Saturday, August 25, 2007

see it for Vijay Raaz: Raghu Romeo

Raghu Romeo is an funny little film I stumbled across on Jaman. Despite having read a bit about its writer/director, Rajat Kapoor, somehow I'd never heard a thing about it - and I hope if any of you have seen it, you'll post in with your thoughts on it. Raghu (Vijay Raaz - yay!) is a waiter in a dance bar, where he quietly defends dancer Sweety (Saddiya Siddiqui) from over-attentive attentions from a bhai (Saurabh Shukla). But his energies are elsewhere - mainly channeled into staring at his tv dream girl, soap opera star Reshma (Maria Goretti). The paths of all four cross, and both wacky antics and commentary on fantasy and celebrity ensue.

While I'll give it a solid A for effort, for me this movie came off as lopsided. Sometimes it was clever and biting - a laughing club is the backdrop for an attempted assassination, an imaginary song-and-dance routine breaks out on a tv set - but other times it just went nowhere or had major plot elements that were inexplicable (and not in the fun way) - namely, once he gets his chance to be up close and personal with Reshma (whom he usually calls "Neeta," her character's name), Raghu switches from sweet and shy to domineering and teasing. I understand that Raghu is doing what he thinks he has to do to save his fantasy life and the central figure thereof, but it's an unattractive change that I don't think he really learns anything from.

When it works, the weaving of fancy with reality is quite funny, and the movie is strongest when it plays Raghu's imaginary life against his reality or the real drama in the lives of his friends against the scripted drama inside the soap opera. Like many movies, it's much stronger in the first part and begins to lose its oomph about two-thirds of the way through (it doesn't have an official intermission, but the plot provides a natural before/after dividing line). I was also very satisfied by all of the components of the sweet ending, some of which were quite a surprise.

The director's own website has a lot of great information about the making of the movie, much of which is as good a story as the movie itself. Kapoor also lists reasons to watch the movie, many of which I disagree with (he says it's about "real people" - how many bar dancers, mobsters, and tv stars do you know?), but it's always fun to read what the director hoped for the impact of the film.

Here's a clip with Raghu in full-on imaginary world.
Raghu Romeo

5 comments:

Nitin said...

Hello Beth -
* I really liked the movie. Its an actual hatke movie. The character sketch of Raghu is fictional but sometimes it seems so real and truly reflect the star bias of indians. India is definitely a celeb following country and this movie puts it nicely thru raghu. (just see how people want sanjay dutt to be free even though he is criminal - me too :) )

* I liked the story, even the part when raghu changes in front of neeta. To me it just reflects raghu's over protective nature. Also the small flirts between raghu and neeta when sweety was there were too good. (The discussion on who makes better salad - woow ) . Other incidents like raghu mortaring a wall in the door were amazing..

* I liked something or other in each part of the movie. be it be raghu & neeta, raghu and sweety, or just plan sweety , or raghu's home - his TV , his leaky roof, his mom .. I like it allll .Its too good move.

* BTW, you may checkout lousy review of mine at http://www.chakpak.com/movie/raghu-romeo/reviews/15852

ggop said...

Beth,
I found the subtitles in the clip horribly rude. e.g. What I would have translated as get the hell out of here became get the f*** out of here.

I'm sure if this movie is relayed on TV or in the theaters here it wouldn't have such bad language. I don't get the aggression for the online movie clip.

Thanks for sharing jaman.com - I never knew of the site. :-)

Mahima said...

Hi Beth,

I have been a fan of the director Rajat Kapoor for a long time now. When you get the chance, check out his movie 'Mixed Doubles' with Ranvir Sheorey and Konkana Sen Sharma, two of the most natural 'actors' I have seen in like, forever! Its a smart, sensible and funny movie that I'm sure you'll enjoy. You can tell how much Mr. Kapoor has improved as a director in how he handles his self-written script as well as his actors.

Totally Basmatic said...

I think I need to admit that firstly, I tend to visit your blog obsessively several times a day, so I've gotten very accustomed to your headers. That being said, I really like the new one of SRK whispering in your ear ;).

I wish I had something poignant or profound to say about your post, but we all know that poignant and profound ain't my thang.

Manish said...

he says it's about "real people" - how many bar dancers, mobsters, and tv stars do you know?

Ever lived in Bombay? ;)