On the face of it, there is not much of a story in director Siddharth Anand's 'Anjaana Anjaani'. The plot is quite predictable, but the film still manages to work because of the lead pair, Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor and the moments that the director manages to create during the course of the movie.
Both actors share a wonderful onscreen chemistry and it goes a long way in enhancing the performances and adding to the romantic quotient of the movie. Of course, the premise is quite interesting with the lead protagonists meeting on top of a bridge one night in Manhattan, both with the intention of committing suicide.
And then starts the tumultuous journey by two strangers, as an 'anjaana' and an 'anjaani' become friends, then lovers, go back to becoming 'anjaana' 'anjaani' all over again, before the finale, which but obviously, has a happy ending.
The film's story is about Akash, a Wall Street broker, whose one wrong decision lands him and his company in the red and Kiara, who has had a heartbreak. Despite their best intentions of putting an end to their lives, they are unable to go through with their individual plans. They make a few other attempts to commit suicide but are equally unsuccessful.
That's when they realise that they may have some unfinished business to take care of and hence make a pact to commit suicide together on New Year's eve and decide to spend the next 20 days together and help each other fulfill their dreams. The action now shifts from New York, as they embark on a road journey to Las Vegas. The inevitable happens and they fall in love with each other.
This would certainly have not been an easy film to make as the action is only centered on these two characters with hardly any subplots. Other characters make their appearance but only to aid the story of Akash and Kiera. Hence, the focus is all on the chemistry between the lead actors and their performances. Thus, it seems doubly important for the audience to get to know them.
The first half of the movie unfolds at quite a leisurely pace as the director establishes the two characters and their strange relationship. The second half of the movie deals with the road journey to Vegas and how they proceed to become more than strangers and a little less than lovers. Comrades in crime, they look out for each other and proceed to have a blast till Cupid strikes. The director throws in a spanner in the works with an ex boyfriend surfacing in the form of Zayed Khan.
Of course, the director could have avoided a lot of clichés but the film manages to rise above these clichés on the strength of the performances. Both Priyanka and Ranbir are a treat to watch in this movie. Priyanka goes a little over the top in places but she manages to invest her character with a vulnerability which works very well.
There is a certain freshness about her performance which makes her a delight to watch. As for Ranbir, he is a perfect foil for her exuberant, over the top self. This young actor has a marvellous range and he is always trying to do things differently in most of his films. Despite being just a few films old, Ranbir turns in a seasoned performance as the failure Akash. He is extremely expressive and there is a beauty about his performance which is quite overpowering. This scion of the Kapoor khandaan is truly a worthy successor to the legacy of Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor.
Together, Ranbir and Priyanka make a lovely pair onscreen and one would certainly like to see more of them. In fact, where the Ranbir Priyanka jodi scores over the Ranbir Katrina Kaif jodi is the fact that in Priyanka, Ranbir finally has a co star who has enough ammunition to match him scene for scene.
Anand manages to create some truly funny and memorable moments, beginning with the first meeting between Kiara and Akash. Their interaction on the bridge is quite funny as is the scene where they find themselves stranded in the middle of the Atlantic. Also worthy of mention is the scene when Ranbir, as Akash dances, to 'I m a disco dancer' at a gay bar and then finds himself abducted by a gay suitor.
So yes, there are a lot of fun moments, moments which make this a movie which the youth should be able to relate to and enjoy. What weakens the premise of the movie is really their heartbreak stories, all quite predictable, stuff that we have heard of before. What really doesn't come across so effectively is why they needed to commit suicide?
Of course, Anand tries to wrap at all up quite neatly with Tanvi Azmi's character of a doctor, who wonders what's wrong with the youth and why they have no value for their life. But that's hardly good enough.
So, while on one level, it is a reasonably made film with some very good performances, the basic premise of suicide doesn't quite ring true. But, yes, it forms a good enough device which makes this romcom look a little different. So yes, the trappings have been very well done indeed by the director and his writer, Mamta Anand.
On a certain level, 'Anjaana Anjaani' works very well indeed. It has wonderful actors, beautiful locales, lovely music and is a love story. But one feels that the director could have done a more complete job by fleshing out his characters as he never quite justifies the despair that they are supposed to be undergoing.
The romance in the movie is brought out wonderfully by the songs, which have been composed by Vishal Shekhar. The numbers seem to make a stronger impact as one watches the movie and the composers have done a good job. The cinematography by Ravi K. Chandran seems to lift the movie to another level altogether as he gives it a grand look. The manner in which he has captured Manhattan, Las Vegas and the heart of the United States is quite wonderful.
In the final analysis, 'Anjaana Anjaani' works quite well as a romantic saga and Anand has managed to tell his story quite coherently in most places, except for a few hiccups. It has good performances, humour, romance, some sizzling chemistry, good music and has been excellently shot. In short, it is quite an endearing love story.