'Love is blind' and 'love knows no caste, color and is selfless', a cliché that we hear and use all the time. In modern times, everyone wonders if such 'love' really exists, as the feeling is fading and all relationships are more convenience based. But the duo - director Aanand L. Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma, have managed to present a beautiful story 'Raanjhanaa' that is the 'rebirth' of pure love and that too in the holy city of Banaras.
Kundan (Dhanush) is the son of a Hindu priest, an over-the-edge kid who loves being the leader of his group, and at a nascent age he falls in love with a Muslim girl Zoya (Sonam Kapoor). With time, his feelings only get more intense; while in school he manages to propose Zoya and gets rejected right away.
Impressed by his perseverance, Zoya gets attracted to Kundan too, however, when her parents learn about their daughter falling for a Hindu boy, they ship her to her aunt's house in another state. Good grades get Zoya to Delhi College and that changes her life forever as she falls in love with Daljeet (Abhay Deol), a student activist and a budding politician. After 8-long years, Zoya returns to Banaras and Kundan is still madly in love with her while she wants to marry Daljeet, and then what follows is betrayal, blood and politics.
Kundan is a character that needs conviction and purity, and Dhanush perfectly fits the bill, as there is something about him that makes you believe in whatever he says. Dhanush portrays different shades with panache; he is funny, will make you smile and cry at times too. As for the South drawl, director Rai has reasoned it out by showing Kundan's ancestors as being from Tamil Nadu.
Dhanush makes a smashing debut that will be applauded by the Bollywood fraternity. Sonam has evolved as an actress; she takes giant steps in 'Raanjhanaa'; she looks beautiful as Zoya. The scene where she is emoting her personal pain in a street play is very impressive, and finally the actress will get her dues. Abhay Deol makes a deep impact in his small role and proves his mettle. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub as Kundan's friend is hilarious; he adds the humor quotient to the movie. Swara Bhaskhar is lovable; once again she proves that she knows her craft really well. Shilpi Marwaha as Abhay's sister is casted aptly for the role.
A.R. Rahman's music is the soul of 'Raanjhanaa', his tunes 'Tu Mun Shudi' and 'Tum Tak' add weight to the story and unifies with the movie. Director Aanand L. Rai makes magic; he creates the perfect atmosphere and moments when Kundan rides the scooter in the Ganges, and the scenes from the protest rallies.
Himanshu Sharma writes an original script and screenplay; especially the way he weaves romance with religion and politics is commendable. Cinematographer Natarajan Subramaniam makes the movie a visual treat. Editor Hemal Kothari does a decent job; just wish few scenes towards the end were trimmed.
'Raanjhanaa' is a soulful love story set in the heart of India; it is a celebration for all diehard romantics.