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Anjaana Anjaani not really new, but…

October 2, 2010

This appeared in an online newspaper today:

Anjaana Anjaani

“Life begins on the point of death” is the theme Anjaana Anjani is trying to explore.

Boy meet girl when both want to die. Boy and girl decide to die together. This would’ve summed up the movie, except this particular one starts where most other Bollywood movies used to end.

Additionally, Akash (Ranbir Kapoor) and Kiara (Priyanka Chopra) are not in love with each other. Their lives intersect on the bridge as they are poised to jump. And when that attempt fails, they decide to die together because two is always better than one.  If one chickens out, the other is expected to push them through.

Except, numerous attempts later, when they are still alive, they figure one of them has something to do. So they pick New Year’s Eve for another attempt. In the meanwhile, they figure they can cross off things undone on their version of The Bucket List.

Some wishes are harder, some are easier. And during the course of the crossing off the list, there are moments you wish they had jumped off the bridge.

The movie is predictable. You can predict the ending of the movie at the beginning, and once you know the story behind their death wishes, you also know how that will be resolved.

Like many other Bollywood movies, the back half is emotionally loaded and the director Siddarth Anand did not have enough finesse to take it through with the same ease of the first half. There are the usual host of characters – the ex-boyfriend, the best friend, the do-gooders, none of whom really have a strong presence or a role in the movie.

However, Anjaana Anjaani has a lightheartedness during the first half that makes it easier to stomach the morbidity it is portraying. Just when you begin getting uncomfortable about their attempts at suicides, they make you laugh.

Also, in yet another reversal Indian cinema is seeing, the woman, Kiara, is the force that drives the two of them to live the 20 days they have left. The mystery woman, who is so happy it makes you wonder why she was on that bridge. Akash, you know his story already and he is as prudish as the virgin he claims to be.

So they swim in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, do their share of clubbing in New York City. They live so normally that you forget they have set an expiration date on their lives.

The much-publicized car, titled ‘Blush,’ appears far shorter than it was supposed to. A road trip to sin city Las Vegas, with panning shots of deserts and dry shrubs and a winding road. That is probably one of the wider shots the director even wanted.

The second half of the movie in particular is crammed with close up shots of the duo. Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor are actors who have proved themselves in more challenging roles and manage to pull this off with ease too. The extreme close ups though begin to annoy after a few shots of Chopra’s kajal-rimmed eye that aren’t so artistic.

Zayed Khan makes yet another guest appearance, like he seems to be famous for these days. The short time doesn’t make his role any sweeter or his acting any better. Instead, it adds to the flatness of the screenplay, and makes you wish the director had thought of adding little more depth to the characters.

But Anjaana Anjaani also belongs to the new generation of movies, where women are the happy-go-lucky souls, men bawl their eyes out and are virgins, and also caters (or mocks) the gay audience with a gap strip club in the back of nowhere or Ranbir Kapoor trying to take over Salman Khan’s position as the shirtless guy, which makes it all fun enough.

The music would be good for your iPod but does make you wish for the remote while watching the movie.

Anjaana Anjaani is the perfect movie for a lazy Sunday afternoon, as long as you are not expecting a new plot.

Edit: Things I couldn’t say in the official review:

1. Ranbir Kapoor = yumminess. Finally Indian women have a body to ogle over. Maybe he just realises his sex appeal or just likes taking his clothes off, but the one scene in the movie where he walks out of the shower, in the semi-darkness = HOT!!!

2. Priyanka Chopra – did she get collagen or something in her lips. She looks gorgeous except for those lips.

3. What on earth is with the close-ups??? Oh wait… I did mention that in the review, right?

4. The car. Me wants!!!

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