Boy meets girl. Falls in love. But family doesn't endorse their relationship. Determined, the lovers resolve to win over the displeased relatives through hard slog, willpower and integrity... Aah, haven't we visited similar themes numerous times in the past? But storytellers the world over tend to replicate stories -- with modifications and alterations, of course -- interpreting the yarn in their individualistic way.
After regaling spectators with masala entertainers like WANTED and ROWDY RATHORE, Prabhu Dheva unleashes his new outing RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA. Clearly, the promos give an inkling that Prabhu dwells on the age-old formula in his third Hindi outing, a genre that's oft-repeated post MAINE PYAR KIYA . Come to think of it, not only does RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA bring back memories of MAINE PYAR KIYA, but also ANARI [1993; Venkatesh - Karisma Kapoor, with Suresh Oberoi playing the strict older brother], DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE [1995; SRK - Kajol, with Amrish Puri as the stern father] and PYAAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA [1998; Salman - Kajol, with Arbaaz enacting Kajol's authoritarian brother].
In reality, RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA is the remake of Prabhu Dheva's directorial debut NUVVOSTANANTE NENODDANTANA [Telugu; 2005], which was subsequently remade in other languages. The query is, why tag on the oft-repeated premise for a present-day film? But let me also add that romance is eternal and if one looks at the success ratio of this genre, the results have been fantastic, with almost every top name today having commenced his career with a love saga.
RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA may bear similarities with above named movies, but the drama unfurls way too differently here. Sure, there are dejaÂ vu moments, despite the germ of thought being analogous, but Prabhu and screenplay writer Shiraz Ahmed ensure that they pack several novel and mass-friendly punches, introduce new characters, besides packaging it well enough for the entertainment-seeking spectator to lap it up.
Ram [Girish Kumar], the Australia-returned youngster, meets Sona [Shruti Haasan] at his cousin's wedding and falls in love with her. He follows her to her farm, run by her brother [Sonu Sood], who is against this match, since Ram is too affluent for them. He throws a challenge at Ram if he has to win Sona's hand in marriage...
The emphasis is solely and absolutely on providing entertainment in movies such as RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA and Prabhu Dheva has mastered the art since the time he donned the director's hat. The aiming-at-masses director struck the pot of gold in his first two Hindi movies and in RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA too, he ensures he ups the entertainment quotient in every frame. Of course, unlike WANTED and ROWDY RATHORE, where romance was the second-most important ingredient, the love story is the focal point of RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA, but Prabhu is not at sea tackling the genre. Furthermore, this may be atypical love story, with the spectator knowing beforehand what the wrap up would be, but the journey in the second hour specifically is pleasurable, with Prabhu and writer Shiraz Ahmed blending episodes to cater to every strata of the movie-going audience.
RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA is not without its share of blemishes. To start with, the sequences between the lovers don't work in entirety. Note the sequence at the bath tub; it only adds to the length of the film. Besides, the narrative tends to stagnate in a few sequences, while a few episodes have been stretched for no particular reason. Cinematography [splendid work by Kiran Deohans] and the action [invigorating fights by Kaushal-Moses] are in tandem with the content of the film.
With Kumar Taurani [Tips] in the producer's chair, obviously, the soundtrack has to be rich. It's a given, right? And Sachin-Jigar, the talented jodi, doesn't disappoint either. 'Jeene Laga Hoon' is lilting and has already attained tremendous popularity, while 'Jadoo Ki Jhappi' and 'Rang Jo Lagyo' are wonderful compositions as well. Priya Panchal's lyrics compliment the melodies, while the choreography is eye-catching as well.
Obviously, RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA is the launch vehicle for Girish Kumar and the actor gets the opportunity to sing, dance, fight, emote, display varied emotions... in short, the film is meant to be a showreel that shows off his acting credentials. Of course, Girish being a first-timer, there are some rough edges, but the fact is, he's photogenic and goes through the rigmarole with confidence. Whether it his introductory sequence [surfing in the sea] or breaking into a dance, whether he's exposing his chiseled physique or wearing desi outfits, whether he's asked to look innocent or flirtatious, Girish gets it right.
Shruti Haasan looks gorgeous and is akin to a breath of fresh breeze. She radiates innocence, but can be naughty the next minute and conveys a lot through her eyes. It would be great to see her in varied roles in times to come. Sonu Sood is exceptional. In fact, this is amongst his finest performances. The film has a gigantic supporting cast comprising of Vinod Khanna, Randhir Kapoor, Poonam Dhillon, Govind Namdev, Satish Shah, Zakir Hussain, Nasser, Sarfaraz Khan, Mushtaq Khan and Paresh Ganatra and each of them enact their respective parts with proficiency. Jacqueline Fernandez and Prabhu Dheva's song is high on energy.
On the whole, RAMAIYA VASTAVAIYA is a simplistic love story narrated competently. Besides, the chemistry between the lead actors, the gripping second hour and of course, the Hit musical score should contribute to its triumph. Recommended!