Raanjhanaa

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Raanjhanaa
Raanjhanaafilmposter.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Anand L. Rai
Produced by Krishika Lulla[1]
Screenplay by Himanshu Sharma
Story by Himanshu Sharma
Starring Dhanush
Sonam Kapoor
Abhay Deol
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Natarajan Subramaniam
Vishal Sinha
Editing by Hemal Kothari
Studio Colour Yellow Pictures
Distributed by Eros International
Release dates
  • 21 June 2013 (2013-06-21)
(Hindi)
  • 28 June 2013 (2013-06-28)
(Tamil)[2]
Running time 140 minutes
Language Hindi
Budget INR350 million (US$5.8 million)
Box office INR1.2 billion (US$20 million)[3]

Raanjhanaa (English: Beloved One) is a 2013 Indian romantic drama film, directed by Anand L. Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma. The film is produced by Krishika Lulla under the banner Eros International. It stars Dhanush, in his Bollywood debut, Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol in lead roles.[4] The film was released on 21 June 2013 worldwide,[5] while the dubbed Tamil version titled Ambikapathy[6] was released a week later.[2][7] The dialogues for the Tamil version was written by John Mahendran.

The background score and songs were composed by A. R. Rahman. The Hindi lyrics of the tracks were penned by Irshad Kamil, whereas the Tamil lyrics were written by Vairamuthu.

Within a week of release, the film's collections reached INR349 million (US$5.8 million) domestic nett.[8] The film was declared a Hit by Box Office India.[9] Post four weeks of its run, the film grossed over INR704 million (US$12 million) worldwide.[10]

Plot[edit]

Kundan Shankar (Dhanush) is the son of a Hindu Tamil priest. Since his childhood days, Kundan has had a strong and obsessive one-sided love for Zoya Haider (played by Sonam Kapoor), a Muslim girl residing in Varanasi whose father is a professor. Though he sees her first as a child, Kundan is steadfast in his love for Zoya. He always attempts to be around her and hold her hand but gets slapped several times in the process. Zoya finally changes her mind because of Kundan's consistency of affection and attraction. Zoya's family is orthodox, preventing the lovers from being together. After Zoya moves to Aligarh for further studies, Kundan harmonises with Zoya's family, assisting them with various chores. Zoya gets into Jawaharlal Nehru University and discovers a long-lost strength as she confronts and then falls for student leader Akram Zaidi (Abhay Deol).

After a period of eight years, Zoya returns to Varanasi. She barely recognises Kundan when she meets him again. Kundan again attempts to ask Zoya for her love but she is reluctant, revealing that she is in love with Akram. Zoya then urges Kundan to convince her family about her marriage with Akram. Initially refusing because he still loves her, Kundan eventually agrees to it and sets about trying to convince Zoya's father of the match. Kundan gets the wedding of Zoya and Akram arranged. Kundan promises Zoya that he will also tie the knot with another girl and will forget her. Kundan proposes to his childhood friend Bindiya (Swara Bhaskar), who has had a crush on him since childhood.

On the day of their marriage, Kundan finds out that Akram is a Sikh, whose actual name is Jasjeet Singh Shergill. This enrages Kundan as Zoya had used their religious differences to convince him that their match was not possible. Kundan reveals everything to Zoya's parents thereby interrupting their marriage ceremony. Later, Kundan is informed by his friend that Zoya tried to commit suicide and is in a critical condition. He rushes to the hospital where he is also informed that Jasjeet was mercilessly beaten by Zoya's relatives. Kundan rushes to find him, along with his friend and Jasjeet's sister. At the hospital, Jasjeet talks to Kundan and says that despite Jasjeet's misgivings about the plan, Zoya convinced him to portray himself as Muslim to marry her, a plan he should not have agreed to as it was a lie. Kundan also forgets about his own marriage with Bindiya. For this reason, Kundan's family disowns him. Later, Jasjeet's parents take him back to his village. Kundan tries to redeem himself by taking Zoya to Jasjeet's village. However, he is devastated to find that Jasjeet has succumbed to his injuries, finally making Kundan understand that his one-sided love has resulted in an innocent man's death.

Kundan then becomes homeless and begins visiting various religious places and volunteering in their activities so that he can atone for his sins. During one such visit to the banks of Ganga, a man advises him to do the right thing rather than running away from his sins.

Motivated, Kundan locates Zoya to Jawahar Lal Nehru University, where she is spearheading the activities of the political party "All India Citizen Party" (AICP), created by Jasjeet. Kundan joins the nearby canteen and serves the people of the party, working at a tea-stall, all the while trying to get Zoya's attention. Over time, Kundan becomes popular among the party due to his simple nature. The party workers are impressed as Kundan also helps the party in negotiating some tough situations by using his simple yet witty tricks. Slowly, he emerges as a popular face of the party, disturbing Zoya. She holds a grudge that the person who is responsible for Jasjeet's death is now taking his place. She also tries to instigate party members against Kundan but Jasjeet's sister Rashmi (Shilpi Marwaha), who is also Zoya's best friend, tells Kundan to continue, as he is the best choice for fulfilling Jasjeet's vision.

Kundan, however, only wants Zoya to forgive him. His motive in being there, working for the party is to redeem himself in her eyes. The Chief Minister (Sujata Kumar) tells Zoya privately she must seek revenge on Kundan so as to take the place Jasjeet held for the AICP. To get back the position, she tells her to let Kundan get injured as he delivers his campaign speech for the party. Zoya apparently seems to get brainwashed by this plan and as the Chief Minister desired, Kundan is hurt badly and sent to ICU, thus fulfilling Zoya's revenge.

At a press meet following Kundan's injury, the chief minister denies having any hand in the blast that hurt Kundan. She says this can be confirmed by the fact that Zoya would now be joining their party. However, when Zoya steps forward, she reveals that the plan was plotted by her and the Chief Minister and that she is prepared to go to prison for this. Zoya leaves the press meet and finds out through a policeman that Kundan was aware of the plot and still let himself be injured. Shocked by this fact, she rushes to the hospital to be with Kundan.

In a final voice over, a dying Kundan wonders about letting go. He says he might have the desire to live again, if Zoya called out to him, but then again everything had become so tiring and he would rather let go and rest (euphemism for dying). He speaks of the nature of love that continues, by saying that he can be born again and again in the same Benaras with the same surroundings, fall in love with a girl like Zoya again, and become a Raanjhanaa with her love.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In late 2011, Shahid Kapoor and Sonakshi Sinha were signed as the lead pair for the film. Apparently, they dropped out of the project because of Prabhudeva's next R... Rajkumar .[12] In late January 2012, actor Dhanush, making his Bollywood debut, signed onto the film[13] for the character of Kundan. The actor reportedly underwent training for fluency in Hindi language to obtain the role. Actress Sonam Kapoor was signed on for the role of the female lead after March 2012.[14][15] In April 2012, the actress and the director visited the JNU Campus of Delhi for the former to imbibe more for her role.[16] Sonam Kapoor also attended acting workshops with prominent theatre director Arvind Gaur to learn the nuances of street theatre.[17] The director chose to cast actors who could also play younger versions of themselves. In an interview the director stated the film was an intense love story, and its characters would travel to Delhi, Punjab and Chennai, and that actor Abhay Deol would be seen in a special appearance in the film.[18] Urmila Sharma, well known for her Hindi TV serial roles was signed to play the character of Kundan's mother in the film.[19] Initially, Aditi Rao Hydari was supposed to play the role of Kundan's childhood friend but she opted out due to lack of availability, being replaced by Swara Bhaskar.[20]

Characters[edit]

Actor Dhanush plays the character Kundan who has a passion for his city Banaras and Zoya (played by Sonam Kapoor). It depicts him a young boy and a teen who turns into a sensitive adult. Sonam Kapoor quoted her character as, "'Zoya' is child-like and unpredictable. She can be cold and at the same time, objective. She has every quality that makes her desirable to a man." In an interview, Kapoor revealed that for playing the role of a school girl in the film, she drew inspiration from the character Jaya Bachchan played in the 1971 film Guddi.[21] Actor Abhay Deol as Akram plays a secure yet confident university student, socialist and a budding politician.[22]

Filming[edit]

After main casting announcements, filming was substantially delayed; the reason was speculated to be composer A. R. Rahman's music being denied outright by the film director.[23] Filming officially began in Varanasi, India in early September 2012 and continued for 40 days in and around the city. As per reports, the leading duo were also seen essaying the role of 17-year-old teenagers.[24] In mid-September 2012, the schedule of filming was put on hold as actor Dhanush fell ill on the sets in Varanasi.[25] While filming in October 2012, the actor injured his shoulder during the filming of an action sequence for his Tamil outing Maryan. The consequences led to the scheduled shooting of dance sequences to be postponed and were shot in Varanasi on 19 December 2012.[26][27] On 4 November 2012, Sonam Kapoor and Abhay Deol shot the song "Tu Mun Shudi" at India Gate, Delhi,[28] and their dialogue scenes were shot at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication campus in Delhi by early December 2012. Permission to shoot inside was denied to the director by the college authorities. So, the unit shot some scenes in Amity International School, Noida. To avoid footage leaks, over a hundred potential crew members were made present at the filming venue. Certain filming was also done in Gurgaon and Faridabad.[29] The title track of the film was shot on 27 December 2012.[5] The final schedule of filming began in Delhi on 7 January 2013.[30] In March 2013, the film's crew shot several scenes at the Pataudi Palace in Haryana over two days.[31]

Soundtrack[edit]

The music and the background score for the film was composed by A. R. Rahman. The soundtrack's original version has lyrics penned by Irshad Kamil whereas the Tamil version by Vairamuthu. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Rahman stated that he had emphasised the folk-classical genre as the film brings out a fascination for Benaras through the music[32] and hence, most of the songs are character-driven.[33] In all, the soundtrack album has nine original tracks.[34] The original version of the soundtrack was released on the co-branded record labels Sony Music and Eros Music[35] on 31 May 2013 and the Tamil version on 19 June 2013. The soundtrack received positive critical reception on release.

Marketing[edit]

On 10 May 2013, a grand event was held at a set resembling Varanasi at Film City in Goregaon, Mumbai. The lead actors made their entry riding a chariot and performed the title track of the film. The producer stated that the event was promoted in Benarasi style so as to represent the essence of the film and its setting.[36] The film's music was promoted at the Radio Mirchi Studios in Mumbai on 27 May 2013.[37][38] Dressed in typical South Indian attire, Dhanush and Sonam Kapoor promoted the Tamil version of Raanjhanaa in Chennai. The leading duo promoted their film in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Jaipur from mid-May to June 2013.[39]

Release[edit]

The first look of the characters in the film was revealed as a poster with no credits and film name on the day of Holi 2013.[40][41] The first theatrical trailer was released on 24 April 2013.[41][42] The Hindi version of the film released worldwide on 21 June 2013 with the estimated number of release screens being 1,000. The film opened to an occupancy of 50–55%, the highest compared to other Bollywood films that released on the same date.[43]

Critical reception[edit]

India

Critic Komal Nahta responded positively and said, "On the whole, Raanjhanaa is an interesting, entertaining and a fairly different love story. It is like heady wine and its effect will only grow."[44] Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN wrote, "For its immensely entertaining first half, a winning score by AR Rahman, but most of all for Dhanush, this is a film that's worth your time. I'm going with three out of five for Raanjhanaa. It's not perfect, but it'll do."[45] Resham Sengar of Zee News gave the film 4 out of 5 stars and summarised "Raanjhanaa is a love story that does not fall within the confines of a clichéd Bollywood romance."[46] Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5 out of 5 and stated, "On the whole, Raanjhanaa encompasses romance and myriad emotions most wonderfully, besides bravura performances and a popular musical score from the maestro." Adarsh also called it "a film that touches the core of your heart" and said it was "definitely worthy of a watch".[47] At NDTV, Saibal Chatterjee gave it 3.5/5 and opined in the review, "The film defies the expectations of the audience at several crucial junctures and holds out absolutely no apologies for springing abrupt surprises. A love story with a huge difference that benefits no end from a clutch of exceptional performances."[48] Sukanya Verma of Rediff Movies gave 3 out of 5 stars and claimed, "Raanjhanaa isn't easy viewing. Kundan and Zoya aren't easily likeable. They have flaws. They make mistakes. Blunders, really but Rai shows them for what they are; he never paints a pretty picture. And this brutal honesty coupled with a commanding Dhanush is what works."[49] Meena Iyer of The Times of India claimed, "Raanjhanaa is a love story that has a Shakespearean touch and is mounted on a lavish scale". She noted, "You may not like this film if you cannot digest brooding love stories", and gave it 3.5 out of 5.[50] Kaushik Rmesh of Planet Bollywood gave the film a 8 on 10 and summarised, "A realistic romance that brims with impressive elements (including and especially the enchanting music), Raanjhanaa is surely a winner at the end and must be watched for its unconventional handling and freshness".[51]

Nabanita of One India gave the film 3.5 out of 5 and wrote, "Raanjhanaa works, and yes, the movie has maximum possibilities to strike the right chords amongst the audience, only and only because of Dhanush and his heart-touching performance."[52] Rachit Gupta of Filmfare called the film a "great love story" and concluded, "Grab a ticket, clutch the hand of your loved one and go fall in love. This time with great cinema".[53] Critics at Indicine gave a score of 65 out of 100 and summarised, "The intentions of Aanand L Rai seem genuine. He wants to show us the world where he grew up in, wants to romanticize the feeling of nostalgia and unrequited love."[54] Tushar Joshi writes for DNA India, "Raanjhanaa works because of Dhanush's ability to make you believe in his love for Zoya. You might not agree with his approach, but deep down you cheer and root for him each time Zoya plants a slap on his face."[55] At Deccan Chronicle, Khalid Mohamed mentioned, "Raanjhanaa: Playing ping pong with love", and gave it three stars out of five.[56] India Today rated the film 3/5 and judged, "Raanjhanaa harks back to the way Bollywood used to make love stories once upon a time. With some imagination, the effect would have been nostalgic, too."[57] Shubha Shetty Saha of Mid-Day assigned 3.5/5 to the film and praised actor Dhanush and stated, "And then the second half is when the pace dips, the sincerity of the storyline gets somewhat hazy and the film gets wee bit disappointing. An absolutely believable one-sided romance takes a slightly deceptive political drama twist and I am not sure if that is what you wanted it to be. It is unpredictable, yes, but not in a great, believable way."[54] At Mumbai Mirror, Karan Anshuman pointed, "Raanjhanaa flows like good poetry. It is arguably the best love story of the year so far, the kind of film others in the genre should aspire.".[58]

On the contrary to above, critic Mayank Shekhar wrote, "His (Dhanush) character is supposed to be gifted with great inter-personal skills. It doesn't quite show."[55] Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express gave it 2.5 out of 5 and mentioned, "Raanjhanaa is a film which is all of a piece in its engaging first half, and a good Bollywood launchpad for Dhanush. Makes me want to see what he will do in his second pass."[59] At Emirates 24/7, Sneha May Francis said, "While music maestro AR Rahman tunes the track, and leaves us occasionally cheerful, the moments are far too few to erase the horrid after effects of this movie."[60] Critic Manohar Basu at Koimoi stated, "However a sluggish screenplay and lurching script makes Raanjhanaa a half baked effort and hence gets a 3/5 from me."[61] Sudhish Kamath of The Hindu concluded, "A dream debut for Dhanush even if the film gets stuck in its messy political subtext that kills the romance."[62]

Overseas

At The Hollywood Reporter, Lisa Tsering left the film unrated and asserted, "The fact that the film marks the Hindi-language debut of South Indian star and YouTube superstar Dhanush is bound to draw interest at the box office, though Rai's firm refusal to play by the rules of the typical Bollywood love story may make it hard to sustain momentum."[63]

Controversy[edit]

The Central Board of Film Censors (CFBC) banned the film before its scheduled release in Pakistan. chief executive officer of IMGC Global Entertainment Amjad Rasheed, the importer of Raanjhanaa, revealed that he received a letter from the CBFC with directives to shelve the film's release which stated that the film portrays an inapt image of a Muslim girl (played by Sonam Kapoor) falling in love with a Hindu man and having an affair with him.[64]

Box office[edit]

Domestic[edit]

The first-day collection was estimated at INR51.5 million (US$860,000).[65] The film performed well at multiplexes outside the metros in places like Indore, Kanpur, Banaras, regions of CP Berar, Central India and states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.[66] On its opening day, it grossed more than 500,000 in the city of Lucknow itself.[67] On Saturday, a day just after release, collections rose to INR68.0 million (US$1.1 million). The film had a growth rate of 40–45%,[68] making its total first weekend collection INR201 million (US$3.4 million).[69] Within a week of its release, its gross surpassed INR340 million (US$5.7 million) and Box Office India declared it a "Hit".[9] After two weeks of release, the film had collected INR520 million (US$8.7 million) at the box office.[70] Raanjhanaa also had the fourth-highest second week collections of the year 2013.[71] It grossed Rs 75 million in its third week, taking its total domestic overall collections to INR600 million (US$10 million) and worldwide collections nearing to a remarkable mark and becoming the second highest-grosser of 2013 at the time of its release.[72][73] The film ended its run with an estimated INR615 million (US$10 million).[74]

Overseas[edit]

Raanjhanaa grossed around INR15.0 million (US$250,000) internationally on its first weekend.[69] Its first weekend gross in the United Kingdom amounted to £72,000, while in North America it made $415,000. The film collected $145,000 in the UAE and $46,000 in Australia.[75] Raanjhanaa also grossed $1.55 million in ten days.[76] Further, the film receded its total collections and dropped around $1.8 million by 17 July 2013.[77]

Awards and nominations[edit]

NoteThe lists are ordered by the date of announcement, not necessarily by the date of ceremony/telecast.
Positive awards and nominations
Distributor Date announced Category Recipient Result Reference
BIG Star Entertainment Awards
31 December 2013
Most Entertaining Romantic Film
Anand L. Rai
Nominated [78]
Most Entertaining Debut Actor - Male
Dhanush
Most Entertaining Music
A. R. Rahman
Screen Awards
14 January 2014
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female)
Swara Bhaskar
Won [79][80]
Best Actor (Popular Choice)
Dhanush
Nominated
Best Actor (Male)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male)
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Best Actor (Popular Choice)
Sonam Kapoor
Best Cinematography
Natarajan Subramaniam
Vishal Sinha
Best Music
A. R. Rahman
Best Background Score
Best Costume
Payal Saluja
Best Sound Design
Arun Nambiar
Production Design
Wasiq Khan
Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Award
16 January 2014
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Abhay Deol
[81]
Best Screenplay
Himanshu Sharma
Best Story
Best Dialogue
Best Music
A. R. Rahman
Best Performance in a Comic Role
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayubb
Swara Bhaskar
ETC Bollywood Business Awards
18 January 2014
Highest Grossing Debut (Male)
Dhanush
Won [82]
Idea Filmfare Awards
20 January 2014
Best Debut (Male)
Dhanush
[83][84]
Best Director
Anand L. Rai
Nominated
Best Film
Anand L. Rai
Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female)
Sonam Kapoor
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female)
Swara Bhaskar
Best Music
A. R. Rahman
Global Indian Music Awards (GiMA)
20 January 2014
Best Engineer (Film Album)
R. Nitish Kumar
[85]
Best Background Score
A. R. Rahman
Best Film Album
Best Playback Singer (Female)
Shreya Ghoshal
(for the song "Banarasiya")
Negative awards and nominations
Distributor Date announced Category Recipient Result Reference
Golden Kela Awards
31 January 2014
Worst Actress
Sonam Kapoor
Nominated [86]
Worst Director
Anand L. Rai
Worst Film

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