"One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas / How he got into my pajamas I'll
never know," said Groucho Marx. Appu would be the one ruing this way, were he
to get a chance to watch this flick. I mean, look at things from his perspective
- he shot for it probably several weeks, it's his debut on the silver screen,
and at the end of it all, the only thing that he'll be thinking about is how he
got into it all.
Raja Ko Rani Se Pyar Ho Gaya, despite featuring rajas and ranis of all forms of royalty, ends up lost and without focus. It begins by sounding like a good old romantic flick, but then changes its mind and starts all over again, this time behaving like a movie for six-year-olds. And just when you are getting used to the kid stuff, the movie veers off-track again, jumps off the plane of sense and plunges deep into the sea of meaninglessness.
It is not unheard of for filmmakers to use endearing animals to make their movies appealing, especially if their target audience is on this side of twelve. But to expect an elephant (a baby elephant, at that) to work the entire show is a sure sign of lazy filmmaking. The results are obvious - and undesirable.
Mohit Kumar (Aravind Swamy), the son of an ex-Big Shot, lives in a "haveli" in the village and is convinced that he is the "rajkumar" of all his grandma's bedtime stories. So when Manisha (Manisha Koirala) conveniently falls into the river he is swimming in, he rescues her and dreams (in a funny underwater dream sequence) of eternal love. Quite unaware of his plans, Manisha, after paying his family a thank-you visit, returns to Mumbai.
Mohit goes to Mumbai in search of her, setting up his base camp at his elder bro's Rohit's place.
Here we are introduced to Rohit's three children. (Remember those endearing brats in Hum Hai Rahi Pyaar Ke? These rather unremarkable kids are nothing like them.) Together they set out to find Manisha, though it is Manisha who finally finds them, and gifts them Appu, the baby elephant.
This is followed by a set of boring and thoroughly unbelievable antics with the poor elephant. You begin to feel sorry both for the filmmaker and yourself, when he expects you to believe that an elephant can be kept undetected in a three-room apartment for four weeks.
Suddenly, the director decides he has to end the movie. Appu is pushed to the background and Mohit proposes to Manisha. You pray that she accepts, so you can go home and think about more pleasant things. But no such luck. It turns out that Manisha is married. A case of child marriage, of course. And the husband is after her money, of course. And by the time the movie ends, you find yourself agreeing with all those animal-rights activists that it should never have been released.
With unnecessary theatrics and bad dialogue delivery, Aravind Swamy gives an unconvincing
performance, probably because he himself isn't convinced about the script. Clearly
a director's actor, it is sad to see him play such insipid roles after Roja and
Bombay. Manisha Koirala does nothing to improve the movie for you. Appu comes
across as artificial, and there really isn't anything more for me to say.