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“Weird Al” Yankovic has a song called “One More Minute” in which he lists the things he’d rather do than spend time with the woman who broke his heart. Examples include ripping out his own intestines and jumping onto a pile of thumbtacks. While watching Ramaiya Vastavaiya, I gained a new appreciation for the song. Ramaiya Vastavaiya is a stupid movie that I wish I’d never seen.
The film has an incredibly dorky opening. Raghu (Sonu Sood) sits in his cell on the eve of his release from jail, a beatific glow on his face as he stares at photo of himself and his little sister as children. The friendly jailer asks glowing Raghu how a nice guy like him ended up in the clink — it’s been seven years, and you’re just wondering this now, Mr. Jailer? — prompting Raghu to recount a tale of romance between two young people of different economic classes.
Mind you, Raghu isn’t one of the young lovers. The couple comprises his sister, Sona (Shruti Haasan) and her rich boyfriend, Ram (debutant Girish Kumar Taurani, whose father produced the film), whom she meets at a friend’s wedding at which Raghu is not present. Raghu would seem to be an odd choice to narrate a love story he wasn’t around to witness, but Sona’s romance with Ram is just a perfunctory plot contrivance. The story isn’t about how Ram woos the girl but about how he woos Raghu.
Ram is a textbook example of the male-fantasy hero of so many Hindi films (to be fair, many Hollywood films, too). He’s immature, annoying, and spoiled, yet he gets his salt-of-the-earth dream-girl anyway, no effort required. As poorly as the character is written, Taurani does his best to make Ram as irritating as possible.
Ram’s obligatory character growth in which he learns the value of hard work happens not to impress Sona, but to win over Raghu. This is made doubly hard since Raghu arrived at the friend’s wedding in time to witness Ram’s snobby mother accuse Sona of being a gold-digger and have her thrown out of the wedding.
Prabhu Deva’s schizophrenic directing style compounds the film’s many problems. Uncomfortable scenes such as the one involving Ram’s mother follow on the heels of pratfalls and slide-whistle sound effects. The second half of the movie is replete with bodily function gags and lots and lots of cow dung.
Action scenes are edited so jarringly that the action is hard to follow. The climactic fight scene — which ends in unexpected brutality — is so fast and erratic that I started to experience motion sickness.
While Prabhu Deva is renowned as a choreographer, the movie’s dance numbers are nothing special. There’s no context for the film’s big item number, which inexplicably finds Jacqueline Fernandez dolled up and dancing in a field.
Ramaiya Vastavaiya has two things going for it: 1) Shruti Haasan is really, really pretty, and 2) Paresh Ganatra is funny as the manservant Bijli. Is that enough to make me prefer watching Ramaiya Vastavaiya to having my blood sucked out by leeches? No.
Wow. That’s excruciating. I guess Prabhudeva’s finesse at directing Romance leaves a lot to be desired?
Too bad. The songs had sold me on this. Also, doesn’t Girish Kumar Taurani look like an afro’d up version of French Stewart from 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN?
Buy the soundtrack, but skip the movie. You’ll be much happier, Shahid. Afro’d French Stewart! I can’t unsee it!
You have amazing insights. Shall surely give this one a miss!
Thank you! The reward for your trust in me will be 2 hrs. and 20 min. that you can spend doing something fun, rather than suffering through this movie. 😉
Lol! Nice one Kathy, as always. Glad to have not seen it. As it is, I have started hating all these textbook examples of male-fantasy heroes of films. 🙂
Thanks, Keyur! I know that part of the point of this type of movie is that lazy, privileged guy eventually learns to value hard work, but why does the girl always seem to fall for the guy before he learns a good work ethic and not as a result of it? Hmm…
Oh yes! Valid point.
By the way, Raanjhanaa has crossed Rs 100 crore mark! It’s painful for me!
now you know what to expect from prabhu deva 😀
Godwin, your comment prompted me to check Prabhu Deva’s Wikipedia page, where I discovered that I’d seen two of the pictures he directed without having realized that he directed them: Wanted and Rowdy Rathore. It was so funny to reread my reviews and realize how similar they are to my review of Ramaiya Vastavaiya. I used the word “schizophrenic” in the Wanted review as well as in this one, and I wrote that Paresh Ganatra is the funniest part of Rowdy Rathore. At least Prabhu Deva is consistent! Here are links to my reviews, in case you’d like to read them:
Rowdy Rathore: http://accessbollywood.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/movie-review-rowdy-rathore-2012/
Thanks Kathy. I did read your review of Rowdy Rathore and I couldn’t agree with you more. I just read your review of “Wanted” and yes I agree that it’s quite similar to the other reviews.
Prabhu Deva has a bag of tricks that he uses in all his movies. He is a south Indian. so you will be able to understand him more if you watch some “masala” Tamil movies directed by him. But leave your “brain” in the next room before you start watching them. Hehe
No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get my brain out of my head. 😉
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The movie _like to throw constant muck and see what sticks. i am starting to think i might actually die a few hours earlier than whatever my due time courtesy this movie 🙁
Ha, Jeev! 🙂
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