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Quirky Satire
Jun 29, 2004 03:21 PM 6846 Views
(Updated Jun 29, 2004 05:41 PM)





Neetaji, a lead character from a daily soap ‘Dard Ka Rishta’, is the embodiment of Indian traditions (as peddled by TV serials). Tormented by a big joint family, self-sacrificing, bearing injustices with stoicism, tear ducts in full flow, mouthing long clichéd dialogues on morals, values, and ready to give up her life for the sake of her evil family - Neetaji is enacted by India’s biggest soap opera star Reshma (debutante Maria Goretti).

Contrary to her small screen image of Neetaji, Reshma-the actress is irritable, bytchy, cussing at the drop of a hat, manically money minded, sick and tired of the ridiculously laughable character of Neetaji she has to play day in and day out, only motivated by the big money she makes out of ‘Dard Ka Rishta’.


Quirky Satire


Raghu Romeo underlines how detached people get from reality, clouded under the influence of media created images in popular soap operas and movies that are so obliquely distanced from actuality. Scriptwriter and Director Rajat Kapur suggests that it is not difficult for a man as naïve as Raghu to lose track of what is real and what is make believe.

Raghu a simple, innocent man takes television too seriously, secretly loves Neetaji, with whom he keeps having imaginary conversations. An imbecile totally unable to gauge rightly between the soap life and real life, frequently intermixing the two. Under the impression that she is in fact undergoing the distress depicted in ‘Dard Ka Rishta’, he makes it his life’s mission to save poor innocent Neetaji from the evil designs of her in-laws, thus not paying attention to his real life responsibilities - like his ramshackle shanty badly needing repairs, the debts his mother (Surekha Sikri) needs to clear off, or being productive in his job as a waiter in a dance bar.

His constant obsession with Neetaji doesn’t allow him notice that one of the bar girls Sweety (Sadiya Siddiqui) loves and genuinely cares for him, thus chasing an unattainable dream instead of partaking what the real world has to offer. In a scene showing his warped priorities in life, Raghu tries to save the television set when rainwater leaks into his house, while his mother tries to save the more important things. Raghu even refuses to accept reality on encountering Reshma quite opposed to her screen image of Neetaji.


Delectable Spoof on Balaji Productions & their ilk


Raghu Romeo is also a sparkling spoof on the appallingly written and directed current day TV serials. Rajat Kapur seems to have had a rollicking time spoofing the dialogues, the plots, the thundering background music, and the wailing background vocals each time the heroine is harassed. Scenes involving the shooting and clips of ‘Dard Ka Rishta’ are some of the most bitingly funny moments recently in Hindi cinema.


Insertion of songs, however, puts a break to the narrative, and barring a raucously funny qawwali sequence most of them could have been easily dispensed with.

Mounted on a shoe-string budget, yet the movie doesn’t appear technically compromised. Besides writing the witty dialogues,

Saurabh Shukla as Brother an underworld hitman gunning for Reshma’s life, provides a lot of mirth and comic moments.

The talented Saadiya Siddiqui shines throughout as Sweety, be it in her cat fight with Reshma, or when trying to get her way with Brother in a shopping trip.

Maria Goretti spoofs the sacrificing bahu of TV serials marvelously. Her other version as the spoilt rotten actress is absolutely riotous.

In the title role, Vijay Raaz is brilliant all throughout the movie especially so while lost in the TV when his mom is cribbing about her difficulties to his employer and in the achingly funny climax.


Raghu Romeo won the Best Film Award at MAMI Film Festival and has since been showcased at numerous international film festivals the world over.

Nothing high brow, not a movie with a heavy duty message, only light hearted satirical cinema, made on a shoe string budget, with realistic characters and excellent performances, Raghu Romeo, a telling comment on the two incongruent worlds of the real and the fantasy, is a refreshing departure from all those hollow in content, highly mounted glossy movies that buy media space and awards. It is a great entertainer very worth a dekko


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Raghu Romeo