Cast – Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon, Jim Sarbh
Directed by – Dinesh Vijan
Produced by – Dinesh Vijan, Homi Adajania, Bhushan Kumar
Written by – Siddharth-Garima
Cinematography – Martin Preiss
Edited by – A. Sreekar Prasad, Huzefa Lokhandwala
Production House – Maddock Films, T-Series
Distributed by – T-Series
Duration – 2 hours 50 minutes
Genre – Drama, Romance
The history of Bollywood cinema is peppered with tales of reincarnation and ill-fated love transcending the cycle of birth and death. Remember the epic Nutan – Sunil Dutt starrer, Milan (1967)? Let’s travel back another decade to 1958. Madhumati, the Vaijayanti Mala, Dilip Kumar starrer based on reincarnation and transmigration won the hearts of it audience. Looks like the theme is quite a hit with the average Indian filmgoer but it looks highly unlikely that Raabta will find its share of claim to fame. Sushant Singh Rajput, however, manages to outgrow his MS Dhoni image and his chemistry with Kriti Sanon is a delight to watch. Debutant director Dinesh Vijan fails to hold the movie together despite the very talented cast.
From Budapest To Bad Headache
So Raabta is a story of reincarnation, of lovers finding their way into each other’s arms overcoming trials and outwitting Death? No, not quite. Raabta opens to Shiv Kakkar (Sushant Singh Rajput) displaying his spectacularly chiseled abs against the backdrop of the Golden Temple. And right away he’s leaving for Budapest. He is a fun-loving guy, he is a playboy, a hearty friend, a banker, who goes straight to becoming an earnest lover at the sight of Indian girl chocolate maker Shaira Singh (Kirti Sanon). As Rajput is fond of asking on screen “Is this a sign, baby?” Yes, it is a sign of how clichéd and unbearable things are going to get.
Sanon has difficulty sleeping and experiences flashes from a previous birth. Enter a fat Indian seer, diviner, some summer rain, and the charming but sinister business baron Zak Merchant (Jim Sarbh). Failing to woo Sanon, he holds her hostage in his mid-sea castle. Yes, this is for real in case you’re wondering. He paints, grows hysteric at times, laughs menacingly, and remembers his past life. Eventually Sanon does too.
It is now that Raabta collapses into a confused mess. We’re taken back about 800 years to the story of two powerful tribes set in the gorgeous islands of Mauritius. Rajput at the time is a brutish warrior who falls in love with Sanon, a princess, but is murdered by Sarbh. Returning to present times, it is now up to Sanon and Rajput to prevent a replay of past events.
What’s Good, What’s Bad
Let us first take a look at all the things we really liked about Raabta. The stunning locales feature right on top. Martin Preiss has managed to capture the most beautiful sunset moments of Budapest and some breathtaking shots of Mauritius as well. It must be said that the VFX, though not quite Baahubali style, are impressive enough.
The casting is excellent. The three leading actors are among the best for their respective roles. If you think Sushant Singh Rajput was the hero, think again. Jim Sarbh’s understated but outstanding acting skills shine through. Rajput and Sanon make an amazing pair and we really look forward to seeing them together on screen again.
Deepika Padukone looks sultry and sensational in her Philipp Plein outfit (showcased at the Milan Fashion Week). The lone song cameo by Deepika could well be the highlight of the second half, though.
A shoutout to Anaita Shroff Adajania and Maxima Basu for eye-catching costumes.
Now, let us take a closer look at what lets us down. Director Dinesh Vijan’s lack of creativity is the biggest disappointment. His need to fall back on clichés – “Ladki toh main hi le jaaoonga”, dark, fat oracles predicting rains and the arrival of a handsome stranger, the need for the charming and suave anti-hero to turn morbidly hysterical – has killed the spark of Raabta. Well, in all fairness the script itself is pretty dull. A tale of reincarnation may yet have been believable without a comet that approaches earth every 800 years. The music is lack luster, though eminently hummable. The climax is outright flat.
The songs of Raabta have been composed by Pritam, Meet Bros, Saurav Roy, and JAM8. Lyricist Amitabh Bhattacharya has penned the songs with help from Irshad Kamil (Raabta and Sadda Move). Main Tera Boyfriend has been written by Kumaar. Standard Bollywood fare. None of the songs stand out.
|Ik Vaari Aa||Arijit Singh|
|Raabta (Title Song)||Arijit Singh, Nikhita Gandhi|
|Sadda Move||Diljit Dosanjh, Pardeep Singh Sran, Raftaar|
|Lambiyaan Si Judaiyaan||Arijit Singh, Shadab Faridi, Altamash Faridi|
|Main Tera Boyfriend||Arijit Singh, Meet Bros, Neha Kakkar|
|Ik Vaari Aa (Jubin Version)||Jubin Nautiyal|
Give Raabta a miss. But not if you want to drink in some of the prettiest sights in Hungary. Better yet, catch it on Amazon Prime, the film’s streaming partner.
Rating – 2 ½ *