The Bollywood binge continues as this week we have a movie containing secret identities, dancing, and a marriage of convenience. Join me as I take a look at Rab ne Bana Di Jodi and share whether this is worth the watch.
Warning: Unlike most of my reviews, there will be spoilers because I have some opinions.
After the wedding ceremony between Surinder Sahni and Taani, Surinder discovers that his new wife cares little for him. When she decides to enter a dance competition, Surinder disguises himself, joins the class, and tries to befriend her. Taani soon falls in love with her new dance partner, Raj, unaware that he is in fact her husband.
Back in the day, teenage me read The Raider by Jude Deveraux, where the OTP was married, and the male lead led a double life. One version was dashing and fearless, and the other was a buffoon who hid his inner smoldering man side for the good of his country. Soon after, I watched The Scarlet Pimpernel and I was hooked on the forced marriage surprise groom personality trope. So when I saw that Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi had a similar story, I was excited.
Now for the negative. All of the things I really like about this trope were about a man being dashing and loyal and strong. And somehow, it just didn’t correlate well in this movie. Maybe it was the fact that in both of the other examples I gave, the man was hiding his true nature because of a noble cause and couldn’t express his feelings for the women he married because of national secrets. But wearing sparkly clothes and tight pants to watch your wife dance is not the noble reason I needed to make this work.
This movie was actually very well filmed. The two versions of the leading man were significantly different enough that it would be believable that they were not the same person. One of my favorite scenes however, was the movie/dream musical number where our leading lady was daydreaming during the middle of a very boring film. It starts off with a dance sequence that brings to mind Fred Astaire’s main solo performance in Top Hat. It then transitioned into a mesh of Bollywood and classic Hollywood-influenced dance scenes. I really enjoyed it.
Shah Rukh Khan’s performance was by far one of the best things in this movie. His double personas were so much fun, and it really highlighted his acting talent. His comedic timing also brought this character to life, and you could really understand his love for his wife and his zany actions because of that love. As the movie progressed, I did get cranky with the character’s actions. Especially when he was forcing his wife to choose between the two versions of him. The power dynamic just felt off once the female lead started reciprocating interest in the fake version of her husband.
Taani (Anushka Sharma) had an interesting start. She entered into a marriage to her father’s protege when her fiance and her father both died suddenly. Stuck in a marriage she didn’t want; she asks her new husband to let her go join a dance class. It is through dance that she really comes alive and seems to come into her own. I enjoyed it when the writer let her character really let loose and have fun. What I didn’t like was how Taani wasn’t ever able to confront her husband’s deceit in tricking her. Instead, she is forced to choose between the man she loves and being true to the husband who has always supported her. She chooses her husband and, in the last dance scene, finds out that they are the same man. She dances in the competition, happy that she now has the love of her life.
I think the thing I have the biggest issue with is that Taani is never able to decide to stay with all of the information given. In both of my original examples of the double identity husband trope, the females figure it out and are allowed to make an educated decision about their future and love. They also both get to know before the big final romantic moment so they can choose to support their husband’s goals. That didn’t happen here, and I think it was what put me off from really loving this OTP.
Despite my issues with the OTP relationship, I did really enjoy this movie. The dancing was so much fun and the colors and actors had great energy. But since I did have that one issue with their relationship, I will give this a 7/10. A good movie but not the great movie I was hoping for.
Til my next Bollywood adventure,
Dramas with a Side of Kimchi