Bollywood review: Prabudheva’s ‘Ramaiya Vastavaiya’ isn’t for everybody

You need to be of a certain type to be able to endure Bollywood romances, especially when the lovers break into a song-and-dance routine at every crucial point in their life, and go through a fair amount of grief and separation because of objecting parents/siblings only to reunite in ‘happily ever after’.

That’s not all, love always blossoms between the opposites. The man is often unabashedly boisterous, excessively rich and enjoys teasing his woman into submission, while the woman is often poor, overtly traditional and willing to be wooed in the most unromantic manner.

The lovers are always good, while the ones objecting to their romance always evil.

And, love inevitably grants the couple with strange super-powers, enabling them to overcome any hurdle and counter any torture with ease.

So, when the lead pair makes their on-screen entry in slow-motion as the camera highlights their every feature, over blaring background score, possibly to ensure they don’t go unnoticed, you know it’s going to be run-of-the-mill.

The quintessential Bollywood fairytale is painfully predictable and excessively indulgent.

Dancing superstar Prabhudeva’s third film (after blockbusters ‘Wanted’ and ‘Rowdy Rathore’) is devoid of any big stars and stays safely formulaic.

A remake of his Telugu directorial debut ‘Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana’, Prabhu invests in every cliché in the Bollywood rulebook, without ever attempting something new or original.

Ram is an Australian-born rich brat, who flies to India with his snooty mommy, to attend his cousin’s wedding. During the festivities, he bumps into his cousin’s bestie Sona. They don’t hit it off initially, but eventually end up feeling “something-something” for each other.

Their love is short-lived as his mother finds him another match, who is far more suited to their wealthy status. She then humiliates and throws Sona and her brother Raghuvir out.

The heartbroken Sona returns to her simple life in the village.

But, Ram follows her and is determined to win over her brother, who had singlehandedly raised her after they were orphaned at a young age.

Raghuvir, however, isn’t ready to oblige and subjects Ram through a rigorous farming exercise to test the depth of his love.

Prabhu’s rom-com appears to be a strange concoction of earlier Bollywood romances. The first-half reminds us of ‘Hum Apke Hai Kaun’ and ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’, while the second-half is inspired by ‘Pyaar Kiya To Darna Kya’.

But, unlike the names we’ve mentioned earlier, ‘Ramaiya Vastavaiya’ wouldn’t make it in the same league only because there’s no soul in this love story.

Everything else is in abundance, from dances to sets, to over-the-top characters, there’s nothing quite low-key in this romance. With only Sonu Sood singled out as the sole sober performer. All the others indulge in heavyduty melodrama.

Shruti Haasan comes a close second with her timid portrayal of Sona. She’s fairly bearable and showcases immense improvement, but Shiraz Ahmed’s screenplay is way too distorted to give her any real standing. What it does allow her is to flaunt her gorgeous features.

Debutant Girish Taurani is allowed to monkey around incessantly, leaving us and his ladylove rather exhausted. We are constantly reminded of Fardeen Khan’s hyper act in ‘Khushi’.

And, when he’s not bouncing off the walls, he’s busy romancing or eating extra spicy food and cleaning up the cowshed. On the positive side, he displays a ribbed body and dances with impressive grace, making ‘Ramaiya Vastavaiya’ as an excellent audition tape for the actor.

Veterans Randhir Kapoor, Satish Shah and Nasser clown around, (rarely) evoking a chuckle, while Vinod Khanna and Poonam Dhillon play the good and the bad with maturity.

Prabhu also makes an appearance, alongside item girl Jacqueline Fernandes in a funky dance number, while famed choreographer Ganesh Acharya also prances around.

Considering Prabhu’s forte lies in dance, the songs are choreographed in his fun trademark moves, but that’s not enough to base an entire movie on.

We suggest you wait for telly viewing or rent out the DVD, because it allows you to switch channels or turn it off in case of any allergic reaction. If nothing, it’d work out cost-efficient.

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