Star cast: Priyanka Chopra, Ranbir Kapoor, Zayed Khan
Plot: Ranbir and Priyanka meet as strangers. Both want to end their lives, but decide to live life to the fullest for some days before committing suicide. They fall in love with one another in the few days they spend together.
What’s Good: The music (Vishal-Shekhar); the performances of Ranbir and Priyanka.
What’s Bad: The screenplay, the light moments.
Verdict: ANJAANA ANJAANI is for the weekend, after which it will find the going tough.
Loo break: Some!
Eros Entertainment and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment’s Anjaana Anjaani (UA) is the story of two strangers in the USA, Akash (Ranbir Kapoor) and Kiara (Priyanka Chopra). Both meet on a bridge from where they are about to jump to end their lives. Their suicide attempts fail and they become friends. They then decide to live their lives to the fullest for some days before finally committing suicide on 31st December.
From here on begins the fun journey of Akash and Kiara who now have a few days to live. It turns out that Kiara had been cheated by Kunal (Zayed Khan) days before the two were to get married to each other. Unable to bear the humiliation, Kiara had wanted to end her life. Akash, of course, had lost millions of dollars in business and so, he had thought of killing himself.
The two set out on adventurous journeys together as they are counting their last few days. But before 31st December, they decide to part ways just the way they had met – as strangers. Kiara returns to Kunal, and Akash to his group of business partners. But they are in denial of their love for each other. Do they accept the reality?
Mamta Anand’s story is hugely inspired by the 2007 Hollywood film, The Bucket List in which two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. Advaita Kala and Siddharth Anand’s screenplay is tedious and uninspiring. Firstly, the scenes are often so childish that it gives the impression that suicide or death is being trivialised. Secondly, the audience at no point feels for Akash and Kiara, maybe because nobody likes cowards – and suicide is the last resort of cowards.
Kiara comes across as a perpetually confused girl who is a far cry from young girls of today, who know to take charge of their lives. She wants to commit suicide, then doesn’t mind living for some days before dying, then attempts suicide again, then wants to go back to Kunal who, in the first place, drove her to attempting suicide, then wonders whether he is the right choice for her…. Sorry, the youngsters of today (the target audience of the film) will not be as patient with Kiara as Akash is. On his part, Akash also comes across as an idiot. He seems to be a supremely over-confident kid in the first scene so that his attempt at taking his own life after a business loss doesn’t ring true at all. Again, he gets into an understanding with Kiara to live life to the fullest for some days. While enjoying life with Kiara, he jumps into the ocean although he doesn’t know swimming. Soon, he starts screaming that he doesn’t know how to swim, prompting Kiara (who is also in the waters) to help him and prompting the audience to wonder why someone so keen on ending his life would scream for help when he has landed in a sure death trap. The writers would have the audience believe that he yells for assistance because he has a pact with Kiara, a complete stranger, to live till 31st December. This makes the viewer wonder if Akash is a robot who has been programmed to live for some days more or he is a human being who is keen to end his life and yet doesn’t want to die, if one may say so.
Even the journeys they undertake and the adventures they get into aren’t so enjoyable or entertaining that the audience would love for them to be a part of them. Likewise, while some of the light moments are interesting, the others are too childish to be enjoyed by the audience. Yet another drawback of the drama is that it is too stretched, slow and boring and looks contrived rather than believable. It could probably have something to do with the way in which Akash and Kiara meet – they both have come to the same spot to do the same thing, commit suicide. Are suicides so common that you bump into people wanting to end their life exactly when you want to end yours? Kiara guzzling down bottles of beer and other alcoholic drinks will also not be taken too kindly by the viewers.
It is for the reasons stated above that the audience doesn’t root for Akash and Kiara to remain together all their lives. Resultantly, therefore, there is no sorrow experienced when they separate after enjoying life together for a few days. And rarely, if ever, does a love story work when the audience is not pained at the separation of the lovers or is not praying for the two to meet. Also, there is so much of Akash and Kiara in the drama that the viewer gets bored of seeing so much of them and so little of anybody else of consequence. Emotions absolutely fail to touch the heart maybe because two losers are not the Indian audience’s idea of heroes.
Ranbir Kapoor does very well. He looks handsome, acts ably and dances gracefully. Priyanka Chopra looks sexy and performs well. In spite of both the lead actors coming out trumps, their chemistry doesn’t work for the audience if only because the script is weak and flawed. Zayed Khan is okay in a guest appearance. Joy Sengupta, Vishal Malhotra and the rest provide ordinary support.
Siddharth Anand’s direction is fair but more of the kind that would appeal to the audiences in the cities. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is very good with the title song standing out. ‘Aas paas hai khuda’ is soulful. ‘Hairat’ is another popular number. ‘I feel good’ and ‘Tujhe bhula diya’ are also entertaining songs. The picturisation of all the songs (Ahmed Khan) is quite alike and not very novel. The picturisation of the title song is the better one. Lyrics of most of the songs are meaningful. Ravi K. Chandran’s cinematography is first class. The foreign locales are a treat for the eyes. Other technical values are good. Production values are rich.
On the whole, Anjaana Anjaani doesn’t involve the viewer and looks like a forced drama. It will not find much appreciation at the ticket windows, although its business in the first weekend will be good. Average fare.