Bachna Ae Haseeno is special. Ranbir Kapoor is cast opposite teen deviyaan Bipasha Basu, Deepika Padukone, Minissha Lamba. It's produced by a premier production house, the credits read 'Story by Aditya Chopra' and most importantly, it's helmed by Siddharth Raj Anand, who merged form and content so beautifully in Salaam Namastey and Ta Ra Rum Pum. The expectations, therefore, are humungous.
Before we go any further, let's clear a misconception at the very outset. Bachna Ae Haseeno is not inspired by THE BACHELOR [the industry feels so, hence this clarification], but it bears an uncanny resemblance to the yesteryear film TEEN DEVIAN [1965; Dev Anand, Nanda, Kalpana, Simi Grewal] and Telugu film Naa Autograph [Raviteja, Bhoomika, Mallika, Gopika, Kanyaka]. Of course, Chopra and the screenplay writer try to be different and any resemblance with any film could be purely coincidental.
Now let's move on! Bachna Ae Haseeno has a great cast, great chemistry amongst actors [so sizzling, it could melt butter], great locations [jaw dropping actually] and some great moments. But all these factors combined together don't make a great film. Bachna Ae Haseeno suffers, to a major extent, due to its screenplay running out of steam in the second hour.
The gist of the story is truly captivating -- the guy is a complete flirt, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Enter three women in different stages of his life. Love is in the air. Two dream of marrying him, but he ditches them and the third, whom he intends marrying, says a blunt 'No' to the offer. Heart-broken, the guy realizes his folly and plans on doing prayashchit. He goes back to the first two women and apologises. Wow! A story to bowl you over indeed!
Bachna Ae Haseeno has splendid moments in the first hour. In fact, the three stories, minus the culmination of course, are beautifully told in the first hour itself. There're some attention-grabbing moments in this hour [details later] and you genuinely feel exhilarated after having watched those portions.
Now to the second hour -- the guy repents for his misdeeds and years later, goes back to the first two women in his life. That's where the problems surface...
From the writing point of view, the first story [Minissha] is given an appropriate and beautiful culmination in the second hour. But the second [Bipasha] and third [Deepika] stories face rough weather. These stories don't work and therefore, colour your judgement on the movie. Like it happens with most Hindi films, the writing is the culprit here as well. It lacks the power to keep you hooked in the second hour.
In a nutshell, Bachna Ae Haseeno could've been the ideal youthful entertainer, occupying the position that Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na enjoys amongst the yuppy crowd. But as things stand now, it's a great looking film with nothing outstanding about it. Strictly okay for a single watch, that's about it!
Meet Raj [Ranbir Kapoor]. He falls in love thrice...
The film talks of three love stories: Raj and Mahi [Minissha], Raj and Radhika [Bipasha], Raj and Gayatri [Deepika]. Different ladyloves at different times in his life. And each of them teach him a little bit about love and a little bit about life, in their own sweet, sexy or sassy way.
Director Siddharth Raj Anand knows the craft too well by now and his handling of the romantic and emotional scenes is worth appreciating. Take the sequence at the airport -- Minissha stands stunned listening to Ranbir's tale of 'conquest', with tears rolling down her cheeks. The silence says it all!
Note the sequence when Ranbir woos Bipasha, but eventually dumps her on the eventful day. It's raining and Bipasha just can't come out of the shock. The silence is deafening! Note yet another tragic end to the love story, when Deepika refuses the wedding proposal from Ranbir. Flashes from the past come alive at this point. It couldn't get better!
Post-interval, Ranbir's story with an already-married Minissha and her husband is equally moving. Ranbir's apology looks convincing and the culmination to this chapter couldn't be better. Ranbir moves on to Bipasha and it's here that the writing begins to go downhill. She's a wounded tigress and no amount of cajoling or apologies from Ranbir would melt her. So far, so good! But the path she uses to teach Ranbir a lesson is weird, sorry ludicrous.
The third story, with Deepika, is written in haste, one presumes. The girl suddenly has a change of heart and wants to marry Ranbir, she even writes to him everyday, not knowing that he's out of town. The culmination to this story is amateurish and one wonders whether the writer was in a tearing hurry to end the movie since the 2-hour mark had already been crossed.
Directorially, Siddharth Raj Anand offers stunning visuals and some really fine performances, but is letdown by the script. Vishal-Shekhar's music is just alright, nothing to rave or rant about. Barring 'Khuda Jaane' and 'Lucky Boy', the remaining songs don't have a lingering effect. Cinematography is a class apart. Besides, the cinematographer gets some spectacular locales and he does complete justice to it. Dialogues are good at times.
Ranbir Kapoor is marvellous. An incredible actor. One will run out of adjectives and personifications describing his performance. Amongst girls, Bipasha Basu stands the tallest. First RACE and now Bachna Ae Haseeno, the actress is finally getting the right roles that do justice to her talent. Also, she looks fab! Minissha doesn't work at the start, but scores in the emotional scenes, especially in the second hour. Deepika is a sore point. Her role isn't convincing and that's the reason why this performance doesn't work. The only consolation is, she looks gorgeous.
Kunal Kapoor is supremely efficient, handling his role with utmost maturity. Hiten Paintal is a revelation, a talent to watch out for. His camaraderie with Ranbir is top notch.
On the whole, Bachna Ae Haseeno has an interesting first half, but a weak second hour spoils the show. At the box-office, thanks to the hype built around the film, the opening weekend should be great, but beyond that, has tough chances of sustaining. Multiplexes at some big centres would be better, but that's no consolation.