RAB NE BANA DI JODI. Director: Aditya Chopra. Players: Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma, Vinay Pathak. Music: Salim Suleman. Yashraj Films. Theatrical Release.
On record, Aditya Chopra has directed only three movies, the megahitDilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Mohabattein,and now Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. The gifted filmmaker, perennially ranked one of the most powerful names in Hindi films, has, however, lent behind-the-scenes support to every YashRaj release from Kabhie Kushi Kabhie Gham to the Dhoom franchise.RNBDJ bears the YashRaj modus operandi: Khan, popular music, and pervasive light comedy. The result is a feel-good offering that will more than fulfill the cravings of legions of Khan fans.
The hat-trick that Chopra would have us believe is that Khan, who recently turned 43, can play the “middle-aged” civil servant Surinder “Suri” Sahni who, through a quirk in family allegiances, marries the much younger Taani (newcomer Sharma). In an attempt to overcome the age difference, Suri secretly takes on a younger, studly personality in hopes of kindling his wife’s interest. Suri the civil servant is ill-dressed, geeky, and content to keep his marriage unconsummated at his wife’s choosing.
While the duty-before-even-sex may be noble attributes for lesser entries, we are talking about a Yash Raj film—which means that Suri’s younger alter-ego has Khan morphing into a stylish young playboy, quick with a two-step and working hard to keep his identity secret through a series of often unintentionally funny missteps. Taani-the-wife, who is not interested in sex with Suri, also fails to catch on that her spry new dance partner is really her husband playing a make-believe gigolo. Get it? In short, it all adds up to Shahrukh Khan comingthis close to playing a virgin Peter Pan. Featuring a popular Salim Suleman score that stands a small chance of denying A.R. Rahman a sweep of every major music award from Los Angeles to Mumbai, RNBDJ proves again that the Chopra/Khan combo can mine box office gold.
Globe trekker, aesthete, photographer, ski bum, film buff, and commentator Aniruddh Chawda writes from Milwaukee.