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Raghu Romeo is paisa vasool!

By Shilpa Bharatan Iyer
June 17, 2004 08:47 IST
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A still from Raghu RomeoThis feel-good film may be short, but it is totally paisa vasool. It has dance bars and babes, hitmen and action, comedy and songs in its fast-paced, 99 minute duration.

Raghu Romeo is the story of a waiter working in a dance bar. Raghu (Vijay Raaz) lives with his mother (Surekha Sikri) in a chawl and leads an otherwise humdrum existence. He comes alive only when watching the serial Dard Ka Rishta, starring his favourite Neetaji (Maria Goretti). He believes the character Neetaji is real and not just a role that she performs.

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Neetaji, like our current crop of television heroines, is purer than snow, more sinned against than sinning, bearing all the injustices heaped on her with a stoic countenance. She is ready to die for her in-laws, spouting typical self-sacrificing bahu dialogues.

Raghu is so obsessed with Neetaji that he even imagines her talking to him from a television set being carried on a scooter in a traffic jam.

One of the girls at the bar, Sweety (Sadiya Siddiqui), has a soft corner for Raghu. Of course, Raghu is very discomfited by her 'forward' approach. To complete the triangle is Mario aka Brother (Saurabh Shukla), a contract killer who is besotted with Sweety. Raghu, however, is unaware of what Brother does for a living.

On Neetaji's birthday, Raghu borrows a Taj Mahal miniature from a shop where his friend works, to gift her. He promises his friend Chandan he will pay its price (Rs 400) later.

Unfortunately, he doesn't get beyond her secretary in the studio.

A still from Raghu RomeoWhen Raghu returns to work the next day and asks the bar owner for his dues, the owner refuses to pay Raghu's outstanding four months' wages. Raghu manages to grab Rs 400 from the day's collection. In return, he gets a sound beating and loses his job.

Brother, who is present at the bar through this fracas, is moved by Sweety's tears. He pays off the owner and hires Raghu as his driver.

When someone puts out a contract on Neetaji, Raghu vows to rescue her. But Brother has to kill her, to save his reputation.

Will Raghu save his beloved Neetaji from Brother?

The film moves at a fast and furious pace with loads of humour. The editing is crisp and Saurabh Shukla has done a wonderful job with the dialogues.

Raaz, as Raghu, is superb. He has captured quite well Raghu's discomfort when dealing with women, his innate goodness and simplicity. He can be totally identified with the character.

Sadiya Siddiqui, as the bar dancer, balances her tough, streetsmart act and sensitivity well.

A still from Raghu RomeoInitially, Maria Goretti's character, as the television star Neetaji spouting self-sacrificing dialogues in the serial, is hard to swallow. But you get over that as the film moves on and realise that Maria has indeed done a competent job.

Raghu Romeo is a well-directed film. Debutant director Rajat Kapoor has managed to capture Mumbai's gritty life on the streets with accuracy. Considering that Kapoor organised his funds through the Internet, he has done a fair job. One hopes his next project is smoother. Here's to seeing more of his films.

Cast: Vijay Raaz, Sadiya Siddiqui, Saurabh Shukla, Maria Goretti
Director: Rajat Kapoor
Producer: NFDC/Cinematograph
Music: Pritam

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Shilpa Bharatan Iyer