Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukerji, Angelina Idnani, Ali Haji, Jaaved Jaaferi and Shruti Seth
Director: Siddharth Anand
“Jab bhi ho ghum, zyaada ya kum, muskurayenge hum, gaaayenge hum…Ta Ra Rum Pum, Ta Ra Rum Pum, Ta Ra Rum Pum.”
Four months into 2007, the industry is starving for a thunderous hit at the box office. With a wonderful line-up for the year, it’s Yash Raj Films to the rescue with Siddharth Anand’s Ta Ra Rum Pum. Hoping to achieve that elusive hit, YRF produces a feel-good entertainer with Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan in lead roles.
Ta Ra Rum Pum comes as respite from a shower of serious cinema and ventures into territory that Bollywood seems to love—romance, emotions, drama and catchy tunes. The film is far from perfect, though overall, it emerges a worthy entertainer.
It centres around the world’s “best father, best husband, and best best racer”—Rajveer aka RV Singh. We are introduced to him during a race that will change his life forever. Happily married to Radhika Shekhar Rai Banerjee (Rani Mukerji), he lives for his two children, Priya aka Princess (Angelina Idnani) and Ranveer aka Champ (Ali Haji). The first half is almost completely narrated by Princess, who tells us the story of how her father and his ‘Shona’ met. RV started out as a pit-worker for a racing team; but he always dreamed of being a racer. After a crazy taxi ride with a man named Harry (Javed Jaaferi), the two grow to become friends and Harry eventually asks RV to race for his team. At the same time, Radhika disobeys her father to marry RV, and the couple become proud parents of two beautiful children.
Cut to the present—RV’s career is rocking to the point where he can’t get any better. Suddenly, in a twist of fate, he gets into an accident which changes his and his family’s life forever. Ta Ra Rum Pum takes a turn here and the rest of the story revolves around RV’s struggle to make it back to the top against all odds. He realises this may be more difficult than it seems. Meanwhile, his bank account balance falls to zero and he is forced to move out of his large house into a tiny flat. To protect their children, Radhika and RV try to fool them by creating an imaginary game show. The once fairytale family is forced to fight against all odds to emerge winners in the game of life.
After Salaam Namaste being targeted towards urban centres, director Siddharth Anand makes a family film that is sure to make you smile. Though the film starts off slow, the second half picks up the pace and wins you over. Throughout the first half we are forced to endure the boy-meets-girl sequences, unnecessary (but nice) songs and Rani’s atrocious wig. Though it’s light-hearted with some funny sequences, it leaves you craving movement in the story. The script is weak here. Also, the first half is quite long. The second half is action-packed and high on emotional quotient which is sure to work with audiences. Dialogues are good too, but better in the second half. (Note: After Aishwarya in Dhoom 2, it seems like it’s Rani’s turn to join the “like” bandwagon in the earlier part of the film!)
Siddharth Anand manages to execute quite a few scenes beautifully, especially the emotional ones. One in particular is RV and Harry’s argument which was masterfully done. Also, the scenes of Princess and Champ going hungry at school wrench your heart. Rani’s outburst at Saif is fantastic as well, while the last 20 minutes of the movie keep you cheering “RV! RV! RV!”. Unfortunately, the first half does not boast of as many good scenes. At the same time, the racing scenes in the first half are adrenaline-packed.
Vishal-Shekhar’s music is catchy, but the picturisation of each track makes it even better. They’re the kind of songs that you like better after seeing on screen. ‘Hey Shona’ is soft and soothing, while ‘Ab To Forever’ and ‘Nachle Ve’ are peppy and look extremely good on screen due to great choreography (Vaibhavi Merchant). Special note should be taken of the title track which boasts of high quality animation. Cinematography by Binod Pradhan is remarkable, especially during the race sequences.
All performances are executed very well. Saif Ali Khan is the core of the film and delivers an astonishing performance. After Hum Tum, Omkara, and Eklavya, he proves that he is versatility personified. Dependable Rani as the supportive wife pitches in a great performance as well. This time, the tears do not arrive until the second half, and they don’t annoy you either! Though her wig is horrifying in the first half, she looks simply beautiful and completely natural in the second half. Of the two children, Angelina Idnani gets more scope and is extremely loveable. We don’t get to hear as much from Ali Haji, but he is adequate, and very cute. Javed Jaaferi is remarkable, though some of his dialogues are not funny. Shruti Seth is notable.
The reason Ta Ra Rum Pum scores over its blemishes is due to the subject matter. It’s a movie that makes you smile and feel good about life without being too serious. It captures the essence of the quote at the top of this review extremely well.
Overall, if you’re looking for strictly entertainment, go for Ta Ra Rum Pum. Don’t expect brilliance of any sort, but you do get your three hours worth of money. What you see is what you get. The film has never claimed to be some extraordinary feat in terms of cinematic quality, so when you venture in to the theatre, you know what you are getting into. Nice songs, good performances, a few laughs, a few tears; Ta Ra Rum Pum is sure to work with families and children, while some won’t like it at all. Go for it! Who knows, you might come out of the theatre with a smile on your face, singing Ta Ra Ra Ra Rum…Ta Ra Rum Pum.