by Taran Aadarsh | Posted Apr 27, 2007Yash Raj created magic with speeding bikes [DHOOM]. Now's the turn of speeding cars [TA RA RUM PUM].
The West has often made films depicting the rise, fall and subsequent rise of sportspersons. ROCKY [Sylvester Stallone], DAYS OF THUNDER [Tom Cruise] and CINDERELLA MAN [Russell Crowe] are films that cross your mind as you watch director Siddharth Raj Anand's second outing TA RA RUM PUM. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that Siddharth borrows from the above-named films, but he garnishes the material with desi emotions that work well with Indian moviegoers.
There's no denying that TA RA RUM PUM is a well-crafted fare that provides entertaining moments and also succeeds in its goal as a feel-good experience. One of the prime reasons why TA RA RUM PUM works is because it's not about car racing only. It involves a couple, their two kids, the family's riches to rags story, their highs and lows...
Now let's get down to the basics: What works and what doesn't? If the car racing sequences are awe-inspiring, the emotional quotient in the second hour is worth acknowledging as well. A number of sequences make you moist-eyed, especially the high-octane climax that not only gives you goose bumps, but also makes you jump with joy.
However, TA RA RUM PUM isn't a flawless film. You can't turn a blind eye to the aberrations in those 16 reels. Fortunately, the pros outweigh the cons in the final tally.
To sum up, Siddharth Raj Anand comes up with a worthy follow up to his directorial debut, the immensely likable SALAAM NAMASTEY. TA RA RUM PUM easily ranks amongst Yash Raj's better films in terms of style as also substance.
TA RA RUM PUM tells the story of one man, his family and how they overcome the obstacles that life puts in their way, together. It is the story of human spirit and how it ultimately prevails.
Rajveer Singh [Saif Ali Khan] is a pit-crew worker in a racing team with a passion for driving who gets discovered by a team manager, Harry [Jaaved Jaaferi]. The same day, he accidentally meets a music student, Radhika [Rani Mukerji], who he falls for instantly. He gets drafted into 'Speeding Saddles' -- a failing race team and transforms from Rajveer Singh to 'RV', the race car driver.
While his racing career takes off instantly, his love life also blossoms after a whirlwind romance. A few months later, he is both a happily married man and one of the country's best racers. Fatherhood and greater success both follow and soon he is the Number 1 race car driver in U.S.A. as well as the proud father of two kids -- Priya [Angelina Idnani] and Ranveer [Ali Haji].
But as a result of a bad racing accident, RV is hospitalized for a few months. When he tries to make a comeback, he realizes that he has been mentally scarred by the accident. His life now takes a turn for the worse and after a string of failures, he is forced to auction his house and move with his family to a run-down neighborhood.
However, RV and Radhika decide not to tell their children the truth and construct a skillful masquerade of a reality show where they have to live a poor life in order to win a mythical grand prize. The family struggles to survive a life that they are not used to, using a mixture of fantasy and cheerfulness to pull through in the face of adversity. But an incident forces RV to reclaim the life that was taken away from him.
You don't take to TA RA RUM PUM instantly, since the writing [screenplay: Habib Faisal] meanders on oft-repeated tracks initially [the snooty father-in-law/Victor Banerjee looking down upon the son-in-law/Saif Ali Khan, the mandatory romantic scenes and songs]. The one aspect that shines the brightest in the first hour is the car race that makes Saif's life go topsy-turvy. Ideally, the intermission card should've flashed at this juncture, but the sequences that follow are plain mediocre.
Thankfully, the substance [script] as also the execution of the material improves a great deal in the post-interval portions. The plight of the family moves you: Saif is reduced to a cabbie, Rani plays piano at birthday parties and hotels to run the kitchen fires and foot the bills, the children skip their meals to save for the school fees. The son, in fact, picks up leftovers from the waste to satiate his hunger... These are moments that mirror the realities of life.
The highpoint of the film are the penultimate reels. Right from Saif storming into a hotel, asking for a loan of $ 65,000 to the final victory, the narrative reaches its crescendo in those 25 minutes. In fact, the powerful second hour elevates the film tremendously.
Director Siddharth Raj Anand is only getting better with every film. He handles the emotional moments in particular very well. The execution of the race sequences is outstanding. Something like this hasn't been witnessed on the Hindi screen before. Binod Pradhan's camerawork is marvelous.
Vishal-Shekhar's music is of the fast-forward variety. One looked forward to a better score for sure. However, the picturization of a few songs camouflages the defect to an extent. The kiddie song -- merging live with animated characters -- catches your attention. The animation here matches international quality.
Saif is extremely likable. He conveys the varied emotions with complete understanding. Rani enacts the role of the mother/wife proficiently. Jaaved Jaaferi is first-rate in a serious role. Bharat Dabholkar is efficient. Victor Banerjee suits the character. Shruti Seth is alright. Angelina Idnani and Ali Haji are adorable.
On the whole, TA RA RUM PUM easily ranks amongst better films from the Yash Raj factory. Surprisingly, the film has opened to a below-the-mark response at several screens. But it has the potential and power to gather speed in days to come since it has something for everyone -- emotional quotient for families, thrilling car races to woo the youth and the kiddie factor to attract this huge movie-going segment [kids]. Its business in Overseas should be excellent and in India, the multiplexes will help the distributors reap a harvest. Strongly recommended!