Friday, June 21, 2013

REVIEW 199: RAANJHANAA


Release date:
June 21, 2013
Director:
Aanand L. Rai
Cast:


Language:

Dhanush, Sonam Kapoor, Swara Bhaskar, Abhay Deol, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Arvind Gaur
Hindi


In UP, there are only two ways to woo a girl: pester her till she gets tired and relents, or frighten her into saying yes. Right after Raanjhanaa dispenses this dictum of sexual-harassment-in-the-guise-of-wooing, the hero Kundan Shankar (Dhanush) threatens to slit his wrists if Sonam Kapoor’s Zoya Hyder doesn’t admit to being in love with him… And then he does... And then she gives in.

Raanjhanaa harks back to an earlier era when stalking was considered legitimate courtship in Bollywood; when film after film told roadside Romeos that when a woman says no, she means yes or maybe. The film also seems to say: (a) that girls will always screw men over (b) that Muslims will always screw Hindus (and Sikhs) over (c) that women are too stupid to be trusted with their own life’s plans. Either that, or this is just the most garbled, aspiring-to-be-profound film to emerge from Bollywood in a while. The point about the Hindu-Muslim equation is subliminal; but there’s nothing subtle about the girl-boy equation it puts forward.

Kundan is the son of a Tamilian Hindu pandit in Banaras (I assume this element is meant to explain away actor Dhanush’s accented Hindi, just as Katrina Kaif’s character has studied abroad in most of her films). SPOILERS AHEAD! Raanjhanaa opens with a bleeding Kundan being taken to hospital as his voiceover says: Ladki aur rocket insaan ko kahi bhi pahuncha sakta hai (Girls and rockets could get a human being anywhere). Girls, as you know, are not insaan. Cut to the child Kundan who spots little Zoya in a Muslim home in Banaras and falls in love (yes, L-O-V-E). Cut to their teens. Kundan is still in love but has not yet befriended Zoya. Feigning irritation at being hounded, Zoya slaps Kundan on 15 occasions before revealing her name. She also agrees to meet him due to his “consistency”. After his wrist-slitting episode, her parents pack her off to Aligarh as punishment for falling for a Hindu. Eight years on she returns and does not recognise Kundan at first (frankly, since they both looked unchanged, I thought the plot twist at that point would be that she had been struck by amnesia in Aligarh). Anyway, Zoya tells Kundan to forget their immature childhood romance. Having not matured at all, he drives his scooter into a river, later slashing his wrist again.

Whew! And this is only the first half of the film! Between this and the climax, Zoya plays fast and loose with Kundan, she messes things up for her sweet boyfriend, Kundan saves the day for her, then ruins things for her, then is screwed over by her. There are also references to current events such as the Bhatta Parsaul land acquisition protests and the recent anti-rape protests… though the latter is incongruous in a film in which men physically rough up women throughout and it’s passed off as acceptable. Kundan roughs up Zoya, Kundan and his friend Murari rough up Bindiya (oh yes, I forgot, there’s this other chick who’s in love with Kundan though he keeps hitting her) and even Zoya’s liberal, Leftist boyfriend (Abhay Deol) thinks nothing of roughing her up initially. The men also keep making statements about ladkis and laundiyas that seem designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the audience, like this one from Zoya’s boyfriend: Dilli sarkar hamara kuchh nahin kar paaye, ek ladki ke chakkar mein maare gaye.

No doubt people like Kundan and Bindiya do exist in real life. What makes this film dangerous (perhaps intentionally so, since this is a populist position) is that their behaviour is made to seem lovable here; they’re being projected as charmingly hopeless romantics. Himanshu Sharma’s screenplay also leaves enough room for viewers who are thus inclined to condemn Zoya as a tease. Seriously, would a girl brought up in conservative Banaras openly embrace a guy on a street in that city? Wouldn’t she think for a moment that a guy like Kundan may construe her friendliness for romantic interest? Could she be so dense as to see him as a friend and confide in him about her boyfriend despite his open, continuing pursuit of her?  

To be fair, there is humour in the first half of Raanjhanaa. The second half of the film gets convoluted, boring and too long, but one interesting scene stands out: in which a group of Leftist students gravely discuss why our protagonist became a thief. The music is not A.R. Rahman’s best, but it’s still good enough to build up the atmosphere of Banaras, occasionally lending a false sense of energy even to the second half by which time the screenplay has become a mess. The high points of this film though are its production design and cinematography, right from that opening shot of Banaras with its burst of colour and chaos and wondrous beauty.

The stand-out performance in Raanjhanaa comes from Naman Jain who uses his few minutes on screen to convey an irritating precociousness in the child Kundan. Sonam (armed with a fabulous wardrobe) and Dhanush throw themselves into their roles with earnestness, but are done in by the screenplay’s poor intentions. The velvet-voiced Swara Bhaskar plays Bindiya with a conviction that is mirrored by the wonderful Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Kundan’s loyal friend Murari… Both characters are however repeatedly used to play to the gallery by pointing fingers at Zoya while they gloss over even Kundan’s vengefulness which leads to a death.

Aanand L. Rai earlier made Tanu Weds Manu. The worst thing that could be said of that film is that its second half was overly stretched. Raanjhanaa marks a qualitative step down. The mischief it plays with its Hindu-Muslim dynamic, the glorification of sexual harassment are concerns many viewers may not share. As it happens, it is also confused, confusing, all over the place and, beyond a point, tiresome and dull.

Rating (out of five): **

CBFC Rating (India):
U/A
Running time:
146 minutes (as per pvrcinemas.com)
Photograph courtesy: Everymedia PR
Trailers and music videos courtesy: Everymedia PR
First trailer:
http://bit.ly/Raanjhanaa-Trailer
Tum tak (song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wC9E5zxFwxg
Raanjhanaa title track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIBo4yvLkfU
Tu mun shudi (song): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Leqs-ufnx8
Banarasiya (song): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uktrmv0BHwM
Piya milenge (song): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixPqO_eCckI
Trailer of Ambikapathy, Raanjhanaa’s Tamil version: 

67 comments:

  1. A rather elitist review. If love were to happen at first sight, that would be nonsensical at its best for it seldom happens that way. And does the director not enjoy cinematic liberties ? Why does everything have to be viewed in the context of the real world and how it gets impacted by cinema? There were movies made after Gandhi, Ambedkar and henceforth, so have the public transformed themselves into these eminent personalities after watching movies based on their lives? There is Man of Steel, do people wear a cape and roam around town now ? Please Anna get a grip of reel and real life. If the lead in this movie is a stalker so what ? Not many would think "Hmmm I must try this too because cutting wrists is a cool thing to do to get a girl". Now that would be stupid and you can't cure stupidity, it has existed since time immemorial. Review movies please. If you're going to write about your opinions on how it relates to society, please warn people as they might not be interested in reading them.

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    1. I agree with you...

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    2. Just stop. Please, just stop with this disingenuous nonsense. How does a sane human being even ask what's wrong with the hero stalking the heroine?

      The reason people don't go out and become Ambedkar or Superman in real life after watching a film is because it's a lot harder to become a iconic leader of men and impossible to become a super hero but our society actively enables stalking and assault of women. It's as simple as what is achievable and what is not.

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    3. Well being stupid is easily achievable. Doesn't really take a movie to guide you there. And I ask again what is wrong with the hero stalking a heroine? This is a movie, if one can't differentiate reel from real, something beyond the movie has gotten into them. Society enables stalking? Well,it's understandable you stand for a right cause which is violence against women. But targeting movies and saying that it will prevent or cause something? Sounds pretty weak. If a movie maker with god knows what credentials can alter lives or people, we're talking of a larger issue and movie reviews are not the space for that.

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    4. Yes, yes, so what if the hero is a stalker. The whole point of the movie is to cater to men after all. Why should anyone bring up the female perspective?

      And yes female=elite. Because only men matter.

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    5. You seem to fail to understand that the inability to differentiate between the reel and the real does exist among some people - call them stupid if u want. You also fail to understand that while cinema is a reflection of society, that society also is also influenced by cinema - it can be a good or a bad influence. There is a big difference between 'depiction' of reality and 'glorifying' it.
      Dia

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    6. Anonymous...no courage to use your real name while accusing a reviewer of being elitist? So according to you, pointing out that a film defends stalking makes it elitist in your eyes? Well, in my eyes it makes you either a male chauvinist or a woman who has no self respect. Either way, it's really strange that you ask the critic to give people a warning that she is giving her opinion about how the film relates to society. Anna always relates films to society. Who's forcing you to read her?

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  2. Reading this review I understood that you are an extreme feminist more than a movie reviewer. Watch movie as a movie rather than looking for social correctness.

    I still don't understand why it is considered a sexual harassment when the girl clearly shows signs that she likes it. It is like calling consensual sex a rape by the woman. Just because few men are adapting to the western culture does not mean men who are yet to adapt should not stick to old methods. You should ask your father and grand father about how they approached women in their time. I am sure they didn't start by dating like westerners do.

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    1. Dear Sai Krishna,

      My reviews are comments on the CONTENT of a film. I don't make personal remarks about the people involved or their families. Likewise, I'd appreciate it if you would restrict your critique to the CONTENT of my review, instead of dragging my father and grandfather into the discussion. How they courted women is none of your business, just as much as it's none of my business what your mother, father, grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers, wife and girlfriend/s do, say or think.

      As for the rest of your comments, well, we must agree to disagree like civilised folk. I am a feminist as is obvious to anyone who reads me, has seen me on TV, follows me on Twitter or Facebook. I have no idea what "extreme feminist" means. Nor do I know what you mean by saying "you are an extreme feminist more than a movie reviewer". That's like saying "you are an Indian more than a movie reviewer" or "you are a woman more than a movie reviewer". Every aspect of a critic's identity influences their reviews, just as your response to my review is governed by every aspect of your identity. If feminism is unappealing or offensive to you, it would be wise not to read the reviews of a critic whose Twitter profile reads: "world's most committed feminist."

      Regards, Anna MM Vetticad

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    2. While I really like the film, I would like to point out that Mr. Sai Krishna over here is being truly offensive and it is his attitude that is even worse than those of the characters in the film.
      Roughing up women is not cool. Just because a film shows a hero murdering someone, it doesnt make murder ok. So Mr. Sai Krishna, please first learn to differentitae between films and reality. Then you go and give advice to the author here about keeping her identity and reviews separate!

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    3. Dude, take it easy. It's just a review. And what did you mean by "I still don't understand why it is considered a sexual harassment when the girl clearly shows signs that she likes it"? Which girl likes being hounded?
      And you did get personal there - not cool at all, buddy. Grow up before you type ever again.

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    4. Mind your language, Mr Sai Krishna. Talk about the film and the review. Why are you dragging Anna's father and grandfather into this. People like you can't respect people with a different point of view because you don't have anything solid to say but you want to prove how smart you are by making personal remarks about people who have something solid to say. This is a rubbish film with a rubbish message. See how I disagreed with you without talking about your father and grandfather? Now go and learn to behave in the same way.

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    5. Better to be an extreme feminist than a half baked one....you'll neither be here nor there then!!
      As for talking about fathers and grandfathers-its most inappropriate to refer to them, however may I point out, in their time, it was also considered ok for them to beat their wives - does that mean that it's really ok and should be allowed? Come on...
      Diya

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  3. Hey Anna, I think you are being too harsh on the film. I have grown up in a very small town in eastern India and I could therefore totally identify with this story and the characters! I found it very true to life.
    In fact, I think the beauty of the film was that each and every character in this film, at some point, was wrong. Either in thought or action. Zoya uses Kundan's affections to her own end, Kundan stalks her and believes slashing his wrists will help him get the girl, Abhay Deol chooses to lie about his identity to make his love happy...
    So in a lot of ways, they themselves were to blame for the fate that befell them. And they had no option but to seek atonement, redemption or revenge - whichever made them feel better. And that's what the film is ultimately about.
    The only thing that made me uncomfortable and where I will agree with you - is Abhay Deol roughing up Sonam. Was not required and wasnt in keeping with his character. But the rest of it is a reflection of our society.
    The eternal debate of whether films shd be a mirror of society or does society ape what films portray has no solution. So I think we need to appreciate and understand it works both ways. In this case, I dont think the director wanted to romanticise stalking or misogyny. But he succeeds in showing the mentality of a lot of young Indian men in a very real way.

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    1. All that you said makes absolute sense.

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    2. Swati, I too have grown up in a small town where I saw more stalking than anyone should have to see in their entire lifetimes, but does that mean it's okay? Like the review clearly says, there's a difference between portraying a reality and glorifying a reality. This film glorifies stalking. What a sad day it is when a women like you defend it!

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    3. I am in absolute agreement with Anita here. Just because something happens in abundance doesn't automatically make it right, acceptable, or justified.

      Brilliant review, dear critic, the feminist in me is beaming.

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  4. It;s interesting to note that most male viewers of the film seemed to have loved the film and find absolutely nothing wrong with stalking and attempted suicide as methods of courtship. The two negative reviews I have read have both been authored by women ("extreme feminists" - still chuckling at that one) while every other review that's gushing about what a wonderful film this is has been written by men.

    To Sai Krishna and "Anonymous" (nicely done, whoever you are - way to stand up for what you believe in!); no matter how much you would like to disagree, cinema has always been a mirror of where society stands today. What is acceptable onscreen is acceptable offscreen. If women tell you that is film is dated and dangerous when it comes to dating and courting (especially in this country where the male-female equation is so, so confused and wrong), you don't reply saying, "All the guys I saw this film with thought it was fine." It's not fine, it never was fine (the fact that your father and grandfather did it doesn't make it right) and it's never going to be fine.

    That said, if you liked the film for its technical brilliance, the performances or the music, you should say that. Don't justify psychotic behaviour in the name of evergreen romance.

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    1. love your response! it's simple...and i totally agree with "it's never going to be fine". :)

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    2. I didn't think of it this way, Mr Kuriakose, I mean about the male reviewers and the female reviewers. Thank you for making me think of something I didn't think about earlier. I loved this review and I even agree with Anna's point about the fishy Hindu-Muslim angle, but I also love your comment as much as I love this review. Like Vistrit said, I totally love your simple response and I totally agree with you, "It's never going to be fine."

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  5. I don't think you have any idea about this genre of films. You are too biased and rhetoric in your review & fail to understand the innocence & purity of the love depicted in this film.

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  6. A typical full of hatred and ill conceived misconceptions... phony writing masquerading as a review... replete with spoilers and immature views posing as an intellectual liberal elite..! This from a self proclaimed "author of the critically acclaimed book The Adventures of an Intrepid Film Critic".

    ***CRINGE*** & shudder

    Consider yourself unfortunate if you ever happened to read this

    - QualityFilmsFan

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    1. Anna must be honoured to read this, and consider yourself honoured to have been published at all!! It's honourable of her to have done so! :D
      Do u even know what critically acclaimed means? Know the difference between self proclaiming ones self as an 'acclaimed writer' and a 'critically acclaimed writer'?? Lol!!
      *CRINGE* at your definition of quality films!!! ROFLMAO

      Magoo

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  7. Thanks a lot of that Anna. And since when's talking about sexism in the movies and romanticizing of stalking and harassment "elitist" actually? I'd probably disagree re: Hindu/Muslim part, but the sexist bits are so blatant, I don't think there's any excuses for that.

    You could say that it's closer to reality and all that - but that's BS. Especially when you're supposed to sympathize with Kundan as in any other romantic drama.


    And lol@extreme feminists BTW. Anna, were you burning bras while typing the review? :P

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  8. A beautiful romantic drama .Haven't seen such a terrific performance by any debutant (dhanush) in recent history and would be remembered for long time. Engrossing performance by Dhanush.Sonam justified her role and fits into the role perfectly. A superb chemistry between dhanush and Sonam. Abhay Deol is watchable. The supporting cast such as Zeeshan Ayub has got depth in his role and one liners dialogues are superb.A.R.Rehman intensifies the eternal love story by connecting it with his music. With every songs the intensity level of movie increases.

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  9. Read your review Miss. I'd like to point out a few things. Firstly, the stalking and slitting is done by a teenage boy and that is to signify the silliness youngsters do, having been inspired by older movies. The adult Kundan slitting is due to his lack of development due to his 'ordinary' background, still believing life to be a movie with not much of education or understanding of the world, that Zoya goes through (though she does have so many flaws of her own). All characters have flaws and none of the characters are role-models, which is why this movie is a beauty, compared to most other Indian movies. Thirdly, its between the characters Zoya and Kundan and its not about all Muslims being portrayed as bad guys. That sort of a belief shows the immaturity of the people, who understand so. Not everything has to be communal, though there are still people in this country who see it all in the communal sense (so did Zoya refusing Kundan, as a teenager initially, because he was a hindu boy), but her life in a big city changes her and she falls in love with a Punjabi guy.
    And yes women in this movie have been treated badly, especially the friend of Kundan and Zoya herself, initially by Abhay's character. This again is not to set a role model and to say all girls are bad or people treating women so, is correct. But its to depict the actions of some men in this country, who don't even realise that their treatment towards women in such a way is wrong. As an experienced Reviewer, I had expected you to point out these issues and prevent people from raising such questions, but I am disappointed to see that you, yourself have raised this issue. Anyway, appreciate your efforts, nonetheless.

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    1. Thanks, you've written a better review than the one being debated on. I didn't find anything fake in the movie's setting or characters. Men do jostle women unknowingly/ stupidly. Most women who've grown up with boys as friends or even a brother know this. Yet I felt bad for Bindiya and hate domestic violence. But Bindiyas exist and so does Murari and Zoya and Kundan. They live in every galli, mohalla, which is why elites would cringe and shudder at this vivid realism. Sordid yes, that's life. I don't feel that the film advocates jostling a woman. It shows that it doesn't pay. Why are we delving into the Muslim Hindu angle, Zoya loved a Sikh guy and told a lie, she didn't hate Kundan for being a Kundan but for unwittingly killing Daljit. Its a lover's quarrel not a Hindu Muslim fight.

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    2. "Men do jostle women unknowingly"? You thought Abhay Deol jostled Sonam Kapoor unknowingly? You thought Dhanush and Mohd jostled Bindiya unknowingly? You think Dhanush jostled Sonam unknowingly? Madam Ishani Basu, you obviously don't care about domestic violence so it is better you don't pretend that you do. With women like you around to justify jostling as you call it, we don't need khap panchayats. If you can't understand boy-girl harassment when you see it so blatantly then how can you to understand the Hindu Muslim angle that the film is slyly bringing us?

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    3. I agree with Ishani and A. Prasanth. If anything, this movie implies that stalking etc. doesn't sway a woman, and the woman in question makes the first romantic overture. She also is the first to initiate some sort of physical intimacy with both Kundan and Jasjeet; this is another indication of a liberated character who has sexual agency. And let's not forget that Binidiya is choosing to love Kundan (if that sort of love can ever be a conscious decision) much like Kundan's chosen to love/obsess over Zoya. Things would be different if she was being forced by her family to marry/fall for Kundan. Another point-this is a quirk that I don't know if Binidya unknowingly possesses-Bindiya could be masocist. Some people are genuinely turned on by sadistic or masocistic relationships. Maybe she's one of them and doesn't quite know it. I know I might get flak for this but sexual equality is also about men and women (legal adults) getting into any sorts of sexual relationships that they desire provided it is consensual. Kundan doesn't ever try to force himself on her or even bother much with her; as I see it, she instigates him and likes the attention/response she gets out of him. Binidiya seems very much in control of her life and destiny, much more so than Kundan IMO even though both their loves/obsessions have the same fate.

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    4. And I noticed, Bindiya does rough up Kundan when he says the "Pajama nada dheela" dialogue. So she does like it rough :)

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    5. Slytherin - stop trying to intellectualise this nonsense. The film glorifies stalking. One way it does that is by making Kundan a nice guy who we like. The other way it does that is by showing Sonam enjoying the stalking. All the fancy arguments in the world won't change that. I am so glad Anna wrote this review even though she must be knowing that there are lots of people like you around to defend this rubbish in the form of a film and attack her for criticising it.

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  10. lol .. what is is this review or writing competion.....i would have accepted the review if u wr sincere and wrote like this for all the movies.. this is fake writing just to tarnish a good filim..

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  11. How about you watch the film and cut the crap... neither is the author highly virtuous nor those responding to her write up (yes, i am included in it).

    How about we appreciate their performance and stop being overly critical for once?

    Most critics have a misplaced sense of superiority and feel it is their right and duty to point out all the flaws and pick on petty things and ruin the movie for others.

    I feel sad for such people as they can never enjoy a movie.

    Ask the audience how they felt after watching the film! most will tell you how endearing was Dhanush's performance, how they related to the film in their own way and how it made them laugh & cry!

    The viewers i'm sure are not drawing conclusions like Muslim will always screw Hindus! You must be really pathetic to even highlight such a point.

    And you think the music is just good enough????? u must have really high standards and a brilliant sense of music to make such a careless comment.

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    1. Isn't that just a difference of opinion?
      As a reviewer it is a persons duty/responsibility to point out the good and bad in a movie/book/album/any kind of product. Why should he or she ask the audience? Is he or she writing the audiences opinion or his/her own opinion? What if it were a movie that the reviewer liked and the audience didn't? What would you say then??

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  12. Hey Anna, I was about to jot down my comments about this film after watching it, but then I read your review and realised you have said everything I wanted to say. Thank you Anna.

    Please ignore the clown who called you an extreme feminist, Anna. If you are an extreme feminist then I am one too.

    I think more than that I want to thank you for being the only critic I've read who had the courage to point out that there's something very fishy about the Hindu-Muslim romance in this film. First of all I think I have seen only one Hindi film in which the boy was the Muslim in a Hindu-Muslim romance. In all the other films with Hidu-Muslim romances, it's always the boy who is a Hindu and the girl is a Muslim. I know you have not mentioned this in your review, Anna, but I thought I'd bring it up to add to the many brilliant points you've made.

    And all these people who are getting angry with you for raising the Hindu-Muslim point don't seem to have watched the film carefully. Tell them to tell us the meaning of that thing Kundan shouts out to Zoya right in the end, "tum abhi bhi Musalman ko Hindu bata rahi ho". Why did he bring that up? Why was it necessary? What does it mean? Throughout the film the only one who emphasises the differences in their religions is Zoya. Okay maybe Anand Rai the director will say that Kundan was too blindly in love to notice her religion, but how come even Murari his friend did not worry about that? What's with that? Pleeease, this is all bullshit but it's subliminal bullshit like you said so that anyone who raises these questions can be accused of being communal like one of the clowns here has accused you.

    And then in the end suddenly why does Kundan say this to her, "tum abhi bhi Mussalman ko Hindu bata rahee ho"? Something stinks here and I think it's a bowl of very rotten fish called Raanjhanaa.

    People who are too foolish to spot this are pointing fingers at you. Don't let them upset you, Anna. Please continue writing your brave, beautifully worded reviews. I'm shocked and disappointed that most of the other critics have not criticised the stalking in this film, and nobody, not a single one of them, felt any discomfort over the Hindu-Muslim angle. I felt very uncomfortable with that even more than the stalking in this film and I'm so relieved that at least one critic has been sensitive enough to point it out.

    You're the best Anna. In fact I think you've been very kind to this very fishy film. You should have given it -75 stars like you've done for some films in the past. Stay cool.

    Signed: Another Extreme Feminist

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    1. I completely agree with you.

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    2. Ok..so now we got two completely nuts, ultra opinionated, biased extreeeem feminists here. What next dude ??

      SAVE THE TIGER campaign would soon need to shift its focus on men...for one, there won't be any tigers left to save, and instead men would be suffering the same fate !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    3. Dear RJ,

      What exactly do you want men to be saved from? Too many rapes? Too much sexual harassment? Too many dowry demands from their wives? Male infanticide? Male foeticide? I'm not saying men don't have any gender-related problems, but it shows a casual, irresponsible attitude to our social reality that you equate these problems with what women suffer every step of the way.

      Would you include male feminists among the men who you feel need to be saved or are you yet another one of those people with limited thinking who feels that all feminists are women and that men can't be feminists?

      It's interesting that right-wingers across the world tend to make impolite personal remarks about their opponents instead of coming up with substantial arguments in favour of whatever stance they are taking. Instead of calling these two readers "nuts", I wish you had had a worthwhile point to make...dude!

      Regards,

      Anna MM Vetticad

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  13. Comments like "elitist" and "extreme feminist" are why India has such a problem today--the slaughter of girls, the everyday harassment, the rapes.

    All of Bollywood is written from a male perspective.

    But when a solitary voice speaks up with a female perspective, they try to shut her down.

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  14. what a pathetic review!!The stand out performance in the whole mv for the reviewer is Naman Jain-The child kundan!!

    Anna,
    I would hail u as best reviewer if any other reviewer commented any other actor first other than dhanush/sonam when they have to talk about stand out performaces!!

    Worst part is you dont even note the criticism that people are giving for your bad review!!

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    1. Are you a fool or what?
      If she didn't note the criticism that people are giving her, why would she be publishing comments that are critical of this review. You really seem to be stoooopid

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  15. Amazing review. As for some of the comments here, the less said the better. You don't need a PhD to know why the rate of crimes against women in India are so high. Just read the people here who are defending a stalker and telling a critic she's an extreme feminist because she criticised that stalking.

    Swati, you should be ashamed of yourself for taking stalking so lightly even though you are a woman. Please stop with this defence that the film is a reflection of reality. Didn't you read the place where Anna wrote: "No doubt people like Kundan and Bindiya do exist in real life. What makes this film dangerous (perhaps intentionally so, since this is a populist position) is that their behaviour is made to seem lovable here; they’re being projected as charmingly hopeless romantics."????

    Anna, ignore these people. If you are an extremist then by god we need more extremists like you.

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  16. I am a female and I have experience stalking in my life thus know very well how it is to be stalked. What Kundan is doing as teenager following Zoya around is NOT STALKING!! It makes me mad when I see this nonsense being spread on the net. I have seen Raanjhanaa five times already and I am going to see it again. I don't remember any film that moved me so much in years.

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    1. I agree-he's trying to attract her attention by following her around knowing fully well that she likes it. She's never afraid of Kundan; on the contrary, she's pleased by the attention and flirts with him. I think those initial portions of the film are charming though it does break my heart now that I know what lies ahead for Kundan. He's taken Zoya's lightly flirtatious overtures to mean more than she intends. She flirts with him even after she's back from Aligarh/Delhi but again, while she likes him and his attention, in her eyes, Abhay is her real "equal" and one she loves enough to commit to him.

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  17. I am so relieved to read this review. This movie leaves much to be desired on every account. The story is utterly patchy and frankly quite ridiculous in bits (esp the part where she doesn't recognize Kundan after just eight years and the million times she asks him for help and how he keeps swaying like a pendulant first agreeing to help her and then getting mad at her for using him). Honestly it seems like you can make any trash and people will appreciate it because it is set in the hinterland because of some deluded notions of how the film is rooted.
    The reviews of this film are depressing because they show the state of affairs of film critics in India. There are actually people who believe Sonam is good in this film (or ever for that matter). I personally didn't even care for Dhanush and the only people watchable were the two supporting actors Swara Bhaskar and Zeeshan Ayub.

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  18. if writing a sensible review is 'extreme feminism'- please continue being an extremefeminist !

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  19. Just because you have the space to vent and rant, you are passing on your 'extreme' pseudo feminism to the poor readers. These days 'Social Medic Activist' is a serious career option for the likes of you. Without knowing that you are sooooo disconnected to the country. The stupid review of yours borders on the logic that people cannot differentiate between Real and Reel life. Its as dumb as saying that if people see War movies, then they are more likely to be supporters of the Bush Admin or like saying that if film makers stopped making slasher movies like grude, chainsaw massacre, it would stop all psycho killings and murders. Are you seriously saying this? My free advice to you is that if you cant do anything about the real issues, stop your rants on movies....makes you look the silly one.

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    1. Actually, u look like the oaf here! :D

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  20. Well I would not say that I watched the movie.. But the preview made it extremely clear that the content of the movie was absolute shit.

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  21. @Anonymous Sorry to hear that, but you do realize just because you're stalked, you don't get to redefine stalking, right? What Kundan did was BLATANT stalking. Dictionary definition of stalking, if you will - no denying that. While you may debate whether it was necessarily a negative aspect of the film, the fact that he did stalk Zoya is not debatable. Period.

    And compared to what he did, what you usually see in Tamil movies seems extremely subtle.

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    1. When did I try to redefine stalking? Stalking is UNWANTED pursuing , persistent following of a person WITHOUT her or his consent. It establishes a clear relation stalker-victim. That's it. Being stalked myself, I never found any sort of pleasure in it, did not giggle seing that man, did not enjoy his attention and above all, I did not reward his consistency offering him a romantic date in a remoted place, kiss included, which is exactly what Zoya is doing with Kundan. His pursuing her is not stalking, this is clumsy wooing with occasionally resorting to some desperate moves. They are both teenagers and teenagers often do such impulsive and silly things, haven't you never witnessed anything like that when you were at that age yourself? I have. Zoya never shows any evidence of fear, to the contrary, she is manipulative about Kundan and enjoys her power over him. Kundan is naive and struck by obsessive love, but Zoya plays with him without caring much about his feelings, to her he is only a mirror so she has no qualms about making a fool of him. She feels flattered by his admiration and extends the play to her content. However, the play is over the moment she finds out that he is Hindu and even then he is able to impress her with his stupid act of slitting his wrist. Kundan is by no means a gentle guy, he is a smartass and ruffian, aggressive and with shades of madness, although he can be quite charming. But one of the beauties of the movie is his transformation through love, penance and self-sacrifice. How one can close his eyes to this fact and see only an imaginary anti-feminist ideology, it is not clear to me.

      Stalking in Tamil movies subtle? I hope you are joking.

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    2. Yes you did try to redefine stalking. Anyway, read the review again please, especiall this part: "No doubt people like Kundan and Bindiya do exist in real life. What makes this film dangerous (perhaps intentionally so, since this is a populist position) is that their behaviour is made to seem lovable here; they’re being projected as charmingly hopeless romantics. Himanshu Sharma’s screenplay also leaves enough room for viewers who are thus inclined to condemn Zoya as a tease." Now re-read your comments. Just look at how you have reacted. The writer of this film has manipulated you to believe exactly what he wants. Can't you see that?

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  22. Fake/phony/pseudo intellectual review. I cannot believe you compared dhanush with katrina kaif. How idiotic is that ? Dhanush is a national aeard winning actor and supremely talented. Katrina kaif has zero talent.

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    1. How idiotic are you are that you think the reviewer compared Dhanush to Katrina Kaif just because she mentioned both of them in the same sentence. And why is it wrong to be intellectual? Just because you are not one? Hahahahaha.

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  23. Really appreciate your honesty – in writing what you really think, unafraid of how chauvinists (whether of the male or female gender) will react or respond, and added to that, publishing their reactions and responses. I feel like laughing at the expression ‘extreme feminist’! Whatever the hell is that? Don’t bother with such fools.

    I’m not quite sure why people repeatedly talk about people having the ability to differentiate between the reel and the real world. Most people do. But, aren’t there some fools who have done exactly what they’ve seen in films and paid for their mistakes, like kidnapping etc to make what they think is a quick/easy buck? That doesn’t mean that kidnappings shouldn’t be shown right? What about the ‘eve-teasers’ on the streets of India? Most of them seem to think that a whistle or a whisper or a rub will elicit a positive response, the kind that they’ve seen in movies. The danger lies in the manner in which it is shown. Similarly, in the case of stalking – people seem to have skipped the point where you clearly say that Kundan’s and Bindiya’s do exist in this world – your critics here are oblivious of this statement. Like someone has pointed out in his/her comment – there’s a difference between depiction and glorification.

    And those ridiculous comments about Gandhi and Ambedkar movies and war and slasher movies – are these people fools???/?????/

    Also to the anonymous person who says ‘just because you have the space to vent and rant, you are passing on your 'extreme' pseudo feminism to the poor readers.’ Please – who is forcing you to read? You opened the link and chose to read, so don’t call yourself ‘poor.’ You may chose not to ever read her, that’s your prerogative.

    Anna, please continue with the good and honest work. You write from the heart and write it well.

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  24. Its really sad thing that so called extreme feminist hires a women as her BAI to do homework... Get a Life Anna, Its just a movie.. Personal opinions dont matter at all...
    How many lifes did u change coz of ur extreme feminist thinking???? None Right????
    Dragging Father, Grandfather isnt fair but it was necessary... Keep ur opi.ion wit u.. Ppl want to kno how the movie is.. For pure entertainment... For example we dont have a background music in Real Life..

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    1. Here's a mad thought, she's keeping her opinion to herself.. in HER blog. If you think it doesn't matter, then how about not reading it? That's an easier option, right?

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  25. What about infatuated women who stalk men? It happens both ways you see...

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  26. To understand raanjhanaa you need to have an Indian heart ..which unfortunateley you dont..........

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    1. Dude, stop insulting India, Indian men and Indian hearts (whaddever that means!).. You saying Indian hearts understand that love means slashing your wrists when the girl says no, and frightening her into saying yes? Or you mean Indian hearts think stalking is the way to a woman's heart? We men are lucky that Anna does not "understand" this "Indian heart" crap that you say she doesn't "understand". Saved by the bell! * wipes the sweat of tension off his brow with a sense of relief *

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  27. This review is full crap please watch the move again and write the review its a shame on you Anna MM Vetticad you have to grow up a be mature i think you are still living in 90s grow up kid and stop posting stupid review and wasting peoples time!!!!!!!

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  28. Ma'am , very sorry to say that you seriously underestimate us roadside romeos. We do not need validation, inspiration or justification for what we do from a stupid little movie which we won't watch anyway. Hell it does not have Bhai, has no action, no item song , waste of time and money.
    The director should be under no obligation to be politically or morally correct in his film. He is only answerable as to how well he has made his film. Art for art's sake...remember? Besides people choose what they will take away from the movie. You can never please everyone at once.

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  29. the range of personal diatribes in the comments to this review is stunning. shows what thoughts apparently rational and educated people harbour in the closet and vent it out as 'anonymous'. Anna Ma'm, kudos to you for sticking your neck out and writing this review and then going ahead and publishing such nasty comment.

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  30. I feel sorry for u but i think u didn't want to see a tamil star in a hindi movie ,this could be the only reason u didn't liked the movie,i really can't appreciate ur review and ur allso lame thinking and if u can't say good about something u really don't deserve to say bad about one

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    1. Good god dude, you can't be serious. She provided a valid criticism about the movie - which you may or may not agree with. But to say that she didn't want to see a tamil star in a hindi movie? Are you nuts? You do realize that she's from south as well, if anything, right?

      Especially for us who have seen Dhanush's acting prowess in far more demanding and complex roles, this character does no justice to his talent.

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  31. Very accurate review Anna!
    This movie was recommended to me by my sister since I grew up in Banaras and went to JNU for further studies. Both she and me thought I might find some connection with this movie. However just watching the trailer was enough to fill me with DISGUST. This movie is really true to reality as far as stalking goes. This brought back all the unhappy memories of my childhood in banaras and why I wanted to run as far away from that place as possible. The objectification of women, treating them as nothing but sex-objects and also the idea that if a man likes a woman she must submit to him. Ideas that I openly heard expressed by men in banaras. And this movie legitimizes them, justifies them and glorifies everything that is wrong with Banaras.
    Ugh, *puk*puk*puk*
    In addition it misguides people by portraying JNU students as power hungry which is as far from truth as it gets. This is false propaganda.
    What is more mind-boggling is that people actually like this movie and the critic is being called an "elitist" and a "feminist"???
    I didn't know that if a woman wants to choose who she wants to 'like' then she must be a 'feminist'. Where did that logic come from. Sad to say, my country is full of people who have no brain and no ability to think.

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    1. Dear Ritu,

      Glad you wrote this since a common allegation in this comments section is that I don't know small-town India. How the people making this allegation know this about me is curious, since I've not shared with any of them the details of my travels and my personal life. Be that as it may, it's nice to know that a woman who has grown up in Banaras vehemently echoes the point that to me is the most important point I'm trying to make in my review: that there is a difference between the portrayal of an objectionable reality and the glorification of that objectionable reality. Raanjhanaa glorifies stalking and sexual harassment and the trivialisation of women. Full stop.

      BTW while I object to being called "elitist" and I'm flummoxed by one anonymous commentator's use of the term "extreme feminist" (I have no clue what that means), I must clarify that I have no objection to being called a "feminist" at all - even though some people hurl the word at you as if it's an accusation :) In fact, I don't wait for anyone to bestow that label on me. I wear it on my sleeve. All right-thinking men and women must stop being defensive about the word feminism.

      I've just posted a quote from Dale Spender on my Facebook page that's relevant to this discussion, so I'm re-posting it here for your benefit: “Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties. Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centers, women’s refuges, reforms in the law. If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?”"

      I've never heard anyone vehemently clarify, "Oh, I'm not a child rights activist" or "oh, I'm not an advocate of equal opportunities for persons with physical and mental disabilities". Yet, we have all been conditioned to be defensive about our feminism. We need to stop giving in to the social pressure to say "Oh, I am not a feminist".

      The truth is, I AM A FEMINIST and very proud of it. Having read your comment, "feminist" is a word I'd automatically use to describe you too - and I promise you I mean that as a huge compliment :)

      Again, thanks for writing in. It was wonderful to read your comment and the comments from all those who have been supportive here :)

      Regards, Anna MM Vetticad

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