“Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani” turned out almost like I thought it would, although I had expected better. Majorly slapstick-y with a very, very loose story-line, is how I’d describe it. The regular rules on describing character development and depth don’t apply here because, and I’ll say it flat out, there is none. Character development that is.
This film, while being physically situated in a hill-station like small town, appears to play out in fantasy land. Hence, to sit through this film, you are required to suspend your disbelief and knowledge of physics, gravity and all that tiresome logic.
The film, as the title proclaims, is about Prem Chopra (Ranbir Kapoor) who is a 9th standard fail, good-for-nothing wastrel (where have I seen that before?). Prem is all about being President of a “Happy Club” – he does nothing else. The Happy Club and it’s members, who are all Prem’s equally good-for-nothing friends, have lofty goals in mind, but run around not amounting to much.
Prem who lives with and is supported by his parents, wants to “grow up” once he sights and falls in love with the beautiful Jennifer (Katrina Kaif). However Jenny is being forced by her foster parents to marry an odious chap, and she actually loves Rahul (Upen Patel). Prem, by virtue of being her friend, and very classically hero-like in being unable to tell her of his love, finds himself kidnapping her from her very own wedding so she can be with her true love. Things of course do not go as planned, but does Prem get what he deserves?
While the film makes it very clear that there is no realism in the story, and the viewer should expect no connections (remote or otherwise) to coherence, it is also not an out-an-out gag fest. There is an attempt to create a film full of buffoonery, tomfoolery and abject slapstick, but Santoshi cannot keep up the momentum.
Thus while there are some scenes which are comedic, there were gaps in the film where I was plain bored. Add to that, the fact that this film pretty much conducts itself at a level suited for a teeny-bopper flick, and you get the picture.
Even given that, this film fails to leave a mark, chiefly because I care not a whit about the card-board-ish lead-pair, Prem and Jenny, both of whom share two common characteristics. Firstly they both stammer when upset, and the second (which the director may not have intended) that although full-grown adults, they appear to only possess child-sized brains.
This film might descend into stupidity, but its stars are quite another matter. Luminous Katrina, and the youngish Ranbir, ooze beauty and charm in every frame. Even though they have no help from the script, they manage to salvage the film to make it an average entertainer. There are other factors which help, like the absolutely marvelous Govind Namdeo, who breathes life into his 10 minute role. Also Darshan Jariwala, playing Prem’s restaurant-owner father, and Smita Jaykar, playing his loving, indulgent mother lend their able support. The songs, which are quite melodious are picturised beautifully and with a sophistication not seen in the film itself.
The best thing about this film, if I had to name one, is that it did not have any double-meaning jokes, vulgarity, sexual innuendoes or the Johnny Lever style facial contortions that currently pass for humor. Although there were minor irritants like showing a woman’s sari being “unintentionally” unwrapped (only in Bollywood!), this film was relatively kid-friendly, and I have to say that my kids enjoyed it a whole lot more than I did.
APKGK (long names anyone?) is a slap-stick entertainer and will probably do quite well at the box-office. If you go in there expecting a low-brow, loud, in-your-face comedy sans logic you will get your money’s worth. However if your funny bone is not tickled by random people falling off staircases, or a bunch of half-wits running around for no apparent reason, please consider spending your hard-earned money elsewhere.