Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani

YOU MAY ASSUME that Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani‘s hill station sets are so patently fake that irony is intended. But once you get past that, the film is for most part easy viewing, if rather overlong. From its comic strip opening credits to the last frame in which Prem (Ranbir Kapoor) chastely pecks Jenny (Katrina Kaif) on the cheek and chortles, Ajab is consistently fun for a ten year old. Prem (Ranbir Kapoor) is a sweet wastrel, focussed only on getting starcrossed lovers together. When he eventually meets Jenny (Katrina Kaif), he has to deploy a lot of that ingenuity for himself. A frame in which the Happy Club boys are luxuriating in sloth particularly makes you wonder why this film was not sold as a summer blockbuster for kids.

But Santoshi has always had an attractive sense of humour — not just in the Master Gogo and omelette ka Badshah-filled Andaz Apna Apna. Damini’s Meenakshi Seshadri was one of the few heroines of that decade with good lines, but the vastly underappreciated insanity of Lajja is where to look for Santoshi’s turn for irony. In the midst of melodrama, you realise the one-armed thakur is the villain and the low-caste daku is the good guy. When the thakur’s other arm is chopped off, one can only applaud the excess.

This Disneyfied production has neither the goofball unpredictability of Andaz Apna Apna nor the quiet evil of Lajja. You see mere traces of that interesting Santoshi. Just when you have recovered from the political incorrectness of a muscular troop of ‘attack’ hijras protecting a woman, up comes a sequence in which you have the woman and her Muslim lover thanking Prem for rescuing her from her terrifying Hindu husband. Santoshi then dispenses this couple (in over-the-top 1980s film style ‘Muslim’ clothes) off to Goa! You can hear Santoshi chuckling at this shot in the arm for the love jihad.

The film does have the pie-throwing energy of Ranbir Kapoor. His loosey-goosey charm is perfectly matched by a Katrina Kaif dressed like a Wonder Years girl. Kaif only annoys occasionally when she calls her hero ‘Pram’ like the the 1990s Indi-pop horror Jasmine Bharucha. If family viewing concedes to adult and nonanodyne tastes you may prefer to avoid Ajab and take everyone to a two-hour dastan-goi performance with magicians, violence, frank ribaldry, no concessions to realism and, oh yes, wit.

Published here.

3 comments:

you remember jasmine???

she was my classmate in college. and shweta shetty too- johnny johnny joker, remember?


i belong to the time when the worst in the history of music videos were produced with earnestness.

November 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM  

nooooo! really??

November 18, 2009 at 8:01 PM  

easy viewing for the most part...
really babe!
i think t'was one of the worst i watched in 2009! thank god i went to friendly neighborhood theatre - Everest and only paid Rs.70/-

December 7, 2009 at 5:22 PM  

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