Once again, the charm and likeability of Ranbir Kapoor helps lift Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani to watchable proportions. Otherwise, this rom com works in fits and starts and though having its moments is not quite the return to form for director Rajkumar Santoshi.
The problem is that after the disappointing reaction to his last few flms, you feel a sense of desperation in the director to make that elusive hit. Hence, the film suffers from being extremely conscious and forced and at places even overdone. Scenes are stretched to milk them to the maximum and if they don’t work like the factory climax, they test your patience. The other problem with the film is that its story seems too old fashioned and you’ve quite had it with characters like the hero’s friends who have nothing to do but help his love story along as if they have absolutely no lives of their own.
So in APKGK, Prem’s (Ranbir Kapoor) fundas in life were very simple – be happy, make others happy and keep the town happy. But these supposedly simple fundas usually results in disastrous consequences for Prem, the members of his ‘Happy Club’, and the town! It may have been a case of mistaken identity that led Prem to kidnap Jenny (Katrina Kaif). And it was sheer greed that made Prem try to pull a fast one over her father. As for sweet and simple Jenny, brought up by indifferent and uncaring foster parents, all she longed was to love and be loved in return. And it was love and only love for Jenny that made Prem turn over a new leaf. From hardly working vagabond he began working hard to make money. From a besotted Romeo, he becomes a mature and thoughtful Majnu who puts Jenny’s happiness above everything else. As for Jenny, she was so much in love with the idea of being in love that she was blinded by the reality that was staring in her face…
Yes, there are moments that are genuinely funny. The sequence where Smita Jaykar suddenly turns coy and seductive on Darshan Jariwala so that he would not discover Katrina in their bathroom brings the house down as does the scene with Ranbir wearing Katrina’s top and justifying it to be his. But moments like this are sporadic. There are chunks that don’t quite come to life – the entire sequence of helping Katrina escape for her wedding from Goa doesn’t quite come off. The stammering of the two characters in times of stress falls flat especially as they stammer as and when the director wants them to and not according to when they would do so naturally. And when some of its sequences fall flat, the film appears silly, infantile and inane. While the first half seems somewhat energetic, the second half runs out of steam totally.
The lead pair looks extremely good together and there’s no denying they share quite a likeable chemistry and this certainly helps lift the film a notch or two. But the two are light years apart in terms of performance. Ranbir Kapoor holds the film together though he’s playing but a middle class goofy yet endearing version of his Wake Up Sid character. Still, he is spot on in all the various shades and moods his character goes through. He expertly plays the boy helping Katrina with her romance with Upen Patel even though it is killing him inside. He has a knack of drawing you into this character and making you care about what happens to him. Katrina is fine as long as she has to look pretty and smile sweetly. Asking her to act is like asking for the moon and yes, she still has miles to go as an actress. Upen Patel is plain embarrassing. Smita Jaykar hits the right notes as Ranbir’s mother but Darshan Jariwala’s father is overplayed. Zakir Hussain’s track doesn’t work well at all and the fine actor is totally defeated by the script.
Techncialities are not much to write about. In fact, the film appears tacky at times. APKGK is musically average with a couple of hummable songs. And while the songs seem decent enough while watching the film, the picturizations are so-so.
All in all, worth watching just for Ranbir Kapoor. Take him out and APKGK would fall like a pack of cards. Not quite Mr Santoshi’s big comeback.
Hindi, Romance, Comedy, Color