just another day at the bubble factory: Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani

A film that opens with an extended crotch joke - one in which people, including the hero, are yelling for over 50 seconds - is already on my bad side. But even in that aggravating minute, there were things to like: the colors of the shops on the street, the lovely billowing sari, the bunch of cheerful balloons. And so Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani continued all the way through its run time, full of colors and light and even a totally appropriate brawl among bubbles - but also way too much loudness, wackadoodle scrambling around,

and an air-headed heroine. The boisterous comic book spirit implied by the promotional graphics

was used consistently, sweeping up sound effects, sped-up action, interesting wipes between scenes, the story, and even the acting into a colorful but very lightweight package. But even when it was screaming in my face or being just plain ol' dumb, I couldn't possibly turn it off, thanks entirely to Ranbir Kapoor.

Couldn't agree more.

Guh. I consider myself warned.

Let us pause a moment to bask in the awesomeness that is Ranbir Kapoor as Prem in this movie. Great character, great performance. He's Ducky from Pretty in Pink!

He rocks the over-the-top "cool"!

He really looks like he's in luuuuuruve, lighting up when he sees Jenny, and cares about what she thinks of him.

And at other times genuinely sad.

He fills Prem's everyday gestures with such sweetness or humor at a nice, normal level even when the film itself goes overboard or surrounds him with total duds.

Also, he is yumsicle.

That jalebi-making hip-swivel is hot.

Now for Katrina...wet noodle.

Heehee. My thoughts exactly.
She seemed to be trying, at least some of the time, waving her hands around for ages to express worry or making her eyes really, really big. Yet at others she just stood still doing nothing, as though she wasn't really even in the scene. Gotta blame some of that on director Rajkumar Santoshi, of course. She was not at all aided by a role in which she had to dress and act like a thirteen-year-old who was happy to take advantage of Prem's good nature and risk-taking when it suited her. Also, this movie deserves as severe a smackdown as Striker for its horrendously out-of-context and fairly casual threat of rape. The incident is made all the more bizarre because the threat is issued not by the would-be attacker but by his father, who tells poor Jenny that his son will rape her if she won't agree to marry him.

No. No, movie, NO. On the other hand, I liked the indulgence in Katrina's real-life past: of course Katrina knows what Salman Khan's body looks like, right?

I have very little else to say about Ajab Prem.... Apart from Ranbir, whose presence is the whole reason I decided to watch this in the first place,

it did nothing for me and I suspect I won't remember it a week from now. I haven't talked about much of the plot or any of the side characters because they don't matter and left no impression. Overall, the film seemed 90s-y in ways I don't like and I found it only occasionally funny or interesting. Similarly, apart from the meaningless rape bit, I also found nothing to hate in it either. It's just not at all my cup of tea...or maybe, to fit more in the flavor of this film, a fluorescent pink strawberry milkshake sprinkled with pop rocks: fizzy, bubbly, loud, sweet, a bad combination, and nothing I'll ever order again.


Rae said…
I have it in my Netflix queue also just because of Ranbir. I pretty much adore him! Your screencap of him with the bicycle is perfection. Yumsicle indeed!
bollyviewer said…
I can see that you love Ranbir as much as I do (almost 95% of your screencaps feature him!). :D Yay! for a current Kapoor to love, finally - in the male actors category, that is.

You're so right about it not being memorable film. I have no idea what you're talking about when you mention the rape/marriage threat (guess they both mean the same thing!) and I watched this not so long ago. So far, I think this is the only one of Ranbir's forgettable films (I have not seen Saawariya).
Anishok said…
a fluorescent pink strawberry milkshake sprinkled with pop rocks: fizzy, bubbly, loud, sweet,

The perfect description of this film. The only thing as good as ranbir was the music and some of the picturizations. Tu Jaane Naa? Guh. Beautiful!
Filmi Girl said…
See, I've seen this like five times and own the DVD. I wish every day was just another day at the bubble factory, where I toil making bubbles while drinking my strawberry milkshake laced with poprocks - for extra zazz.
memsaab said…
I have still not seen a Ranbir Kapoor movie. What is WRONG with me?!
Filmi Geek said…
Of Ranbir I have only yet seen Saawariya, which left this particular jury out but hopeful about his abilities. I'm glad to hear that he's doing well and folks are finding him appealing hero material.

I'm curious to see more of him and a couple of his films, like *Wake Up Sid* and *Rocket Singh*, are in my "yeah watch that soon when it feels time to watch something recent" list.
Banno said…
I came back from 'Ajab Prem ki..' and moaned for days about the fact that Ranbir Kapoor doesn't seem to have any heroines around him, who can match up to his talent and star power. Pretty sad! He's really good, but where's the jodidar?
Chrism929 said…
I'm with you on this. Even after reading your review I couldn't remember if I'd seen it, but when I checked Netflix I see I gave it two stars. And I like Ranbir too. Enjoyed your review a lot, though!
ajnabi said…
Love the milkshake plus pop rocks analogy--and felt about the same way about the movie and its stars. So silly, yet Ranbir is still so good! I share Banno's despair over finding an actress from the current crop to match him. Aamir had Juhi, SRK had Kajol... I'm not seeing anyone on the horizon for Ranbir.
Mansi said…
Ranbir absolutely steals the show here... louv him in this one and in every movie... muah

Christy - That is the ONLY reason but it is a totally worthwhile one :)

bollyviewer - Yep! I have been Ranbirfied, no doubt. I watched this with Amrita and she said "That's going to be your whole post, isn't it? 'Ranbir is soooooo cuuuuute!'?" I hope I have down her proud.

I'm surprised you don't remember the rape bit - though it is very short, so maybe you were refilling your coffee for those 40 seconds or so?

You must see Saawariya just to understand how bad it is.

Anishok - GOod point about the songs! I think my favorite, musically and picturizaiton-ally, is "Prem Ki Naiya," though "Tu Jaane Naa" is very very pretty indeed. Ranbir among the ruins? Yes please.

Filmi Girl - REALLY? Wow. I find this utterly content-free and not visually pleasing enough to repeat. But I do enjoy some pop rocks now and then :)

Filmi Geek - Absolutely. Can't wait to watch RS!

Banno - I totally agree. I have no who could play opposite him. I, of course, think Rani would be great but I assume they wouldn't put them together because she's "old"? What say you?

Christine - Ha! That says a lot about the film, doesn't it?

ajnabi - Totally agree.

Mansi - He really, really does :)
Filmbuff said…
Good review as usual Beth. KK spoiled this movie for me. As I previously said to Nicki, I wish they had paired Ranbir with Genelia, Asin, Sonam or Deepika in this film. Ranbir is good and I liked all the screencaps. He was really good in WUS and Rocket Singh.
Filmbuff said…
Memsaab, to start with, pls watch Wake up Sid and Rocket Singh.
2020 said…
OMG yes, can we please have an end to jokes about rape/abduction/forced marriage in Indian cinema. There's a similar abduction joke in Namastey Lon don, which I can shrug off only because it is clearly said in "jest" and because the women around Kumar's character in that scene give him a good cuffing for it. But totally agree about Ranbir. Have you seen Rocket Singh? What a gem. I haven't seen Ajab Prem yet -- usually like Katrina in this sort of fare. She can be very charming and has such great comic actress potential. BTW beth, love the Shashi banner.
Heqit said…
Oh Beth, you are so right about this film. It's worth watching for Ranbir and otherwise pretty forgettable.


You forgot to mention the one bit that actually made me laugh really hard: the Jesus-in-a-fruit-truck (deus ex machina! literally!) cameo at the end. How, in a nation full of dark-haired dudes, did they have to put a white guy in a wig to play JC? And how awesome is it that Jesus apparently takes a sheep with him at all times on his fruit/happy ending delivery rounds? Rama always has a bow and arrow; Jesus has a little lamb (whose fleece is white as snow).
Filmbuff - Thanks! I am no fan of KK either but at least here I wouldn't say she was the worst part. The question of who to put opposite Ranbir is a good one...I like the idea of Asin...and maybe Vidya? No idea!

sparkle h - YES WE CAN. Seriously.

I can't wait to see Rocket Singh - my copy just came in the mail today (though I think it's on netflix instant too, or at least it has been).

Heqit - Heehee yes, that was funny. I loved lily-white Jesus just because he is so often depicted in unearthly (and un-human) pale skin tones, and I assumed the filmmakers were riffing on that? The wig, though...yech. :)
2020 said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
2020 said…
Rocket Singh is a real gem of a film, a sweet, low-key caper that packs a real punch. Ranbir totally won me with Rocket Singh.
Unknown said…
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ligne said…
actually if you thought this was loud, then most priyadarshan movies are worse. His gem movie is Hera Pheri..watch it if you havent already

This movie is made by the director who made Andaaz apna apna which was/is a cult classic...it quite ridiculous and fun to watch with a bunch of friends.
sparkle h - I loved it! I need to rewatch before posting about it.

ligne - Yeah, I'm not a fan of Priyadarshan generally, and in fact I want back the hours of my life I spent watching Kyon Ki and Bhagam Bhag - though inexplicably I like Hulchul. And I looooove Billu.

I have seen Hera Pheri and Andaz Apna Apna and don't understand why people love them so. I assume the language barrier is part of the reason they both make me just go *shrug*. I'll have to try AAA again sometime (with a Hindi speaker!) - it's been awhile since I saw it.
TaC said…
If you haven't, do watch Barfi! A lot of the scenes are copied, but the movie is made a delightful watch because of Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. Wonderful acting by the lead pair.
I have. :) http://bethlovesbollywood.blogspot.com/2012/12/mini-review-marathon-new-ish-hindi-films.html

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