Three men look for their mysteriously estranged college mate, Ranchoddas or Rancho (Aamir Khan), and coming along later in the journey is his on-and-off girlfriend Pia (Kareena Kapoor), their ex-headmaster’s daughter. Rancho is so memorable to these characters because of the joy he has brought to their younger selves, since most of these other characters are prone to suicidal thoughts, mental breakdowns and quarter life crises brought on by the general competitiveness of middle class, college life. ‘Life is a race,’ but Rancho thinks that a musical number is decent cardio too. Standing between the binaries that this film and its context present, he’s Western because of his idealistic view on education and love, Eastern because of his altruism and anti-materialism. What’s also admirable about this film is that it lets Rancho be wrong sometimes, its most heartfelt moment is when the headmaster, teary-eyed, tells him that he can’t be right all the time.
There’s also Pia, who, by learning how to stand up against her former fiancée as well as her father, is a woman more feminist than a Deepa Mehta protagonist. And since we’re comparing movies about India, the film also echoes the triumphalism of Slumdog Millionaire, the but the ride is wilder this time, taking characters to opposite emotional cliffs and back.
- Aamir’s tricky marketing strategy (aamirkhanblog.wordpress.com)
Ugh, I can’t stand Kareena Kapoor. I liked her sister Karisma, but I find her an exasperating actor. I remember the days when I used to love these Bollywood films.
June 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm
This is my third (neo)Bollywood film, so I would know my actresses outside Kapoor, Freida Pinto (if she counts), Pretty Zinta (awesome) and that dreadful actress in ‘Veer.’
I totally know what you mean. Kappor’s Pia has the ‘I’m smart because I’m wearing glasses’ thing. It’s the Mork-Mindy syndrome where she doesn’t have to do a lot because Aamir Khan’s doing most of the work, and has to.
June 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Oh I lived and died by Bollywood from age 8-10. If you want some recommendations I’m your guy. Zinta is lovely, even if her name is weird.
June 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm