Ta Ra Rum Pum Review
Banner: Yash Raj Films; Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Shruti Seth; Director: Siddharth Anand; Producer: Aditya Chopra; Music: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani; Rating: ***
Banks and credit card companies may not be too happy with writer-director Siddharth Anand, Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee. Together they propagate the trend of ‘buy-not-pay-later’ as bad. Installments are bad, going down heavy on credit cards is bad, saving is cool, spending lavishly is not so cool!
So much is Rani Mukherjee a.k.a. Shona conscious about money in spite of being daughter of owner of ‘Fourth largest Database whatever’ [or is it third largest?] that she buys the cheapest possible wine and cheapest possible iPod but finds an ‘asli heera’ in the form of low-intellect-high-values pit worker turned country’s numero uno car racer RV [Saif Ali Khan].
He is the kind who loves to spend his first ever big time earning of $ 5000 by throwing a party to 200-250 odd friends and is constantly broke. But then as all goody-goody heroes are, he loves to keep smiling….and spending. Everything for making a wonderful today.
“But the man never thinks about his future”, says Shona’s dad, Victor Bannerjee, who doesn’t let the stereotypical dad from the era of 60s die. Probably the writer himself felt guilty of bringing on such a character on screen and this is why he gives him some flexibility by making him utter some unbelievable lines – “Go, have an affair, have a fling (sunne mein to cheap lagta hai!), and then forget all about him!”
The girl forgets her dad instead and walks down the altar, oops no, drives down the car, and marries RV on a fast track. Pronto they have two designer kids and it’s time to sing along ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’. So far, so good…actually feel-good!
Interspersed amongst all this fun is some real engaging action on the fast tracks. Details about how changing a tire after a few laps is important, filling in a particular brand of lubricant is a real necessity and placement of the sponsors’ hoardings at all the strategic spots where Siddharth Anand places his camera is of vital importance, are explained to the audience in some subtle and not-so-subtle manner.
No one seems to mind all this, you know, because the action is pulsating, crashes make you gasp and editing is slick. In short, the kind that would make you hold on to your popcorn for some more seconds before you can heave a sigh of relief.
Well, that’s not to be the case for long as after some romance, action and comedy [yes, Jaaved Jaafri is superb here as a migrant Gujjubhai who launches Saif on the racing circuit], there is some drama and tear-drop emotion required too. RV is injured on tracks, he recuperates, tries his luck again, is constantly reminded of his crashes, looses 10 races in a row and is soon thrown out (logical, very logical) by the Team Lead Billy [Bharat Dhabolkar] who loves to be called Mr. Bhatia with respect.
RV fails to find a new team, his credit cards and loan companies take away all his assets [this is why buying things on credit is bad, you know!] and he finds himself from Manhattan to a kind of ‘machchi-bazaar’ found on the backyards of New York. Placed in a one room downtrodden apartment, he, his Shona and his children try everything to call it loud – Life Is Beautiful!
And guess what, in case you wouldn’t have done it so far, RV is back o his winning ways. But not before he has been through some annoying neighbors, petty jobs like being a pit worker again, taking care of trolleys in super-stores, failed attempts at being a car salesman and finally being a cabbie on the road. “Wo aisa hai naa, US mein jab kisi ka sapna toot-ta hai, to woh cabbie banta hai” – as said by Gujjubhai at the very beginning of the film!
While first half is quite breezy, thanks again to Jaffri bhai [dialogues like - 'I Love You Brother, son of a different mother' - do keep you in splits], the second half begins on a highly predictable note. The sufferings, the pain, smile on your lips and tears in your eyes kinda emotions, one family-happy family-we are together factors can be seen coming but still credit to the director that he doesn’t let them drag beyond a point. He also does well in bringing a different side of New York in this half.
It’s after the hospitalization of RV’s son that proceedings pick up in a big way. The confrontation scene between RV and Billy is the pick of the lot where Saif is outstanding while the race sequence that follows in climax is terrific. Also, during the pre-climax the track ‘Saiyaan’ which runs in the background turns out to be best of the lot even though other songs do well as good eye candy.
Especially watch out for opening track ‘Ab To Forever’ where Rani looks seriously chic in her bronze look, short skirts, shorter tops and some real ‘jhatka’ moves that she has never done before in her decade long career.
Ok, so there are cliches galore like RV fighting it out on a track because he need money for his kid’s operation [oh gawd!], parents skipping their dinner so that children and an accompanying dog could have theirs, lack of degrees resulting in no jobs, rich father against poor match for his daughter and so on and so forth.
But guess what, none of that actually looks bad at all. Placed well in the film, they still make you look forward to the story that unfolds. Add to it some real masala ingredients of high adrenaline races and a funky background score [Salim-Suleiman delivering well, yet again] and TRRP ensures that you get back your movie tickets, popcorn/cola and parking ticket worth.