This review contains major spoilers. Do not read, unless you've seen the movie. You have been warned.
Critics love to bash movies, even more so when the lead actor is not someone who has the cushion of a filmi family to soften the blows. So they are having a field day trashing R...Rajkumar. Is R...Rajkumar a formulaic movie? Yes, of course it is. But so are most Hollywood films (Thor, anyone? And I love Thor!). Sure, out of the box movies are nice, but familiar fare is also nice, especially with a young, daring, intense, ruggedly handsome looking Shahid Kapoor in the lead. Shahid plays Romeo Rajkumar, who is a character with shades of grey, given that he works for a drug lord. While he is not actually seen murdering anyone, save one exception in the end, he does quite a lot of questionable deeds. Despite that, if I only had one word to describe Romeo, it would be: COOL. The intensity Shahid brings to the character is overwhelming. I loved the parts where Romeo was in charge, playing with Shivraj and putting Chanda's sleazebag of an uncle into his place.
My country is a Bollywood desert, so the only Bollywood movies I get to watch are those produced by Eros (thank you, Eros!). So every time Shahid signs with them, I do a happy dance. Seeing Shahid on the big screen is a rare and special treat for me (as it is for my lovely friend Bia, who drove 7.5 hours to watch R...Rajkumar - hats off to you, girl!) and getting to enjoy Shahid's superb dancing on the big screen made my year. I'm so glad someone used his dancing skills properly for a change. Thank you, Prabhu Sir!
In one scene, right before the movie launched into Dhokha Dhadi, Shahid runs his fingers through his hair. I sighed. Loud. Bia sitting next to me had to laugh. :) But his hair is so gorgeous and he's gonna shave it ... argh! I mean, this blog is named for my love of hair ... sorry, I digress.
I also appreciated the cool visual images, like Romeo's reflection in the mirror of the truck he just ruined.
What I didn't like all that much about R...Rajkumar are complaints that I have about most Bollywood movies. I have never understood and will never understand the "you hate my guts, but I'll totally ignore that and just stalk you until you love me, nevermind that I never spoke a word with you and just love you deeply because of your looks" thought of school. The Western world got its dose of supposedly romantic stalking with Twilight, but it's a staple that Bollywood just loves. Has that approach ever worked in real life? I can't imagine it has.
Indian masala humour does not work for me, which is why I liked the second half better than the first, contrary to what seems to be the majority opinion (Did I mention how intense Shahid is? These scenes happen more often post interval).
Also, when Romeo said "I could take Chanda away, but I won't" or something to that account, I was like "why the hell not"? But hey, it would have deprived of some very cool happenings in the movie.
There have been accusations of R...Rajkumar being misogynistic and yes, it is, in the usual Bollywood way. No is not accepted to mean no, women serve the men, women are reduced to their bodies. I don't like it and I'm aware it is a problem. Luckily for me I can enjoy movies despite that. And in R...Rajkumar's defence, I think having Chanda (Sonakshi) perpetually slap Romeo was their idea of a strong women (not that her strength helped her any when it came to her arranged marriage, Romeo had to come to her rescue). I'm not sure what to think about the rape scene. Many agree it was unnecessary and I think so too. Maybe it was meant to show what an evil asshole the police officer in question was.