Film Review: Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

January 07, 2009

Earlier reviews kept me from watching this film. However, my innate liking for anything SRK (since Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman) got me watching it. Man, was I shocked to see SRK in such a dorky, nerdy get up? He was so yuck in the first scene where he meets the heroine at her marriage to someone else that I almost walked out! Certainly a big gamble even for someone who could afford to take such a "personable" risk.

The story however won me over. I suppose having experienced an arranged marriage myself, the subtle charm of the film appealed to me. I doubt many of us have buffed up men for husbands. Most are of the Suri variety- sincere blokes working hard, uninspired in an office to bring home a paycheck.

My dad was one and so were so many of my uncles and other friends. They never really professed their love for their wives, but they were most sincere in their regard for their spouses. There were not necessarily "romantic" gestures that included roses or dancing, but it would be remembering a quirky trait like samosas from a certain shop and they getting it for their wives! My husband would be the first one to ask me if I wanted to go see the latest SRK flick as he was introduced to my liking his films when we got married! Thankfully, SRK is aging right along with me! LOL!

The beauty lies in the romantic fantasy of our heroine who finds herself married to such a dork owing to contrived circumstances. She feels her entire life is shattered. All the laughter and joy simply fades away only to slowly spark back to life when confronted with a dance contest. The dance contest turns the story around as it does SRK's appearance- phew, good that I did not walk out!

The male Cinderella act reminds you of Cyrano de Bergerac wooing his beloved through his friend with the "pretty" visage. Here, our hero transforms himself, Cinderella style, to dance with his beloved. In a thread I read, how come the wife does not recognize the husband sans moustache? Simple actually, she rarely looks at her husband!

Therein lies the crux of the story- our heroine's dreams become reality in this out of the ordinary experience of dance contests and stage outfits. When this buffed up avatar of her staid husband suggests that she elope with him, she is rudely awakened from her reverie. She realizes that dreams are to be cherished as a "break" from the humdrum but cannot replace reality.

In a modern world that questions the social relevance of marriage, this film certainly looks deeper into the construct of the commitment that marriage is. It may not be of great appeal to those who prefer the freedom of live-ins. The way our heroine assumes her role as housewife- making the lunch box and handling all the cooking and cleaning speaks much of lower middle class India and its inherent value system and certainly will not win feminist votes.

The choice of a B grade town like Amritsar for the setting was inspired. This story can happen in Benaras, in Thanjavur, in Puri, in Ajmer, but not in the metros- they have a very different "ethos" and definitely will be missing the overt spiritual component.

This movie also made me think of marriage from the perspective of a shy male. I once went through this amazing workshop that made us go through ten main archetypes of the feminine that included the princess, the mother, the virgin and the enchantress. In a telling scene, the husband disguised as our macho hero asks what girls really want. And the wife simply answers that it is to know that they are loved like no other. Of course, how could any woman not lose her heart to a man who goes to such lengths to woo and adore her?!

The film forces the male to enact archetypes to identify what works to make his beloved fall in love with him. Being "Indian", the "spiritual" archetype wins hands down (not necessarily a Western archetype!). Had this film been about a hindu, I would not have been surprised to see Hanuman ji as the patron lord to deliver our Ram, his Sita!

While the short timeline of the film forces the love to be expressed quickly, I know that it is an experience that simply keeps welling in a quiet manner. After 15 years of marriage, I can only say there is more love today than a year ago- if something like that can be quantified. Each passing moment gets us to recognize yet another quirk in each other and learning to live with it. Even an earlier "irritable" habit becomes an endearing one later! It sort of defines the person.

The music score by Salim-Sulaiman was typical Punjabi balle-balle style- enthusiastic and danceable. The new girl, Anushka Sharma looks totally Punjabi- a very successful Raveen Tandon look.

Well worth a "dekho" and will not be surprised if the DVD gets gifted around for wedding anniversaries.

Blokes aka Meenakshi enjoys writing along with being a mom, a school teacher, a musician and an Art of Living teacher (of meditation and breathing)
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January 7, 2009
01:47 PM

Yep, it was a different movie, sort of grows on you. I also know some friends who absolutely detested the movie, so there are all kinds ...

Amitabh Mitra
January 7, 2009
02:27 PM

Loved the Amritsar scenario, thoroughly enjoyed the movie

January 8, 2009
12:22 AM

A bit off-topic, but what is this Indian obsession with dancing heros? One or two movies a year are probably ok, but it seems like almost 80% of the movies need to have the hero dance, irrespective of the character he plays or the story line.

The Indian audience needs to grow up.

January 8, 2009
12:48 AM

On the other hand, I would rather watch Panju type Indians dance on the screen rather than in real life.

Being on the dance floor with a bunch of urban Punjabis dancing to "Dhoom Machale" would give one exactly an idea of what a pig sty would smell like.

Deepti Lamba
January 8, 2009
06:52 AM

I liked the movie and thought for once SRK didn't over act. Nice review Meenakshi:)

Amitabh Mitra
January 8, 2009
12:32 PM

Well, Iam a Panju type Indian and enjoyed seeing the movie again and again.

January 9, 2009
01:10 PM

With all the economic crisis and war and terror, I thought this film review would be a break from the "bigger picture"! After all, society's basic unit is the family and sadly, that has been under threat for long. It is time to commit to the ideals of a strong family with marriage and love. I know I sound soppy like the Suraj Barjathiya films, but that will get us through economic crisis and the violence. There needs to be greater bonds amidst humns than just economic and political.

January 9, 2009
01:17 PM

Thank you all for commenting. It was good entertainment with some message for a change- despite all that dancing!! Ledzius- go- shake a leg- bollywood dancing is tough man- I went for a class once and was all sore after that!LOL! It is a big hit in health clubs. It is a great way to shape up without those boring aerobics and the best part- awesome music and the dance itself is more aesthetically pleasing than bring exercise.

I do agree with the smell part- it is all that garlic and onion- that is why I refuse to do Bikram Yoga- Yoga includes a lifestyle of eating the right kind of food- not all that junk and sweating in a closed room!!

Now, all that golgappa the pair eat in the movie- now that is good food!!! Yumm

January 9, 2009
10:24 PM

will see it today in ega!what God proposes IS what man disposes -coz it IS the best fr him!-that is true spirituality. vice versa is 'religion'!

January 23, 2009
09:27 AM

marriage does grow on one doesnt it!!

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