CAST & CREW
“ Rajjo” has a certain old world charm and is about the untainted love between a courtesan or nautch girl and a young boy who falls in love with her. Not that this type of film has not been attempted in the past either in Indian cinema or internationally. In many ways it invariably brings in memories of “Moulin Rouge” and “ Amar Prem” to name a few. The context and story line of “Rajjo”, however, has its own uniqueness and potential for a gripping drama.
Plot: The setting of “Rajjo” is Mumbai (or Bombay) of yore, in the era when the system of Nautch girls or courtesans, rendering the century old art of singing and dancing, was still prevalent, but in its dying days in The central character in the role of Rajjo the courtesan is Kangana Ranaut, and her young lover, Chandu's role, has been enacted by Paras Arora. Chandu meets Rajjo after his cricket team’s victory when the members are taken by their coach to the famous Kothas of Nagpada where the courtesans used to reside. Rajjo tantalises Chandu with her graceful Mujra dance and Chandu himself being a musician, falls for her and it is love at first sight.
But the path ahead for the lovers is not strewn with roses, not the least because Rajjo is a Muslim and Chandu belongs to a staunch Brahmin family. The major hurdles they face are from Begum, who runs the Kotha, (with Mahesh Manjrekar in a transgender like role), and Hande Bhau a powerful corporator with a lustful eye on Rajjo, the role being portrayed by Prakash Raj. Compounded with this is the impending closure of kothas that has been planned by the local authorities. In spite of all odds the lovers want to run away from the clutches of their own circumstances and start life anew, but the world around them is not always too kind to such sentiments.
The theme of the film with its period background, dependence on traditional dance and music forms interspersed with a pristine love story, had the potential of a very colourful and classy film, somewhat on the lines of “ Umrao Jaan”. But unfortunately, it is in the handling of the screenplay and development of the story, that the film falters and what could have been a well worth remembering film fizzles out into one which is soon to be forgotten. This is a tragedy considering the bevy of talented actors and actresses that the cast boasts of, including Kangana Ranaut and others like Prakash Raj, Mahesh Manjrekar and Jayaprada. While Mahesh Manjrekar delivers admirably in the differentiated role of Begum, Kangana fails to muster the best of her histrionic talents, which may be partly due to the deficiencies of the script.
Like its theme, another area that is improperly developed is the immense potential it had of quality music. Even though we may not have a Naushad or a Khayyam around, there are enough quality music directors around who are versatile enough to develop tunes appropriate for a film of this nature. That itself could have lifted the film several notches.
Verdict: The film may still draw audiences, especially those who like period films of this type, but it may leave most of them wondering why it could not have been a better film than what it turned out to be.
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