Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (live action movie), via Netflix

Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is an Indian romantic comedy (maybe an inspirational romantic comedy, due to the mentions of God throughout, particularly at the end?). I loved it, even though it was almost three hours long and I had to take multiple breaks. It's such a sweet movie.

At the beginning of the movie, we see Surinder taking his new bride, Taani, to his home. It's incredibly awkward, and we soon learn why: they've only just met. In a flashback, we see Surinder, a beloved former student of Taani's father, at the preparations for Taani's wedding...to another man. It's a love match, and everyone is happy, although poor Surinder has quietly and painfully fallen in love with Taani at first sight.

All this happiness is ruined when Taani learns that her fiance has been killed in an accident. Her father promptly has a massive heart attack, and, on his death bed, says that he would rest easier if Taani married Surinder, who he has always felt would be perfect for her. Taani and Surinder agree and are soon married.

Surinder was adorable, right from the start. He was so awkward and shy and desperate to make Taani happy. While Taani was still peeking uncomfortably at what she thought would be their bed, he was quickly packing up everything he needed. Even though it was an obvious lie, he told her that he always slept in the attic anyway, and she could have the bedroom. Problem solved. Everything Surinder did during those early days just melted my heart.

Thankfully, Taani soon came out of hiding on her own. She was still grieving, but she didn't want to embarrass Surinder. She'd willingly agreed to marry him, so she'd work at being a good wife to him. However, she was also honest with him: she told him flat out that she'd never love him and didn't think she had it in her to love anymore. Surinder told her that was okay, because it wasn't like he knew what love was anyway, so he wouldn't know what he was missing. Just the fact that she came out and greeted his coworkers and made him lunch was enough love for him. But a small part of him still hoped she'd slowly begin to feel for him what he felt for her.

I need to take a moment – I am once again overcome by a desire to give Surinder a hug.

Okay. Anyway, Surinder didn't want the happy, vibrant Taani he fell in love with to fade away, so he agreed to Taani's request to start taking dance lessons and participate in a dance competition. However, he couldn't help but want to see her while she was dancing and happy, so he asked for his stylist best friend's help. This accidentally resulted in him becoming Taani's dancing partner. From that point on, he lived a sort of double life – Surinder at home with Taani, and “Raj” at the dance classes.

I admit, as soon as Raj appeared, I had to look at spoilers. I needed to know if this overbearing, flirtatious, painfully macho joker that Surinder thought Taani would prefer was going to stick around, or if he was going to mellow out later on. I can say from experience that the spoilers didn't ruin the movie for me, and they made a few things easier to handle. Surinder's alter ego was a bit much, but even his Raj persona couldn't completely overpower his basic kindness.

The important thing to remember during the entire movie was that, above all else, Surinder wanted to make Taani happy. Yes, he loved her and wanted her to love him back, but not as much as he wanted her to be happy. Once I truly realized that, it just about broke my heart.

Surinder made some stupid decisions in this movie and didn't always think things through. Bobby, his best friend, was the voice of the audience, shouting at him to tell Taani the truth. But Surinder wanted to make Taani happy, and he didn't think he could do it as himself. His low opinion of himself was painful. Still, it was a very big lie, and it got bigger and more tangled as the story progressed. I worried about what would happen once Taani learned the truth.

I knew from reading spoilers that Taani would forgive Surinder when he finally revealed the truth to her, but I dreaded that moment, because I was sure that it would feel contrived and unconvincing. Amazingly, it worked beautifully - the way the flashbacks were arranged was perfect. I recommend keeping tissues on hand.

I consider this my favorite of all the Indian films I've seen so far. I still have terrible stamina for long films, but this one was absolutely worth it. (Although I could have done without the part with the enraged sumo wrestler.)

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