Saturday, November 7, 2009

Truly an "Ajab" kahani!

I was raring to break my box-office dry spell and had really hoped that 'Ajab Prem ki Ghazab Kahani" would do the trick. So I went for the evening show of the flick today.

Well, I soon realised that the movie is a slightly updated but much less funny version of Andaz Apna Apna. Not exactly in terms of storyline but in terms of style. There is much slapstick humour, comic book sequences and colourful settings.

The story, whatever little there is of it, deals with the escapades of do-gooder Prem (Ranbir), President of the Happy Club, in an unnamed idyllic hill station. While Prem rapidly falls in love with and proceeds to woo pretty-as-a-picture, Jenny (Katrina), she is in love with Rahul (Upen Patel looking completely repulsive). Even when faced with this heartbreak, Prem agrees to help Jenny marry Rahul. Needless to add, by the end of all the craziness that occurs, Jenny realises that it is Prem who is her true love.

My misgivings about the movie began almost as soon as it started since there was some weak and totally unfunny slapstick happening. Later as one adjusted to the weird world of Prem, there were some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Prem's desperate attempts to impress Jenny, the reliable comic timing of his parents (Darshan Jariwala & Smita Jayakar) and the fast paced action helped. But the second half brought the tenuous humour setup crashing down. Unnecessarily encumbered with some sentimental scenes alternately with slapstick ones, it soon got to a point where one was almost waiting for the movie to reach its predictable conclusion.

APKGK used a lot of Andaz Apna Apna's comic devices like the father-son squabbling, the hopelessly inefficient suited goons and the 'we all fall down' kind of humour. It also has a hotchpotch of scenes which leave you reminiscent about other movies - some of which were possibly intentional. You have Ranbir in a towel - an image strongly linked to "Saawariyaa", the Sufi singers of "Jodha Akbar" appear in a song in this one too, both the lead actors suffer from a stammer when they get emotional a la "Kaminey", Prem dissuades Rahul from marrying Jenny much like SRK had in "Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa"...

In other words, there's very little that you've not seen before in this movie except maybe the jodi of Ranbir and Katrina. While the two have good onscreen chemistry, Ranbir clearly steals the show with his earnest performance. He is fast approaching the stage where he will have enough screen presence to match the big stars. He has pretty good comic timing as well and his sheer goofiness adds more value than the situations or dialogues. He is the only good reason to watch this movie methinks.

In the movie, Prem, on spotting Jenny talks about her "silky-silky hair and her milky-milky skin...just like vanilla ice cream." And just like vanilla ice-cream Katrina is plain throughout - no added flavours, no zing, nothing except that thrill one gets on seeing a walking-talking Barbie doll. Truth be told, she has suggested in other movies that she might have unexplored depths in histrionic ability and this movie was probably too mindless for her to try anything.

Though the songs appeared to jump up at odd times, the soundtrack of this movie is decent. The one I liked best was 'Tera Hone laga hoon' by Atif. 'Main tera dhadkan' and 'Prem ki naiyya' were also catchy.

Overall, the movie did draw out some genuine laughs but these were too erratic and sometimes too forced, to make a successful rom-com.

Would give this one a 5/10.

Final words of advice: Watch it for Ranbir. He's the real paisa-vasool. :)

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