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What’s Your Raashee? is not much fun

Movie:
What's Your Raashee?
Director:
Ashutosh Gowarikar
Cast:
Harman Baweja, Priyanka Chopra, Anjan Srivastava ,Visshwa Badola, Rajesh Vivek
Avg user rating:
As an actress who has evolved incredibly over the years, 12 Priyanka Chopras seem all the merrier. Chopra’s dozen avatars, each a marriage prospect belonging to a different zodiac sign, forms the crux of What’s Your Raashee? And then there’s Ashutosh Gowariker first attempt at a rom-com. It all sounds very exciting.

However the film, an adaptation of Gujarati writer Madhu Rye’s novel Kimball Ravenswood, is hardly as much fun as it promises.

Chicago boy Yogesh Patel (Harman Baweja) is called to Mumbai urgently. He arrives expecting to find his father in hospital. However, it’s all a set-up. Due to heavy financial loss on the stock market, the family has to return a huge amount to a local bhai.

Since Yogesh is to inherit some ancestral property on his marriage, his unscrupulous family pressurises him to set a date in 10 days. As a result, he has only 10 days to find a bride.

Finding it impossible to make this huge decision in a matter of days, Yogesh chances upon a book on star signs, and decides to meet a girl from each raashee. His uncle (Darshan Jariwala) who owns a swanky marriage bureau sets up the meetings and shows an appalled Yogesh the girls’ photographs with the dowry rates offered.

The start is fabulous-you see the girls accompanied by their overbearing fathers addressing Yogesh the ‘candidate’. The film follows a predictable pattern thereon: he meets the girl, finds something special in each, and leaves undecided.

The saucier moments include a girl lighting up a cigarette at the wrong end, another confessing she’s not a virgin, or the one where she shows him a painting of Yogesh in his last birth. Sadly, apart from these humorous moments, the others are dry.

And now for the central flaw-for a film revolving around a boy meeting a girl from each sign, you’d expect each potential bride to personify its dominant characteristics. That happens only rarely-more often than not it appears as if he’s meeting girls from different ‘circumstances’ rather than raashees.

For example, he meets a wealthy girl who acts kooky (an unlikely quirk of any sign) just to see if he’s interested in her or the dough. She decides to confess her act if he refuses the proposal, but nothing happens after.

And then there’s the other girl who’s not yet 18 and wants to study further, which is again a ‘situation’ rather than a star sign quality. These unresolved tracks leave the film weaker.

Other over-the-top interpretations like the boss-woman with zero emotions are plain annoying. The second half stretches beyond all reasonable limits, even as you endure yet another song. A parallel track of the uncle’s affair with his yoga teacher is stretched unnecessarily. By the time the dull climax unfolds at three hours plus, you just want the film to end.

What’s Your Raashee? displays characters with startlingly low morals-extra-marital affairs and dowry are brushed aside as humorous everyday happenings. True, that in its light-hearted manner, the film takes pot shots at the dowry system-suggesting the boy selling himself to the highest bidder-and also comments on the ignored ambitions of girls who are put out in the marriage market too soon. But is it really necessary to put the protagonist, who refuses dowry, on a high pedestal throughout the film?

Priyanka Chopra (looking alarmingly thin) is a dazzling performer and makes you crack up, especially in her rendering of the Aries and Pisces signs. She carries the film ably on her shoulders, giving a fun and uninhibited performance.

Harman Baweja as the well-mannered NRI is suitably sweet. Dilip Joshi as Yogesh’s older brother, who is perennially doing the wrong thing with a ‘it’s just business, don’t mind’ attitude, is supremely funny.

Music, a strongpoint in Gowariker’s films, is average here; with the What’s Your Raashee? song being the only one that stays with you.

A film that could have been hugely entertaining, What’s Your Raashee? is affected by serious flaws like a repetitive layout and agonising length. If the film is still somewhat watchable, it’s only for Priyanka Chopra’s consistently stellar act.

Rating: 2 stars

 

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