In Dinesh Vijan’s directorial debut Raabta (Connection), a comet has an important role. After 800 years, this comet – named ‘Love Joy’ – is now returning to Earth’s atmosphere. Its arrival signals pre-destined changes in the life of the three leads in the film (played by Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon and Jim Sarbh).
The comet’s sickeningly sweet name also signals the mostly intolerable film to come.
In their previous life, the three were in a love triangle. A few days before the comet strikes, they meet in Budapest in separate incidents. Again, a complicated love triangle begins, they make the same old mistakes, and put themselves in danger.
Raabta treats the romance and fantasy genre like brightly coloured balloons.
The lead actors look elated at being in a big-budget film set in a foreign city. But their performances are so bad that you often find yourself looking off-screen to spare them the embarrassment. Then again, given that the content is as inane as an amateur high-school skit, can we blame the actors for underperforming?
Sushant Singh Rajput plays Shiv Kakkar, a Punjabi munda who flies to Budapest from Amritsar to work as a banker. Before the flight takes off from Amritsar airport, he promises his mother that he will bring home a gori (white woman). He promises himself that he will sleep with as many white women as possible.
Accompanying him is his friend Radha, who is there primarily to make ‘I can eat so much’ fat jokes, provide emotional support to his perennially horny friend, and finally, sacrifice himself at the altar of his friend’s weird love story.
In Budapest, the men are rarely at their office. Taking a leaf from Ranveer Singh in Befikre, Shiv starts sleeping around. One day, he runs into Saira Singh (Kriti Sanon), the owner of a bakery. Saira is an orphan with aquaphobia. Troubled by frequent nightmares, she tends to talk to her own reflection in the mirror. At times, she even chats with her parents, who died when she was two years old. Despite living in Europe for a long time, she speaks Hindi with a desi accent, and has a nose for desi men.
For instance, at a crowded fair in Budapest where she’s looking to hook up with someone, her eyes fall on a random man, whose isn’t even facing her. Just like that, she goes up to him and starts talking in chaste Hindi. The man responds in Hindi. Two scenes later, they are walking in the rain, singing “Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si”.
It is not impossible to believe that Saira and Shiv would fall in love at first sight. The two are equally silly and narcissistic. Before leaving for work every day, Saira looks at herself in the mirror and says, “Aren’t you a bomb!” Shiv is similarly in love with his own chiselled body.
Destiny brings them together, sparing other men and women from the horror of having to date (or worse, marry) either of them.
The villain in this story of love is a high-profile liquor baron who falls in love with Saira. He believes that she was his lover from 800 years ago. Given all the free booze he must down every day, this doesn’t come across as nonsensical.
In a flashback, we see Shiv as a warrior, and Saira as the Sahiba, the princess of a rival clan. Zach (Jim Sarbh) is a prince named Kabir. Kabir and Sahiba grew up together, practicing sword fighting.
In one scene, Sahiba is shown attacking a tiger with nothing but her powerful gaze. Kabir shoots the tiger with an arrow and she snaps at him to say, “Why did you steal my catch?” The silliness of the scene is exacerbated by the fact that Sanon looks (or acts) nothing like a princess who can fight a dog, let alone a tiger. Her performance here only adds to a string of disappointing performances in films like 1: Nenokkadine, Dilwale and Heropanti.
Sushant, on the other hand, does better in the flashback scenes, where all he has to do is perform a few high-octane stunts, gaze intensely into Sanon’s eyes, and drown in the sea and die. Flash forward, and he’s a crossover between DDLJ’s Shah Rukh Khan, and Befikre‘s Ranveer Singh. The performance is loud and hard to like.
The only bearable elements in the film are Martin Preiss’ camerawork, which seamlessly brings to life the colours of urban life, and the production design, which convincingly builds up a village of barbarians in the flashback portions.
Raabta is an ugly display of Bollywood’s soulless opulence.
The Raabta review is a Silverscreen original article. It was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the movie. Silverscreen.in and its writers do not have any commercial relationship with movies that are reviewed on the site.