We have seen him in hard-hitting stuff like Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, Shahid, CityLights, Aligarh. Now see Rajkummar Rao tackle his comic skills in the quirky romcom Behen Hogi Teri. Shruti Haasan plays the female lead in the movie that's directed by debutante Ajay K Pannalal. The trailer has impressed us with its funny dialogues and topical premise, and the Jai Maa song, the devotional parody of Kaala Chasma number from Baar Baar Dekho. Now it's time to see if the movie lives upto the fun quotient that the trailer has promised us. Above all, we want to see how the brilliant actor Rajkummar Rao is able to slip into the role of a loverboy, who is not secretly making MMSes. Here's our review of Behen Hogi Teri...
What's it about
Set in UP, Shiv aka Guttu (Rajkummar Rao) is besotted with his pretty neighbour Binni (Shruti Haasan), but like many other lads in the locality, he is scared that she will tie him rakhi and make him her brother. Binni, who is aware of his affections, toys with his feelings at first before finally accepting his love for her. However, the rest of the family members are totally oblivious of their burgeoning romance and treat him as her 'mooh-bola' brother. However, in a strange case of mistaken perception, Gattu's father (Darshan Jariwala) sees Binni with his best friend Bhure (Herry Tangri) and thinks they are having an affair. He informs her elder brother (Ninad Kamat) about this, who promptly fixes her marriage with an NRI groom Rahul (Gautam Gulati). In another comedy of errors, Bhure's honour-killing loving family (Ranjeet, Gulshan Grover and co) are also hell-bent on getting Binni married to Bhure. Will Gattu manage to find the guts to reveal the truth and tell everyone 'Behen Hogi Teri'? Or will he end up being the victim of another 'Rahul'?
Like I said before, it is very refreshing to see Rajkummar Rao take a break from gritty fare and do something light for a change. The best part is that he is not at all like a fish out of water in this romcom. In every frame he is in, you just can't take your eyes of the bundle of talent, who shows once again that he is among the best in the industry and no genre is a challenge for him. His character is something every boy who has grown up in small towns and localities can totally relate to. It also has to be noted that the director keeps his character flawed throughout, only to show some sort of heroism towards the climax, making him so relatable. His drunken rant against all the Rahuls and Rajs of Bollywood (looking at you, Shah Rukh Khan!) is one of the best scenes of Rajkummar's career (and of course, the movie as well!). Giving him tremendous support is Herry Tangri as his bestie, whom you better know as Yuvraj Singh from MS Dhoni: The Untold Story. Both Rajkummar and Herry had made their debut in Love, Sex Aur Dhokha (though they didn't share a scene together in the film), so this is a reunion of sorts. That scene when Binni's brother slaps him, his angry reaction will surely win him more admirers. Darshan Jariwala is, as always, terrific, even though he gets typecast in the same role while Ninad Kamat is endearing as the protective elder brother, who falls short of being an MCP. The dialogues by Vinit Vyas are naturally funny, while the director has managed to get the milieu of the small town UP right, as well as the setting of a middle class locality. Above all, he does justice to the title of the movie with his premise. It is a phrase every guy in India often end up using during our wooing days. In our country, our elders and even friends have this habit of often making some random girl as our sister, and the movie pokes fun at this practice. Also our fear of rakhis...Brrrr!
The first half is definitely entertaining, especially when it goes about establishing the main characters, as well as Guttu and Binni's love story. The development of romance during a funeral scene is a scream in the way it's portrayed. Though second half loses steam with its meandering subplots, there are still scenes that manage to raise chuckles like the one where Guttu's father reveals his master plan, as well as his adoration to Bush Jr and Sr, as well as Trump.
While I enjoyed the first half, the second half doesn't continue with the same pace and elevation, instead losing its way into boring tracks that do not work well. The entire subplot of Bhure's goonish family ends up as a case of weak and unconvincing writing, and doesn't add much value to the main premise. I don't know how many can accept the serious issue of honour killing being discussed in such a light-hearted manner. The pace also dips at several moments of the narrative in these portions, and we really want to go out there, blast Gattu, make him confess his feelings about Binni and end the tale there and then.
Another big drawback is Shruti Haasan. Be it her character or her performance, neither manage to make a good impression, especially when surrounded by some really good actors. Earlier this year, we had seen Alia Bhatt defy male diktats to make her own career in Badrinath Ki Dulhania. But here Binni is a very weak female character, who waits for her boyfriend to save the day for her. In fact, the movie doesn't do much justice to the female characters in the movie, with the sole exception being that scene where the locality's ladies take on the goons, while their husbands timidly try to separate them. The climax is a big letdown.
What to do
Behen Hogi Teri may not be as funny as the trailer has promised us, thanks to a sluggish second half and weak female characters. Nevertheless, it is still an entertaining watch, with all due credit to Rajkummar Rao's terrific performance, a great supporting cast and some really funny scenes. It may not be the comedy of the year, but Behen Hogi Teri doesn't end up being a decent time pass flick, that you can surely enjoy if you can overlook the flaws.
3.0 out of 5
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