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Film Review: Raabta

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-06-2017 Udita Jhunjhunwala

Past life, reincarnation, death, drowning, hydrophobia, a fickle woman, two warring tribes, some heavy-duty make up and prosthetics and many pretty pictures of Budapest summarises director Dinesh Vijan’s film.

Based on a script by Siddharth and Garima, the story unfolds in two timelines. For the first one hour, we meander around Budapest with Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput) and Saira (Kriti Sanon). He happens to go into her chocolate shop and they are immediately drawn to each other, speaking in Hindi, without doubting ethnicity or language skills. It’s just one of the conveniences in the script. Like the sidekick best friend Radha (Varun Sharma) who appears and disappears and serves no real purpose except perhaps to add some Punjabi bromance. It’s a diversion. So let me get back to the plot.

For the first hour we are shown only playful scenes of Shiv and Saira’s courtship, their growing romance, her occasional nightmares and her hydrophobia, and a great deal of his casual, flippant attitude to life. If Saira and Shiv are magnetically attracted to each other, it’s because there is indeed a past-life connection. This comes to the fore with the arrival of a suave, but strange, millionaire Zakir Merchant (Jim Sarbh) who charms Saira but doesn’t win her love.

The drama kicks in post-interval when we journey back hundreds of years to a tribal world where we discover the connection between Zakir, Shiv and Saira. And this is when Rajkummar Rao also appears in such heavy prosthetics that honestly any actor might have sufficed in the role.

The mystery that bonded these characters held interest up to a point but the modern-day resolution to an age-old rivalry wears thin. Rajput’s depiction of the old-world warrior is far more shaded than his glib modern Punjabi banker. Sanon fits the role well and is more than competent in the two avatars. Jim Sarbh overdoes his Zakir act, but has a better grasp of his sword-wielding character. I wonder if it might not be an idea to develop a story on Zakir and his psychosis. It would have been preferable to taking tours in Budapest and waiting for the modern romance and reincarnation drama jigsaw to come together.

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