Raghu RomeoRaghu Romeo turned out to be pretty much the way I had imagined it would be. Catching it in the company of Samrat and his wife, the film was one of those good ones which don't have any momentous revelations to make, but just hope to tell a story of a person and tell it well.
Raghu (Vijay Raaz) lives in a dream, and sometimes (unwillingly) he has to go into the world of reality where no one can hope to understand anything that he does. But that fantasy is more real to him than the real world can ever be. Sweety (Sadiya Siddique) is the complete opposite; she knows what she wants, and she knows what she feels for Raghu. Add a doppelganger called Neetaji/Reshma (Maria Goretti, debut in films) and an unlikely assassin-in-shorts called Mario a.k.a Brother (Samrat conjecturing the origins are from "Mario Brothers") and you have a sweet tale that does not go sour. The film will appeal to the romantic in you, especially that streak that compels you to be silly even when you know what a limited role romance can really play in real life.
Raghu Romeo takes several digs at the patently inane world of the Indian TV soap, which I'm sure is Rajat Kapoor's way of expressing protest. The only TV interview I've seen that placid guy give was on CNBC's TrendMill, which was on the sets of some generic soap in which he was acting. Dressed in one of those made-for-TV Indian formals, he spoke of his small dream that he couldn't get anyone to distribute. The disconnect to the FTTI alumnus must have be galling, like some Renaissance artist painting houses, , but how else does an actor pay for his bread? Rajat Kapoor must've have held on to every silly dialogue he's had to speak for the purpose of slashing at in his script, with great effect. If I had to classify this film, I would put in that shelf holding films such as Chasm-e-Baddoor, where stories can be told leisurely and with a lot of love.
Vijay Raaz is a special talent, and proves once again that we have great actors to look forward to even if they would be classified by people as mere sidekicks to stars. Vijay Raaz will probably never win a popular "acting" award or be interviewed to the accompaniment of a glossy still, but in his heart, he'd know he is worth a 100 top billings. Sadiya Siddique and Saurabh Shukla (Mario) are excellent. Maria Goretti is an inspired piece of casting, for she pulls off both the synthetic Indian bahu and the bitchy, modern actress without slipping into VJ-mode. The rest of the cast (Vijay Patkar, Surekha Sikri, Virendra Saxena et al) give no cause for complaint. Saurabh Shukla's dialogues are a riot, especially in the four-person-mid-room-conference that is worth a repeat watch. The music (Pritam) and lyrics fit the mood of the film, with the memorable multi-genre musical piece all flitting by Raghu's world.
Rajat Kapoor in his directorial venture proves that sometimes all it takes to make a good film is to have a bunch of fine actors, a good script, befitting dialogues, appropriate music and common sense. Sure, not having item numbers or action sequences or special effects and having a running time of only 100 minutes makes it extraordinarily difficult to find distribution, but what the heck, the film is out now. Sure, people wonder what Raghu Romeo is, and why they shouldn't watch it on cable, and why they shouldn't go watch Hum Tum given a choice. Sure, people think what would be special about that "comedian" Vijay Raaz, and who the hell Saurabh Shukla is and isn't that the girl who used to be on MTV?
Don't watch Raghu Romeo out of charity. Don't expect the next generation in films from it. It is not extraordinary of course, but it is well-made.To those who think they know what clean entertainment is, give Raghu Romeo a shot (it is classified "A", but I really, really wonder why given some other films). Watch it to know that films aren't always about 70mm Digital Dolby, 38 cheerleaders, 3 fashion designers and a 20 crore budget. It is possible to dream (like Raghu and Rajat do), even if some dreams are best fantasised about than realised.