Last night a friend dropped by dinner after which we sat down to watch "Raincoat". I had my reservations about the movie because of Aishwarya Rai - that ethereally beautiful pestilence who has proved to be the undoing of many a half way decent film. Anyway more on that later.
So Mannu (played by Ajay Devgan) goes to meet his old girlfriend Niru (Ash) who ditched him to marry a rich guy. She seems to be living by herself in a house full of antiques and within the first few minutes of letting him in she asks him to removes his shirt (ahem!! ahem!!) all the while refusing to switch on the light. "Gosh how many hints does that dope Mannu need!" you wonder. It seems Niru is a simple, village girl from Bihar with a thing for boyfriends and candlelight dinners. Wonder where she picked that up from? As her husband is away, Niru steps out to buy some food for Mannu (remember the way to a man's heart is through his stomach) and her evil land lord (Anu Kapoor) stops by and tries his level best to rescue the movie. And just when you think he has succeeded, Niru comes back and spoils it for all of us.
Ash Darling, we know you are really intelligent (high IQ and stuff), now please stop acting in psuedo art house movies. They are just not your cup of tea, honey. Run along and dance around the trees will you, and leave the mature acting to the Nandita's and Shabana's - you know, the ugly ones. And please will someone just go ahead and make a movie about a lissome beauty queen trying to learn acting and give Ash the leading role...she might get a National Award for it and perhaps stop tormenting us with such performances.
Now on to that other pestilence called Rituporno Ghosh who after the award-winning-but-hardly-watched “Unishe April” has decided that getting a model turned beauty queen to act in his films will give him the mass appeal which his soul craves. Now sugar, if all you need is the adulation of the common man, learn to do it the right way with all the jhatkas, matkas, and item numbers with luscious beauties in backless cholis. Ask Subhash Ghai, he has perfected it to an art form. Just sit back and think...Who wants to watch Ash in a drab sari with black circles under her eyes? What kind of a cold blooded sadistic Indian male does this to his brothers? On the other hand if you want to make moolah and not look stupid at the same time (not a wise career move as Miss Rai will wisely tell you) just go back to hosting that Bengali TV show where you got to do all the girly stuff with some really smart women. Btw, what is with all the men flaunting their underwear in this movie??
Sorry about the diversion. Without going into further details let me tell just tell you that the evil duo of Ash (who is pissed that Mannu will not take any hints) and Ghosh make sure that poor Mannu gets nothing in the end. Ghosh the more evil of the two even gives him a raincoat, thereby taking away the one thing the man could look forward to - a cold shower. So now that you know why it’s called Raincoat, its time to call it a day, switch of the DVD player and go to sleep.
Bottomline this movie does not have a point; it’s an exercise in futility. The O Henry story "The Gift of Magi" (from which it is supposedly inspired) is at least heartwarmingly sweet and short. I don’t know about you, but I sure felt shortchanged by the ending. I will not even go into the incongrous bits like Niru's accent which strangely disappears in the flashbacks. Did she manage to get a Bihari accent after settling down in Calcutta by any chance? Not too bad if you have two hours to spare and are not prejudiced towards Miss Rai like myself, otherwise don't even bother.