After an eight year hiatus, director Aditya Chopra returns-the highly successful DDLJ drawn on a platter from the NRI pool and his second offering-the distressingly, collegian tragic ‘Mohabattein’. Perhaps after the tepid response to ‘Mohabattein’, Aditya preferred to remain in the background credits of most of the films rolled out of Yash Raj Films as an ‘executive producer.’ But you cannot keep a restless talent suppressed for long and Aditya has emerged once again to don the directorial cap for ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’. He has also written the script, dialogues & screenplay.

While the earlier two, focused more on the elite , the shift this time is on the middle class-a mohalla in Amritsar. Here is the dwelling of Surinder Sahni (Shah Rukh Khan) who works at the ‘Punjab Power Company’. Surinder Sahni epitomizes pure middle class. He has a semi cubicle as his office, faithfully picks up his phone to greet the caller “Punjab power company we light up your life’ with a stress on the ‘ji’ a hall mark of a well behaved soft spoken Punjabi; commutes on a Bajaj Chetak, carries a yellow tiffin, lives in a mohalla and visits the Harmandir Sahib religiously. His only friend and confidant is Bobby Khosla, (a slimmer Vinay Pathak) who owns a beauty parlour & is always dressed to kill in the nouveau riche fashion.

Suri’s idyllic existence is raised on its head when circumstances compel him to marry a pretty Punjabi girl Taani (debutante Anushka) who is an unwilling partner but giving into the situation tragically arising after her beau’s death in an accident on the day of her wedding. Suri brings his new wife home, but is unable to beget a wifely companion. Nevertheless he is devoted and in love with her. Taani, in her bid to keep herself occupied and put the painful memories behind her, chances on an advertisement for a ‘Dance Event’ to be held. Sensing her interest in it, Suri encourages her to enrol and this time around, his friend Bobby convinces him to enrol as her partner under an assumed name and a new makeover. Enter Raj (actually Suri himself) in a new avatar. Raj is the antithesis of Surinder Sahni. Clean shaven with tight jeans & tighter t-shirt, pointed boots, streaked hair, coloured glasses, a thick Haryanvi accent & street-level coarse dialogues and a happy-go-lucky attitude. The rest of the story is how Taani slowly gets attracted to Raj. Will she leave Suri and elope when Raj proposes? Are looks & a macho style more important than a person’s character, commitment and feelings – though otherwise staid? This is the basic premise.

Shah Rukh, as Suri essays a commendable performance as the low-key employee wearing archaic clothes. As Raj he is hilarious & buffoonish. His escapades with Bobby during drunken binges raise quite a few laughs. Anushka Sharma, his unwilling wife is charming . The sets are excellently done especially the mohalla which conjure images of any older localities in Amritsar or Delhi or Lucknow. The music is a bit of a let down though ‘Holey Holey ho jayega pyar o baliye’ is truly hummable.

All-in -all a good comeback effort but difficult to forget the bar raised during ‘DDLJ’.

Contributed By Bobby Ghatak, a long-time movie buff