Beware! Ranbir Kapoor has arrived—Bollywood ishtyle! With three beautiful women by his side, he carries Bachna Ae Haseeno on his shoulders. Somehow or another, he manages to give Siddharth Anand his best film yet and reels Yash Raj Films out of their pathetic flop run. Perhaps it’s the old world magic that seeps through the title track or simply a charming storyline, but Bachna is the perfect Bollywood rom-com with ample doses of humour, emotion, dancing and that mysterious ingredient we call masala.
As your typical Casanova, Raj Sharma (Ranbir Kapoor) has a devious way of sweeping beautiful women off their feet and suddenly letting them fall down. Fresh out of college, he meets Mahi (Minissha Lamba) who is busy living in her fairytale Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge world where she is searching for her Raj. When she meets him, she instantly falls head over heels until he leaves her hanging at the very last moment. Years later, we meet Radhika (Bipasha Basu) who is out to fulfill her monumentous dream of becoming a star. In Mumbai, she meets Raj and the two move in together quickly and begin a casual relationship until Raj has to pack up and move to Sydney, leaving Radhika behind. So far, it seems that as Raj travels through life, he’s developing a habit of leaving a string of broken hearts behind. Until he meets Gayatri (Deepika Padukone), that is. Here’s a woman who seems like she wants nothing from a relationship but fun; she’s independent, hard-working, witty and extremely intelligent and is the first girl to truly win over Raj’s heart. As he falls for her, Raj begins to realize just how severe his past actions might be and certain events lead him on a path of repentance and guilt. Most guys are lucky to find the perfect girl once, but Raj finds her three times. Apparently, nice guys really do finish last!
The story is hardly a novel concept, but it’s simple and entertaining and that’s really all you are looking for. As you follow Raj’s romantic escapades, as he tramples over various women, you just can’t seem to hate him. And that’s the beauty of the character—everything he does makes you want to hate him, but you can’t help but laugh along with him and root for him until the very end. The first half focuses primarily on lighter moments, establishing each character carefully before delving into a more serious second half that showcases each character’s change over the years.
There are times when the film is extremely illogical, but it makes enough sense to win you over. Humour is presented tastefully and emotional moments are way over the top—just the way we like it. Even some of the great songs by Vishal-Shekhar seem out of nowhere, but they’re picturised so beautifully that you hardly mind, thanks to Sunil Patel’s fantastic cinematography.
Walking into a film like this, you expect a breezy flick that will entertain you for two to three hours, and Bachna does exactly that. As a viewer, what more is there to ask for? In fact, in some cases, it pleasantly surprises you with great character development for the most part and witty dialogues. In the second half it drags just slightly, but the proceedings are interesting enough to hold your attention. Each of the three stories have their own distinct charm to it, which are brought out by the three women.
With ease, Minissha Lamba carries off her role with grace and just the right amount of sweetness. Whether it’s the comedy or emotional scenes, she is highly dependable. Even Deepika Padukone, who suffers from minimal screen time, is extremely charming. Her role is the worst written of the lot because of a lack of depth, but she brings confidence to her character that is highly needed. But it’s Bipasha Basu who walks away with the meatiest role and sinks her teeth into her character. Sure, she does it all with her signature glamour quotient, but you can truly see her character progress through the film. After quite a while, I am personally impressed with Bipasha who I felt was suffering from a lack of good roles in the recent past.
Effortlessly, Ranbir Kapoor packs a punch full of testosterone and all that is macho and manly into a role that allows him to truly strut his stuff and become that Bollywood alpha-male. In his second film, he is completely uninhibited and in addition to wooing the three haseeno’s, he wins the audience over as well. In Saawariya, his character was much more mellow and serene, but here he goes all out and proves that not only is he a great actor, but has unbelievable screen presence as well.
Special mention has to go to Kunal Kapoor who is absolutely perfect! The most animated character of the lot belongs to Hiten Paintal who serves as the ideal sidekick.
Recently I have been losing immense faith in commercial Hindi cinema, with almost every flick releasing turning out to be one of those ‘leave-your-brains-at-home’ entertainers. Sorry, but I prefer to keep my brain with me at all times, and Bachna allows you to do that but still takes you on an escapist adventure that you enjoy thoroughly. The script moves at the right pace, the screenplay is taut and the writing is charming enough to allow you to sit back and enjoy a truly Bollywood film.
If you don’t like this film, you might want to re-evaluate your position on Bollywood, because this is as Bollywood as it gets. We’ve been famous for romantic comedies and this holds true to that tradition. Tears and laughter—it’s all there in extravagant abundance. But somehow or the other, it works. I strongly believe that it’s just as hard to make a perfect entertainer than it is to make a deep and philosophical film, so for that Aditya Chopra and Siddharth Anand deserve recognition.
But undoubtedly, the best part of the film is Ranbir Kapoor, who reassures you that Bollywood may actually be in safe hands after all. He walks like one, talks like one and dances like one–and for this I have to bestow Ranbir with the honourable ‘hero’ tag. He’s a keeper!