All lovers start off as strangers first, before an affirmation as friends, then the bridge to be crossed to become lovers, and if the speedbumps along the way prove too much for the couple to handle, then that relationship will get relegated to friendship, before time takes over for memories to fade and they become strangers again. Director Siddharth Anand's Anjaana Anjaani takes on this cyclic tale as far as modern romances go, and while the premise is as sexy as its two leads, unfortunately it's the meandering, average storyline that ultimately trips up the film, no matter the powerhouse performances by Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.
It started off promising though, as the narrative takes its time to set up the backgrounds and stories behind how Ranbir's Akash and Priyanka's Kiara met on a bridge while both are contemplating suicide, with the former being a hotshot investor whose bad call at the markets translated to bankruptcy for him and his partners, while the latter in a drunken stupor, had hers kept under wraps and told in flashbacks as the story wore on. For an audience, you get set up to feel that you too have partaken in this getting-to-know-you phase by director Siddharth Anand, and get acquainted with the leads just as their characters begin on a journey, and an incredible one at that since they've moved in together, and set a date on which to execute themselves, but not before spending time crossing out an impromptu bucket list.
For instance, the first half dwells specifically on the adventures of these two doing quite the incredible for comedy, with most times leaving you wonder just how they get the cash to do what they do. But this is a fantasy film, so anything goes with nary a worry, which for two persons hell bent on killing themselves, splurging cash shouldn't be an issue at all since they can't bring their savings bank along to their graves. For Akash, his dream is to get laid, well sort of, since he's that romantic dreamer whose career had meant little chance and time to chase skirts. This of course sets off some alarm bells with audiences when there's Ms Kiara standing in front of him to pursue, but it's this slow burning discovery that true love may be in front of him after all, that forms the theme after the interval.
Meanwhile, Kiara's bucket list consists of swimming in the middle of the Atlantic. How they get there is one thing, but they do, and this episode sowed the seeds of a budding romance leading well into the second half of the film, where the story falls back on the tried and tested formula of a romantic comedy, with the couple not knowing what to do since they've made a pact to end their lives, yet see within each other a rainbow at the end of their personal stormy issues. You can almost sleepwalk through the entire film after the break, as it breaks out the formula to turn whatever's refreshing, and like a genie decided to put it all back in the bottle.
Watching two former Miss Worlds in separate movies from two of the largest film industries in India, can somewhat be distracting as well as surreal. But Priyanka Chopra came out tops in this tussle, in my opinion, since Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's role in Endhiran was somewhat whiny in behaviour to my liking. Chopra on the other hand turned out to be quite the livewire in this film even though her Kiara has the most baggage to bear amongst the two lovers in Anjaana Anjaani. Infusing her role with so much sass, one cannot help but to highlight that this is one of her most memorable performance to date after 2008's Fashion and What's Your Rashee, which saw her take on 12 different roles. Ranbir Kapoor feeds off Chopra's bubbling energy really well, and the two share some excellent screen chemistry together in their first pair up, that I'm wishing there will be more films in future to exploit this.
If only the story was more gutsy to match both actor's stellar performances, without which Anjaana Anjaani turned out to be nothing more than an above average romantic film that gets churned out by the dozens each year.