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Ajab Gazabb Love

 

Hindi, Comedy, Drama, Romance, 2012, Color



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Heir to a billion-dollar automobile empire, Rajveer Grewal (Jackky Bhagnani) has it all, a loving family, riches of the world, and a dream job designing cars. He falls head-over-heels in love with Madhuri (Nidhi Subbaiah), who is a strong advocate of social justice and equality. To his dismay, Rajveer learns that she 'hates' all rich people and will have nothing to do with a rich boy like himself. So, Rajveer decides to give it all up and pretend to be the 'poorest of the poor' in order to win her affection and love. A comedy of errors ensues as Rajveer and his ultra-rich lavish family attempt to play the parts of poor slum-dwellers and in doing so turn into a dysfunctional bunch of over-the-top actors. As this 'riches to rags' story takes one hysterical turn after another, how long will they succeed in keeping up this charade? And is there something Madhuri is hiding from the family herself?



Father Of The Year, Vashu Bhagnani, is back. Again, he is simply not foolishly staking his entire reputation and life's work just to be able to re-re-re-re-launch his hard-working son Jackky. Though his previous effort F.A.L.T.U was panned by most critics, it was declared a hit not least because it tried its best, though naively, to bring across a message that dealt with an important issue - Indian Education. If anything, It was the anti-Aarakshan of 2011, and both worked with the audience to an extent. Hence, keeping in mind the relevance of such social messages and the chord they strike with us emotional movie-goers, Bhagnani has assembled a smart team headed by ex-Dhoom boy Sanjay Gadhvi to bring us Ajab Gazabb Love.

And it's actually not as bad as it sounds. Once you overlook the impending doom surrounding the title, and if you can ignore son Jackky's sinking attempt to break into Bollywood again, this film entertains bizarrely and in a far more acceptable manner than Sajid Khan or Anees Bazmi's brand of slapstick clown-springing projects. It begins in the usual schmaltzy removed-from-reality manner, introducing to us a household of presumably loud, over-the-top characters and the mango of their eye, son Jackky, who still cannot emote to save his life. A song here, and a proud baring of his six-packs there, but the star still refuses to shine. Rich boy has great values, designs DC (Dream Car) for Papa's company, doting Mom wants DB (Dream Bahu) instead, goes on vacation to Italy with fat friend who never appears again as if to tell us this is no INDIE film, boy falls in love with rich-hating poor girl in Mumbai (why she hates the rich, we will never find out), decides to act poor to win her over. So far, so walk-out-boring.

But then, unexpectedly, the fun begins. Rich poor boy convinces his family to act poor too, and even rents a hut next to Sea-link to continue with the act. Here is where Kirron Kher gets things rolling with her blind poor mother act. She overacts outrageously, and it goes surprisingly well with the situation. And when head honcho dad Darshan Jariwala himself gets in on the act as a banana-seller poor dad (just for his son, mirroring Vashu's own real story), there are more than a couple of scenes that form the backbone of a decent situational comedy. There is always something about a dhoti-clad millionaire stepping out of his silver rolls to sell bananas at a market...

Detaching itself from screwball madness, the film enters 90s Govinda territory, with the lead couple taking a backseat and letting better things roll. With the domestic help and family exchanging identities for a large portion of the film, Jariwala and Kher show impeccable timing, and make you quickly forget a mediocre first 30 minutes. Warsi's hilarious cameo is the high point, and one wonders why the guy isn't doing more films.

Gadhvi then pulls out a trump card we didn't expect - the introduction of the girl's family. He demonstrates remarkable technical efficiency here, and makes an Arjun Rampal double-role look quite convincing. All that Dhoom training at YRF seems to have given him the strength to rise above the disastrous Kidnap, with this near-ingenious idea. What's more, Rampal looks much more convincing here as a feared landlord brother-duo from Bhopal, than he does in any of his Prakash Jha efforts. There is a rich-poor message at the end, conveyed with the usual emotional manipulation, which looks very forced, just like the foreign-locale vacation songs interrupting some inspired funny moments.

Fortunately for Jackky, he is overshadowed by an experienced cast and crew who have clearly decided to let their hair loose. And despite lead actress Nidhi Subbaiah's astoundingly stilted dialogue-delivery, all is almost forgiven when Warsi makes the single R-rated joke at the end of the 'Happy Ending' story.

- Rahul Desai aka Reel Reptile







 

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