Bollywood-ish

Monday, 5 March 2012

Raja

Directed by: Indra Kumar
Starring: Madhuri Dixit, Sanjay Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Dalip Tahil, Mukesh Khanna
Released: 1995
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing


There is really only one legitimate and valid reason why to watch Raja and that is Madhuri Dixit. Without being biased in the least, this was a film she owned completely and fully, brought life and energy into it, made it not just watchable but actually entertaining, and ultimately carrying it completely on her delicate shoulders to the hit status. The title may have been Raja, but just like three years earlier when Beta became Beti, one screening was enough for janta and critics to re-christen the movie to Rani. The movie is essentially a typical 90s Bollywood masalla, with pyaar between the hero and heroine being impossible due to money issues and family enmity, with lovely songs, memorable dance number and poetic justice coming hand in hand with the redemption of the villains in the end. All Indra Kumar style aka with logical loopholes that are brushed away with a daring grin and lots of over the top comedy.
The only reason to watch the film.
Two wealthy businessman brothers Rana and Vishwa have just proposed a future aliance of their little sister Madhu with Raja, just as little brother of another wealthy businessman Birju. But as soon as the engagement of the children, who are indeed fond of each other, is confirmed, Birju looses all his property because of a big fire in a factory. Not only poor Birju is a beggar now, but his wealthy friends call off the engagement, and to top it all he gets electrocuted (!) which results in him being mentally challenged for the rest of his life. Fortunately for him his little brother manages to take care of him, even though the two now live in the outskirts of the city in poverty.
The only reason to watch the film.
Years are passing by and soon little cute Raja grows into rather un-cute Sanjay Kapoor, dreaming about the little girl whom once he was engaged to, and refusing all other brides (kind of highly presumptious of him if you ask me). It may be bit of a trouble looking for her though, as she too has grown up and Raja doesn´t even know what she looks like. She would have to literally run into his arms for him to find her. And she does, following a lost bet. While she, unaware that he is her childhood friend, falls in love immediately with his unattractive wooden self, he only falls in love with the gorgeous, lively and enchanting creature AFTER he finds out she is Madhu (makes as much sense as a dog with a taco on its head). But her brothers, who by the way have not aged a day, are opposed to this love, intending to wed their sister to a rich Prince. What follows is a whole avalanche of situations that rate from silly to completely insane, including Madhuri in nothing but a loose white shirt romancing Sanjay in the presence of a group of archeologists who are all apparently over 100, the run away lovers believing that those who were after them were only hunting them to give them their blessing, breaking apart because of a huge huge misunderstanding and getting married in what has to be one of the most bizarre wedding ceremonies ever, unless you consider walking the seven circles around a flaming fountain with one of your brothers nearly burning to his death normal.
The only reason to watch the film.
Raja was supposed to be Sanjay Kapoor´s successful re-launch ater his previous flop debut, and till this day remains his only hit. Or rather the only hit he ever starred in as the main male lead, because as I´ve already mentioned the movie was ruled supreme by Madhuri. Sanjay Kapoor never was a hero material. He suited small, unchallenging roles of nice uncles and brothers, but as a lead he is painfully weak a performer. The one unchanging expression, zero voice modulation, unimpressive dialogue delivery and of course a complete lack of charisma makes one wonder if this really is a brother of Anil Kapoor (whom I do not really like, but his X-factor is just incredible). All others overshadow him completely, from excellent Paresh Rawal to briefly appearing Himani Shivpuri. And of course – Madhuri.
The only reason to watch the film.
When she appears on the screen, it´s like sun coming out of the gray clouds. She enacts her character with admirable ease, providing not only powerful emotional scenes, but also her very much under-used (by the filmmakers) comic sense, which proves to be simply delightful. She shows that she owns the possibly most expressive face ever and is able to change expressions of all kinds within a second – just watch the following song!

After the watching you really feel it was not Raja but Madhu, who was the lead. She is girly, spoilt and even rather snobbish at first, yet still good at heart. It was refreshing to see a girl going after the guy (and not vice versa) and that too so openly, boldly and being completely unashamed of anything just to get her way.

Raja is heavily flawed, yet still a classic. And if I haven´t mentioned it before, it´s because of one simple reason only. Madhuri Dixit. She makes it all worth it and more.

6 comments:

  1. Whatever happened to Sanjay Kapoor... he could reinvent himself as a villain! The type with a cute face but evil intentions (i.e. Akshaye Khanna).

    ReplyDelete
  2. After watching him in this and mainly Shakti the Power I really think Sanjay, though apparantly a nice guy off-screen, is really not much a of a performer. :(

    ReplyDelete
  3. "When she appears on the screen, it´s like sun coming out of the gray clouds." Reminded me of... Hum Aapke Hain Koun!
    Haha, I don't know if I'll watch this, but maybe when I'm longing for good ol' 90s bollywood sometime...? Who knows.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can try :D I thin kif anything it will give you an idea of how popular Madhuri was - because if you would put anyone else in her place the film yould not become a hit ever!

      Delete