Movie Review: Sorry, Rangrezz is no Kai Po Che

by Ravina Rawal

If I could pick a trio of men to be on my side in life, I’d probably go with Rishi, Winu and Pakya. The three best friends in Priyadarshan’s  Rangrezz are fiercely protective of one another, and believe that friends are like family—frequently switching between the role of a brother, father, sister, mother. (Said fast, that sounds like a bad word, but I digress.) They’ll give, quite literally, an arm and a leg for each other, and go to surprisingly great lengths for friendship and love.

Rishi Deshpande (Jackky Bhagnani) is on the verge of getting a job. And getting the girl. The latter is dependent on the former as a condition placed on him by his future father-in-law, who repeatedly reminds Rishi that he has to be in some sort of government service before he can earn his daughter Megha’s (Priya Anand) hand in marriage. Rishi accepts this without question, and says he is working at getting admitted into the police force. All he really seems to be achieving, however, is getting into trouble, even though his intentions are good. By his side, every step of the way, are Winu (Amitosh Nagpal) and Pakya (Vijay Verma).

The story and its presentation — though some scenes are slickly shot — borders on the bizarre. Image courtesy: Facebook

The story and its presentation — though some scenes are slickly shot — borders on the bizarre. Image courtesy: Facebook

Rishi’s ‘diaper dost’ Joy (Raghav Chanana) shows up suddenly one day, and unloads his life’s troubles on him — there is a girl, they are in love, her family won’t let them get married, and he is feeling suicidal enough to have already made an attempt to drown himself in front of Rishi and his friends.

Rishi isn’t just a good Samaritan, he’s like a best Samaritan, always putting the needs of others before himself. His own love life may be in something of a limbo because he still hasn’t got that government job, but he pushes all that to the side for the time being and decides he will not rest till he gets Joy and his lover together. Winu and Pakya are on board because well, what’s better than helping lovers unite? They also drag a very reluctant Rajpal Yadav into the mix. There begins a drama that involves a kidnapping, a frenzied wedding, huge personal losses for each character, two other half-baked love stories including Rishi’s, saving a dhaaba (don’t ask), and a downright bizarre climax that deals with angry revenge that honestly feels totally unwarranted.

Because they are three boys, and this movie is all about friendship (I think), one cannot help but go back to last month’s charming Kai Po Che. Except that Rangrezz is a lot more aggressive than that. And while on paper we know that these three boys are super close, they’re missing that unmistakably warm camaraderie the KPC boys shared; or at least there isn’t enough of it to explain a lot of their choices and reactions through the film.

I want to at least be able to say that it has its heart in the right place, but I’m really just not sure where its heart is. Many things about this movie puzzled me; most of all the fact that Tamil hit Nadodigal has now been adapted in four different languages, because…why? I’m not sure what worked for the audiences down south and in Bengal, I haven’t seen those versions of the film, but this Hindi remake is severely lacking.

The story and its presentation — though some scenes are slickly shot — borders on the bizarre. Then there’s the acting, for which props can only be given with a clear conscience to Vijay Verma, who is pretty wonderful. Anand doesn’t get enough screen time to make an impact, and Nagpal’s character doesn’t require much of a performance. Bhagnani delivers an average performance, indicating that his father and producer of this film (and all the others he’s acted in thus far) Vashu Bhagnani is going to have to maybe bail him out with another couple of films before he flies from his coop. Yadav’s performance is OTT for the most part, but provides comic relief in a gritty tale; and Lushin Dubey, who plays a UP politician and Joy’s mother, insists on delivering her dialogues at the top of her voice in an odd, exaggerated accent that makes us crave a moment’s silence after every sentence from her.

Sajid-Wajid’s music is disappointingly forgettable, with most songs feeling like a force fit. But we must also mention Korean one-hit wonder Psy’s Gangnam Style song sequence that Bhagnani dances to when the end credits roll. Considering how much Vashu Bhagnani is rumoured to have negotiated to get the rights to this song, and at what monetary cost, one can’t help but wonder, was it worth it? The song plays out exactly like the original, the only difference is that the accompanying video has Bhagnani Jr. boogeying to it against the backdrop of various Indian scenarios. Maybe we’re just sick of the song, maybe the timing isn’t right, but did it steal the show? Not at all. Ditto for the movie.

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