Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif
Direction: Rajkumar Santoshi
Salman Khan’s in fact is an Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani: Weird Prem’s Crazy Story. Like his top contemporaries at present, the actor started out at the end of the ’80s; playing a character called Prem (Maine Pyar Kiya).
Neither has he worked up a film worth any retrospective from there on, nor been picked up by producers who rule the film industry. As a performer (non-actor, non-dancer), he’s merely sauntered in to the screen, almost doing his audience a favour by his disinterested stiffness alone. It’s been two decades since. The biggest blockbuster of 2009 (Wanted) belongs to Salman still.
The filmmakers here pay Salman a tribute, by bringing him in as himself. Fans jump at him while he makes a casual chitchat with Katrina Kaif, who gets referred to as herself later in the movie as well. Such is the extreme movie-star ‘fanship’ of the filmmakers themselves that you realise, they’re unlikely to be making much of a film. You aren’t proven wrong.
The only ones who do a worthy job, as always, are the publicity designers. The publicity kit of this flick, innovative graphics et al, make it seem like the hilarious Andaz Apna Apna’s follow up of sorts. The producers make similar claims. How we throw away legacies like dirt on our streets.
You look through this hollowness, and sense there is not a comic bone at all. There is certainly no romance either. Good boy (Ranbir Kapoor) fumbles and chases good girl (Kaif) through multiply tiring sequences. She is a Christian girl, only in the way Bollywood continues to stereotype their supposed meat-pigging lot. He is a vegetarian Brahmin boy, poor at English, and with a bunch of carrom groupies for friends: only in the way heroes appeared in the early ’90s. He is apparently not worthy of her.
She is already with someone with a body from a gym, and money for a Ferrari. The boy and the girl will eventually meet. But you’ll have to sit through the entire silly shindig for it.
Meanwhile, Ranbir Kapoor walks around with his name Prem attached as lapel on his shirt. Over a song or two, he outstretches his arms to a background score. He professes to drop his towel briefly for effect. The sets are art-deco, with flashing neon-lights, and movie theatre on rear view. The streets are cobbled; the atmosphere, immeasurably fake.
Saawariya for a debut was a poor practical joke on young Kapoor. This humourlessness, if at all, is infinitely sappier.