Film: I Love NY
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Sunny Deol, Navin Chowdhary, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Prem Chopra
Director: Radhika Rao, Vinay Sapru
There were reports that Kangana Ranaut didn’t want I Love NY (New Year) to be released, but now after watching the film, it seems her worries were mostly fictional. In fact, she is the one you’ll noticce the most in the film, and she doesn’t disappoint either. I Love NY is much better than its run-of-the-mill trailers, but how good is actually good enough? Let’s find out.
The film starts with a commentary in Randhir Singh’s (Sunny Deol) voice which is basically an exercise to make the ‘desi’ audience familiar with the popular American outlook. It’s just that the film has been released after being canned for some years and thus the Indian viewers have become used to such cultural and behavioural differences via other Hindi films.
Randhir Singh is a guy from Chicago who accidentally reaches New York.
Anyway, we get to know that our guy Randhir is a hard working, coffee drinking guy whose last marriage proposal was dated 10 years ago, and now he is gathering courage to pop-up the same question to his current girlfriend Riya (Tannishtha).
The really long gap between the two proposals is necessary otherwise how will the filmmakers justify a 57-year-old hero to the Indian audience? Of course, pun intended. He chooses the New Year Eve to get the long pending work done, but a series of mistakes and coincidences brings him to New York (you get the NY drift?), where he meets a school teacher Tikku Verma (Kangana Ranaut), described as the president of unlucky club by her boyfriend Ishaan (Navin Chowdhary). This ‘chance’ encounter is the actual beginning of a story which can at least boast of sensible dialogues.
Kangana plays a school teacher Tikku in the film.
A basic initiation is needed before we delve deeper into the nitty-gritties of a ‘why did you happen to me’ sort of tale in New York. In case, you don't have any direct reference to American pop culture then you can also consider Friends as a source of information. There things like handing over the keys of your apartment to somebody you’re dating is considered as the penultimate step towards getting married. In a nutshell, New York is a city which is a great mixture of traditional and modern. In such a city, Ishaan finds a ‘gharelu ladki’ who he accuses of being the ‘titli’ type.
A girl who wants to be happy even at the darkest point of her life is at the helm of affairs, but her back-story has been presented in a very ordinary way. Tikku’s Monica-like apartment may hint towards a modern outlook, but the letters from her dead father which she keeps reading at every possible opportunity present her as the conscience keeper of the semi-urban Indian women.
But, there’s a tinge of a feminist in her character which manages to make Tikku Verma a girl to root for. The directors (Radhika and Vinay) have taken the utmost care in representing their characters in the typical western way which brings a sense of equality between opposite genders.
Kangana has come up with a good performance in I Love NY.
It's not an attempt to imply that we’re incapable of doing the same, but American shows and films have stronger female characters. And, this is what I like the most about this film. Even if Ishaan uses negative connotations for Tikku, he does avoid the loud gestures we’re accustomed to. And, please be clear, I am strictly talking about the differences between the films of two separate time zones.
Randhir is also not our otherwise angry Sunny Paaji who would destroy an entire nation to save his girl. He is a cool, calm and composed guy who confesses that New York has made him ‘besharam’ (shameless), though he means it more like ‘outspoken’. Who wouldn’t love his hopping dance in the song ‘Gud naal ishq mitha’!
For once, he has come out of his comfort zone of mindless action sequences. The pairing may look a bit odd to some due to the vast age difference between the two lead actors, but 50-year-olds are also allowed to fall in love, right?
So, who'll win this battle of love?
The writing is not flawless despite good dialogues and the turn of events sometimes looks forced, but good one-to-one scene compensates for it. And then some really good songs come to the rescue. It is hard to imagine Sunny Deol in such a role but casting him wasn’t a bad idea at all, and the actor has reciprocated in his own capacity. He is not afraid to show his flabby belly and that’s a big thing to achieve as mainstream filmmakers for Radhika-Vinay. You see, this willingness to keep things normal makes I Love NY a good watch.
Yes, it appears funny when Reema Lagoo says ‘ye ladka to heera hai heera’ for Sunny Deol, but barring a few instances, he acts his age unlike other 50-something actors who’re hell bent on making 20-somethings fall for them.
Watch the review here
I Love NY will remain in your memory, provided you are willing to watch it, as a film where Kangana Ranaut and Sunny Deol tried honestly to come up with a believable love story. Avoid pre-conceived notions, it's a film worth a try.
(Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/ @nawabjha)
Read other film reviews here.