Of love, friendship and cowardice

Of love, friendship and cowardice

Of love, friendship and cowardice, Raja Rani, Nayantara, Tamil comedian Santhanam, Arya. It opens with the wedding ceremony of John (Arya) and Regina (Nayantara), who have agreed to marry only to keep their respective families happy.

Relationships are simple but people make it complicated, goes a saying. Debutante director Atlee’s ‘Raja Rani’ is one such film where the weight is on how misunderstandings between two individuals help them to bond and how misunderstandings between two individuals effect in parting ways, almost! Told in a lighter vein with the help of ace Tamil comedian Santhanam, the film is a light-hearted romantic drama that has its blemishes yet scores because of some defining sequences and mature performances from the lead characters and supporting cast.

It opens with the wedding ceremony of John (Arya) and Regina (Nayantara), who have agreed to marry only to keep their respective families happy. Blame it on their past romances which still haunt them, their married life is not smooth as they fail to acknowledge each other’s presence in their hi-tech flat and there’s a never split second where they are seem to enjoy life after marriage. Just when situation seems to go out of hands completely, Regina narrates her how love tale; how madly she loved a corporate employee Surya (Jai) who eventually fails to muster courage to turn up to the wedding. Identifying with it, John starts treating Regina with esteem, only to face the fury of her. Days later, she gets to know the love life of John from Saradhi (Santhanam). What happens next?

A story that could have been told in two hours fifteen minutes, Atlee pulls the proceedings and finally presents a product which runs up to 2 hours 44 minutes, clearly not the call. At least 25 minutes, if not 20 minutes, of the film could have gone under the scissors. Specially dragged is the second half where John’s love story and its surrounding events consume good amount of time to unfold. Atlee also fails to explain why a business tycoon like Regina’s dad (Satyaraj) chooses a middle class lad John to marry off his daughter.

Weak links apart, the film has its moments. The sequence where Regina confronts with Surya on phone, the sequence where Keerthana (Nazriya), an orphan, explains her lifelong yearn to get that one person to share her thoughts and the one where John’s manager explains how love turns his life, prove that Atlee is made up of stuff. Shooting at authentic locations too helps the film a great deal.

Cast-wise, the film is bang on. As the one who is like crazy in love, as the one who is ditched by her partner and as the one who fails to come to terms with her wedding, this is easily Nayantara’s best bet till date. Her emotional sequences with Satyaraj prove that she is not here to just romance and match steps with her co-stars! Arya too slips in with a commendable outing. For an actor who is branded for his muscles, a romantic drama always helps in giving him an image makeover and this is the one. Jai starts off on a grand note but falters at right moments. Nazriya takes time to get her act right but puts up a decent show as her role unravels. The supporting characters, be it Satyaraj or Santhanam deliver what is expected of them, although the latter goes a tad over at occasions.

To an extent, Atlee successfully presents his core point- that there is life after love failure- without going the melo way. Seemed to value friendship greatly, this young filmmaker also highlights the role played by friends in relationships. A refreshing tale, it’s worth a dekho!

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