CAST: Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon, Jim Sarbh
DIRECTION: Dinesh Vijan
DURATION: 2 hours 34 minutes
She calls herself a firecracker. He introduces himself as a lady killer.
However, despite the refreshment promised by a relationship based on cockiness instead of conventional sap, Dinesh Vijan’s Raabta is let down whenever the well-sculpted protagonists open their mouths.
All this while, a ‘love comet’ – or one named by the curate from The Simpsons – is scheduled to fly across the skies for the first time in eight hundred years. What this portends is anybody’s guess, but the girl, Saira, is finding her recurring dreams coming to life. There are a couple of men in weird Game Of Thrones cosplay while she’s dressed like an extra from Shah Rukh Khan’s Asoka, and something dramatic and scary is happening underwater. She sleeps with a light on, but that might not be enough now, considering the two men from her nightmare have stepped into her world: Shiv, who has won her over with his abs and his absolute confidence, and Zak, a smarmy tycoon who has what she keeps calling a mysterious smile.
After this, alas, the cosplay takes over. Suddenly we’re bang in the middle of some past-life malarkey where she’s a warrior princess who wants to fight tigers with daggers and her man, Shiv, is a snarling and scowly Khal wannabe. Let’s just call him Khal No-Go. This extended and tedious sequence, pitched at an operatic high, is basically Apocalypto by way of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Which is to say it’s all exaggerated emotion and exotic eyeliner.
Sushant Singh Rajput, a fine actor, tries far too hard to play the boyish cad, behaving like a Ranveer Singh fan hopped up on sugar. He oscillates inconsistently between his broken Punjabi-English and regular English, but his energy just about sees him through. Sanon performs more consistently and has remarkably assured body language, but the past-life dialogues are too much for her to shoulder. In the middle is Jim Sarbh, slimy and Joker-like, painting lips on paintings and shooting his own henchmen and basically being an oily ham.
By the time Deepika Padukone brings her almighty legs to the screen in an attempt to resurrect the film with a jig, all is already lost. Do not watch Raabta, unless you already suffered through it in a past life.