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Producer: Vijayta Films
Director: Imtiaz Ali
Starring: Introducing Abhay Deol, Ayesha Takia, Sandhya Mridul, Ayesha Jhulka, Suresh Oberoi, Rati Agnihotri, Apoorva Jha
Music: Sandesh Shandilya
Lyrics: Irshad Kamil and Subrat Sinha

Genre: Romantic Drama
Recommended Audience: General
Released on: March 04, 2005
Approximate Running Time: 143 minutes
Reviewed by: Ekanshu Khera
Reviewer's Rating: 7 out of 10
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Dharmendra’s banner Vijayta films has been a launch pad for several new artistes (mostly Deols) - Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh in Betaab, then Bobby Deol and Twinkle Khanna in Barsaat. Their latest offering is a small, low-budget, relatively unknown flick Socha Na Tha, introducing Dharmendra’s nephew - Abhay Deol… but don’t let that put you off!

Well certain things are a given in Socha Na Tha. The film had a low key promotional campaign and no backing of famed stars - so the expectations aren’t soaring. But this delightful little film will take you by surprise!

The premise of the film is simple. Viren (Abhay Deol), a smooth-talking urbanite, is strongly against the concept of arranged marriage. He has a girlfriend, Karen (Apoorva Jha) but is not sure if she’s the one. His family on the other hand is adamant on arranging his marriage. They compel Viren to meet Aditi (Ayesha Takia).

Aditi has been rejected several times by potential suitors and she’s not expecting a favourable response from Viren either. The two meet as per their family’s wishes but agree to reject the proposal. As a result, misunderstandings are triggered between the two families and they have a big fall-out.

But Aditi and Viren remain friends. Aditi plays cupid and helps Viren and Karen pursue their romance. She embarks on a mission to make their relationship work and they visit Goa. Things get more complicated when the two families try to make sense of the going-ons.

The title Socha Na Tha sounds puzzling and rather indecisive, but is apt to most of the happenings in the film.

Debutante director, Imtiaz Ali, who has also scripted the film, shows great potential. The situations presented are identifiable and subtly comical. Some scenes are particularly well executed. The ones that standout are:

- The scene where Viren and Aditi meet for the first time on their family’s insistence.

- The scene where Viren meets Karen’s Christian parents to ask her hand.

- The climax scene where Aditi tries to flee Viren from his engagement.

The effectiveness of these situations can be credited to well written dialogues, penned by Imtiaz Ali himself.

The concept of the film does bear some familiarity with teenage romances, such as 2002’s masterpiece Saathiya and 2003´s Ishq Vishk. But what sets Socha Na Tha apart is its screenplay. It doesn’t resort to cliches such as love-at-first-sight or hate-then-grow-to-love-each-other.

Even the characterizations and performances (especially the supporting artistes) are impeccable.

Abhay Deol makes a decent debut. His presence is not as strong felt as either of the Deol siblings, but he manages to comfortably carry off Viren’s character. However he does need to pay particular attention to his hair style and wardrobe. His voice modulation is also poor. At times he seems to ape Bobby Deol from his early years.

In contrast, Ayesha Takia excels as the energetic, but vulnerable Aditi. She steals the limelight with her charm and cute looks. Ayesha brings the much needed sparkle to Aditi’s character. She has even impressed in previous disasters like Taarzan - the Wonder Car and Dil Maange More.

Amongst the supporting actors, Sandhya Mridul, Ayesha Jhulka and Raj Zutshi impress. Mridul only strengthens her performance with every film - from Saathiya to Page 3, and now Socha Na Tha. One only wishes she was given more screen time.

Rati Agnihotri and Suresh Oberoi are adequate.

Another highlight of the film is its music. The underrated Sandesh Shandilya has composed young, energetic tunes suitable to the tone of the film. Amongst them, ‘Yaara Rab’, ‘Abhi Abhi mere dil’ and ‘Socha Na tha’ are hummable.

All things considered, do check out this light hearted flick. This one will be worth your time and money!

You might even find yourself saying “Socha Na Tha this film would be such an entertainer!”