Please bear with the length of the review. And no it is not the case of “If I had to bear it , so should you” It’s just that this movie requires such an analysis. But I believe that this would definitely be worth the length. Also, I made it a point to sleep on it and then write this, because right after the film, you feel like ripping it apart.
Its plot is something like this. An NRI is looking for a suitable bride, so that he can inherit his uncle’s fortune and save his brother who is a lot of debt. He has read this book which says that there are 10 varieties of girls according to their Sun signs. So he decides to meet 10 different girls of corresponding Sun Signs.
The movie starts with its usual introductions, then it turns a corner and gives us something new to think about and then some song arrives, some comedic interludes and then it unravels some more until it reaches the interval and leaves us with a twist or a sudden increase in pace; after which it unfolds some more and gives us a bit of a rest with some more songs and comedy and then finally runs at full steam towards the finish line.
On the other hand Whats ur Rashee has a very simple one dimensional plotline. Something like this
The movie starts with the usual introductions, sets up the problem and then the solution of the problem takes a decade to unravel. Its just one meeting after another; and another; and another. It provides only a few variations in terms of character definition but overall it remains absurdly one dimensional. Many films are like this, but none is almost 4 hours long!! The plotline resembles that of a dying patient ,who finally passes away and that’s what happens to you in the theater!
Now when you write a story/screenplay for a movie the most important requirement is how to manipulate the audience interest level / involvement in the story. The ideal involvement of the audience is something like this –
The audience comes in with certain expectations and then as the story unfolds the level of interest keeps growing uniformly. But in realistic terms the graph would look something like this for a good film.
The level of interest increases and then keeps wavering till you finally reach the climax where the involvement is at its peak.
For an epic Saga like “Whats ur Rashee” the graph looks something like this.
Now, you come in with some minimum expectation and then you get involved. Its quiet pleasing for the first hour. For a bit later, the involvement increases, beyond which because of the one dimensional plot line, the interest begins to waiver and then starts declining and declining, until it turns to a certain level of disinterest. When it reaches its 4th hour of running (D) your level of disinterest is as stagnant as the plotline and finally there is spike towards the final lap. You are enraged now and feel like ripping the seats of the theater.
There is no doubt that Ashutosh Gowariker is a master director, but sometimes masters become narcissists or extremely self indulgent. Suraj Leela Bhansali / Kamal Hassan for instance. To make a movie on an easy going, one dimensional script is alright, but to then stretch it to an almost neverending saga is plain stupid. The same story in 2 hours would be extremely charming. He could well have fast forwarded through a few dames / sun signs and focused on a few. Approx 2 hours of this movie, off and on, shows the true class of the master director because this movie has some brilliant moments. Some instances are brilliantly scripted.
Also, the decision to insert a song for every sign is simply unforgivable. Every time a song arrives you think you are in a concentration camp being slowly poisoned to death. Though the songs are not that bad, but there is a limit to everything.
About the performances. Well Harman Baweja looks and acts like a true “Champu”. Though there is some level of potential in there somewhere but right now he does not have the personality or the screen presence or the talent to handle a movie singlehandedly. Fortunately, there is Priyanka Chopra, who sleep walks through the plethora of roles. Though everytime she comes in a new avatar you somehow feel it’s the same person, but she does it with such ease and panache that you surely believe that this is an actress in top form. There is one character I liked the most and that was of DiIip joshi. He has supreme comedic timing. Awesome.
Well, I could tell you some more about the useless subplots , the absurd explanation given by the grandpa for all girls looking similar to this guy or about the ridiculously brain dead ending, but I should also probably conclude this epic review by thinking “what if the director had edited this movie crisply, penned it considering the audience in mind?” then this would have been an extremely enjoyable film. Or else he could release it in parts on television as a series. But as off now, it is a test of endurance. Watch it if you must in a theater else wait for the DVD release. But surely a DVD viewing is highly recommended because it does have its bits of pure genius.
Rating : 4 / 10 –– 1) because 50% of the movie is awesome 2) Priyanka’s performance !!! 3) Ok, it definitely needs to match “Wanted” …