Movie Review: ANJAANA ANJAANI (2010)
I’m a huge fan of dark comedies, black humor, whatever you wanna call it– be it the old school GOL MAAL (1979), FARGO (1996) or even the more recent THANK YOU FOR SMOKING (2005). And despite its commercial look and feel, I honestly thought within the first 10 minutes of ANJAANA ANJAANI, that it too would be a morbidly funny movie. I was ever so wrong. But then again, what else could I expect from the director that brought us other steaming loads like SALAAM NAMASTE and TA RA RUM PUM…
Rating: 2 Out Of 5 Stars
A premise that sees two people whose paths intersect while both unsuccessfully attempt to kill themselves multiple times, who then develop a pact with the intention of committing suicide together to ensure success, should be full of awesome moments of uncomfortable highlarity. But sadly, ANJAANA ANJAANI goes from a movie with such potential… to becoming just another commercially polished Bollywood extravaganza of crap.
The problem lies, not with the film itself, but the industry and it’s mentality of trying to cater a movie to everyone and anyone willing to watch. This movie is crammed full of 17 different genres that change gears every 5 minutes. I had a hard time trying to understand what the director wanted this movie to be; a family friendly entertainer, an intense drama, a heartwarming love story, an unconventional comedy… or what?!
The Indian Industry takes an story of a movie, and tries to modify it to fit a commercially mainstream market by filling it with popular and chart climbing songs, youthful look to the actors regardless of if it goes with their character or not, and moments that go through the entire rainbow of film genres without ever settling on one over all tone.
Getting back to ANJAANA ANJAANI, the leads’—Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra—performances are pretty good, in the sense that they shift back and forth between, funny and emotional and serious and intense and aloof and moronic very seamlessly. Again, due to the potpourri of things the movie tries to be, a lot of the scenes fall flat in their effectiveness. For instance, the bond between the two grow deeper after Chopra’s character is hospitalized after another failed suicide attempt, during which Ranbir’s character falls in love with her. Now, the seriousness of this entire sequence becomes redundant, because the whole point of the story is that they are trying to kill themselves. So how can I be emotionally vested and feel sympathy for the character after she fails to kill herself, when that’s what she’s been trying to do from Scene 1?!? Yet the entire sequence plays like an emotionally heart warmer complete with soulful song montage and all.
The second act works like a typical Bollywood film, with the saddened hero realizing the heroine still loves her ex, and for her happiness decides to reunite them out of the self sacrificing goodness of his heart that’s churned out great Indian films from the days of young Shah Rukh Khan. Of course before the end credits the heroine realizes her true love and it’s a mad dash to yada yada blah blah. Cliché.
ANJAANA ANJAANI had a lot of potential to be a uniquely black comedy and be completely unseen before in the Industry as a weird and quirky comedy as the ones mentioned above. There are moments of funny-ness of course, like the scene where they decide to take turns and suffocate the other with saran wrap, only to realize that the first one with his face wrapped, will be unable to do the same for the other. Unfortunately those few funny moments in a movie that starts off unique, but becomes the typical Bollywood love story… is irrelevant, much like the movie itself.
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