"Raanjhanaa" - celebrates pain of heartbreak
The film celebrates the pain of heartbrokenness. She slaps him? That's fine. He loves her all the more for it. She turns his proposal down? That's okay. He'll do it again...and ... again. It's the protagonist's single-mindedness that navigates this enchanting love story through a series of circumstances that make Kundan look as brazen as they make destiny look cruel.
Throughout, Kundan's self-destructive odyssey into the heart's darkest regions, we are made privy into his agony and ecstacy. We know exactly how his heart beats. Maybe partly because it beats to the sound of A.R. Rahman's evocative songs. We see Zoya just the way Kundan does: tall, creamy-complexioned, warm, seductive and unattainable.
Dhanush, as the worshipping loverboy, lets his face become the map of his heart. So transparent are his feelings for the girl that every kind word or gesture from her brings a response of teary gratitude in his eyes.
This is not love as we see it in today's day and age. It's the kind of adoration that Radha had for Krishna. In many ways, "Raanjhanaa" is a gender-reversed take on the Radha-Krishna myth that takes the adoring heroine-worshipping Varanasi boy through some exceptional unacceptable circumstances.
Towards the second movement of his extraordinarily well-crafted screenplay, Rai takes Kundan's destiny to the University of Delhi campus. Bringing campus politics into a film about compulsive love may not seem like the easiest of marriages to implement. It is to Rai's credit that he doesn't lose hold of his characters' collective and individual destiny even while moving out of their home turf.
The characters dither, stray, falter and lose focus. The narrative never does. There is scarcely a single false note in this love liaison.
Hats off to Rai's actors for getting it right. Every performer, including a bit-player like Rahul Shankliya whom the forlorn hero encounters at the river ghat, seems to have come into the picture knowing not only his or her own lines, but everyone else's as well.
There is an air of unrehearsed preparedness in the way the actors pitch their characters. Dhanush's performance would go down in cinematic history as one of the most consistent and compelling portrayals of single-minded ardour.