [Priyanka Chopra], based in San Francisco, while Akash [Ranbir Kapoor] is a New York City boy. Akash has had a failed business, while Kiara has had a failed relationship. Fed up, they both decide to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. However, both land up on the same bridge at the same time.
One thing leads to another and Akash and Kiara decide to end their lives on 31st December. With 20 days to go, they decide to fulfill their unfinished wishes and thus begins their journey.
Director Siddharth Anand has a fine sense of story and how to present his characters well. ANJAANA ANJAANI is no different. Of course, you don't take to the film instantly, primarily because it's not the usual prem kahani. In fact, there's hardly any movement in the story in the first hour. It's a collage of some wonderful, some okay moments, frankly. The sequence at the bridge and the various attempts at committing suicide stay with you and so does the sequence in the sea, when they go sailing and decide to swim. Also, the first hour unwinds at a leisurely pace and that's bothersome.
However, story writer Mamta Anand and screenplay writers Advaita Kala and Siddharth Anand reserve the best for the post-interval portions, when the story moves from New York to Las Vegas to San Francisco. The road trip and the varied experiences and emotions they share make it a compelling watch. Of course, the story tends to get a bit predictable towards the end, but come on, don't we like our love stories to have happy endings?
Siddharth Anand has handled the subject with flourish. Besides, the film is not merely rich in substance, but is equally alluring when it comes to style and overall look. The DoP [Ravi K. Chandran] plays a major role here. The film bears a magnificent look all through and the panoramic and exotic locales of America only make every frame stand out. The costumes - Mamta Anand for Ranbir and Manish Malhotra for Priyanka - are trendy.
Vishal-Shekhar's music has a lot of heart. Again, it won't be wrong to state that their compositions take the movie forward. The background score [Salim-Sulaiman] is top notch. In fact, the rich score compliments the mood of the characters beautifully. Dialogues are wonderful.
When two of the film industry's finest actors meet, it puts more pressure on the film. Ranbir is an actor with an infinite range and his dedication to his work is evident in every film. I have often stated that he is the finest actor of his generation and the fact comes alive yet again as you watch him donning a new character in ANJAANA ANJAANI. Priyanka sinks into the role beautifully, so much so that she forgets herself and starts becoming Kiara. When an actor kills his or her eminence and surrenders completely to the role is when the film really takes off. Priyanka has this unique quality. Zayed Khan is likable in a cameo. Tanvi Azmi is wonderful.
On the whole, ANJAANA ANJAANI is an unpretentious romantic saga that revels in the exuberance of newly found love. The film has everything going for it: top notch performances by two super-stars, good music, a sensitive director with a good track record, a simple yet absorbing story and of course, terrific moments [emotional as well as humorous]. Don't miss this one!