RAABTA

T-Series and Maddock Films’ Raabta (UA) is a reincarnation love story.

Shiv (Sushant Singh Rajput) is a banker who wears his heart on his sleeve. His job takes him to Budapest with his close friend, Raadha (Varun Sharma). Being the incorrigible flirt that he is, Shiv falls head over heels in love with Saira (Kriti Sanon) as soon as he meets her in Budapest. Saira is alone in the world, having lost her parents in an accident. Saira often gets nightmares about drowning.

Saira already has a boyfriend, Manav (Vikas Verma), whom she dumps once she meets Shiv. Why, she even shares the bed with Shiv while her affair with Manav is on – because she feels a connection with him (Shiv). Soon, there comes on the scene Zakir Merchant (Jim Sarbh) who takes an instant liking for Saira. Shiv has to go out of Budapest for a week for office work. Zakir and Saira meet once again when Shiv is away. Zakir spikes Saira’s drink and kidnaps her, holding her captive in his huge mansion in a secluded island near Budapest.

Saira is devastated when she wakes up in Zakir’s house. It is now clear to her that Zakir is mentally unstable. He shows Saira pictures of hers, which he has. He tells her that they were together in their previous births but couldn’t marry one another and that he had always been in search of her and would now marry her. Since Saira had told him that she loved Shiv, he also informs her that he would kill Shiv. Saira attempts suicide by jumping into the sea but she is rescued. Anyway, once she jumps into the waters, Saira’s past life comes to her mind. She correlates her nightmares with her past life.

In her previous life, Saira was princess Saiba (Kriti Sanon) who was to marry Kaabir (Jim Sarbh). But warrior Jilaan (Sushant Singh Rajput) had come and declared war on Saiba and Kaabir’s village. In order to save her villagers and the village, Saiba had agreed to marry Jilaan. Soon after Saiba and Jilaan’s marriage, Kaabir had shot at Jilaan and then thrown him into the sea, letting him drown to his death. Saiba had also killed herself by jumping into the sea. In their new births, Saiba, Jilaan and Kaabir had been born again as Saira, Shiv and Zakir respectively. Destiny had once again thrown them together in this birth too.

Soon, Shiv reaches Kaabir’s mansion and sees Saira ready to slip the engagement ring in Kaabir’s finger. Not the one to give up so easily, he runs away with Saira. But the eccentric Zakir is no less. He and his men are hot on the trail of Shiv and Saira.

Will Saira marry Shiv or Zakir? Or will the love stories remain incomplete this time also?

Siddharth-Garima have written a story which is dated. For the audience of today to find a reincarnation love story interesting and believable is doubtful – more so, because the story has absolutely no novelty and is much like the reincarnation love stories of the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. The writer duo has etched out the characters of Shiv/Jilaan, Saira/Saiba and Zakir/Kaabir so poorly that the audience’s sympathy goes to neither. The viewers hardly experience an adrenaline rush when Shiv and Saira meet or when Jilaan and Saiba wed. Likewise, they couldn’t care less when Shiv and Saira are separated or when Jilaan and Saiba’s love story ends soon after they get married. Besides, to show the villain – in this case, Zakir – as a mentally unsound person is quite an easy way out for the writers, to ensure that the audience would hate him.

Siddharth-Garima’s screenplay is long-drawn and appears to be going on and on endlessly, in circles. As if the present-day love story is not boring enough, the love story of the past birth comes as an assault on the viewer’s sensibilities. None of the love stories engages the audiences who, therefore, feel completely and absolutely disconnected from the drama. To say that the screenplay is confused and, therefore, confusing for the viewers, would not be an exaggeration. What’s more, the haunting quality of a reincarnation love story is totally missing. Instead, what the screenplay offers is frivolity and forced coolness, both of which irritate the audience. So much importance is given to sex and intimacy that it actually serves to put the audience off the love story, robbing as it does the love story of its purity. And this is catastrophic for a reincarnation film.

Frankly, there is not a single scene in the screenplay which is heart-warming. Consequently, the viewers passively watch the reincarnation drama unfold. Siddharth-Garima’s dialogues are as pathetic as their screenplay. Many of them are so terrible that they make the viewers cringe in their seats.

Sushant Singh Rajput is miscast. The role of a cool dude does not suit him one bit and although Sushant acts well, he is unable to carry off the role with the attitude that’s required. Sushant does not have the image or the fan following to carry off the role. His constant bragging about being a crowd-puller and the like seems like a bad joke because when he is unable to endear himself to the audience, what is he talking about? His dialogue delivery is so fast and sometimes so unclear that one has to strain his ears to understand him. Kriti Sanon goes through her role quite mechanically. Rather than immersing herself completely into the character, she often performs superficially or feelinglessly. Jim Sarbh is average and fails to make a mark. Varun Sharma has an inconsequential role and does not rise above it. Rajkumar Rao, as head of the Mur­aaki tribe, is wasted in a role that offers Rao nothing substantive; worse still, his get-up, as a very old man, would make him unrecognisable! Deepika Padukone exudes oomph and glamour in an item song. Vikas Verma (as Manav), Suneel Sinha (as the king), Karan Singh Chhabra (as Happy), Jashan Prit Singh (as Golu), Navneet Singh (as Lucky), Aaital Khosla (as the friend), Rachita Singh (as the astrologer), Rina Fatania (as Maya) and Tess Georgia Dimos (as Melissa) lend routine support. Geeta Agarwal Sharma (as Shiv’s mother, Gurmeet Kaur) overacts to the hilt. Vinod Chaddha (as Shiv’s father, Gurmeet Singh) provides weak support. Others barely pass muster.

Dinesh Vijan’s direction is dull. His narration is so bland that the insipid script becomes unbearable for the audience. Music (by Jam8) is a mixed fare. ‘Ek variya’ is a very well-tuned and appealing number. The remixed version of the ‘Raabta’ song is good. Lyrics (Irshad Kamil and Amitabh Bhattacharya) are of a good standard. Except for the ‘Raabta’ song, choreography (Ahmed Khan and Ashley Lobo) is nothing to shout about. Sachin-Jigar’s background music could’ve been far better. Martin Preiss’ cinematography is nice. Keecha Khamphakdee’s action and stunt scenes are functional and lack thrill. Parichit Paralkar’s production designing is nice. Editing (A. Sreekar Prasad and Huzefa Lokhandwala) leaves a lot to be desired.

On the whole, Raabta is a terribly boring fare which will meet with a disastrous fate at the box-office.

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