This one springs a pleasant surprise. Warm gentle, moving and utterly devoid of artifice, Vaada Raha is the kind of old-fashioned emotional drama that can never go out of fashion.
Samir Karnik’s cinema never tries to be fashionable. Last year he gave us the outstanding Heroes, a segmented drama on the joys and sorrows of being part of contemporary India.
Like Karnik’s little-seen Nanhe Jaisalmer, Vaada Raha focuses on the unique and emotional bonding between Bobby Deol and that wonder-kid Dwij Yadav.
Before we go any further, this would be the right time to say little Dwij is an outstanding talent, bringing to his tender persona the experienced wisdom and maturity of a life lived well and long.
As a boy who spreads sunshine in a hospital (Karnik could have made the hospital a little less precise and prop-motivated), Dwij is to Vaada Raha what Darsheel Safari was to Taare Zameen Par. The relationship that grows between the paralyzed doctor Bobby Deol and the bright boy conveys the warm vibrations of a pair that really cares for one another.
The inspirational plot about how the doctor heals himself through the subtle and insistent urging of the boy from the next ward, is not quite that suspenseful drama where we bite our nails about the next sharp turn in the narration.
Karnik’s narration is free of curves and dips. Except for that sharp and painful twist at the end (Karnik had shocked us at the end of Nanhe Jaisalmer as well) the director keeps the fable-like ambience free of overt cinematic devices.
Most of the film’s dramatic energy emanates from the interaction between Bobby and the boy in a hospital room where the childâ€™s imagination illuminates the proceedings without cluttering the emotional graph.
At times, Karnik’s storytelling lapses into naivete. The hospital looks like a meeting point for angels rather than sick people. The fringe characters are caricatural but minimized in their utility.
The film’s goodness of heart and nobility of purpose are incontestable.
Whatever the loopholes and however deep the plot sags in parts, Bobby , in what is unarguably the best performance of his career, and little Dwij, a true synthesis sparkle spunk spirit and innocence, carry the film to a point where it merits a viewing.
One question: what is Kangna Ranaut doing here? She sings a duet, smiles vacantly and dumps the well-to-do hero after he suffers from spinal shock. Her logic being, she wants him to be self-sufficient.
Spinal shock? Kangna’s character suffers from worse.