Rajkumar Rao is one of Bollywood's most under appreciated actors. His recent critical movie 'Trapped' has been appreciated in Festivals all over, but mainstream commercial success as a leading man seems elusive. This could change, with a movie where Rao plays the conventional romantic hero in 'Behen Hogi Teri'.
'Behen Hogi Teri' trailer looks genuinely sweet, but with a title that raises eyebrows.
The trailer for 'Behen Hogi Teri' plays out like the typically conventional Bollywood rom-com. Rajkumar Rao's character is in love with his, literal girl-next-door, Shruti Haasan's character, but various obstacles face him in his love story.
Thrown among these are most obvious, her parents who don't deem Rao's character good enough, a non-resident-Indian romantic rival, as well as some other thug-like characters like Gulshan Grover's character, all added for what I assume will be mad-cap hijinks resulting in a chaotically funny climax.
The trailer itself looks very choppy and poorly cut. Rao, despite his incredible range and multitude of talent, is a disarming guy who is charming as hell when the role suits him. His portrayal in 'Behen Hogi Teri' seems to be more in-line with his performance in 'Kai Po Che', and 'Queen', before he turned into a dick at least.
It will be interesting to see how Rao, currently one of Bollywood's darling when it comes to critically power packed performances, will fare in a conventionally commercial Bollywood rom-com playing the lead romantic hero. I wish the rest of the cast was rounded out with more veteran Bollywood stars in order to better anchor the movie around Rao, but seeing Gulshan Grover after a while in a weirdly familiar role seems like the best we'll get.
I've always liked Shruti Haasan. Despite her middling career and track record in Bollywood, she's a strong personality that almost always comes through in her roles, even when she's playing the damsel in distress. Couple that with her unique voice and look, and she is definitely memorable, is not successful. Haasan's best role to date has to be that of a scarred prostitute opposite Arjun Rampal in the massively underrated 'D-Day'.
So it will definitely be interesting to see Haasan's outspoken vibes coupled with Rao's meek and quite nature, especially as both actors seems to playing roles very similar to that of their own personas. My only issue is with the title.
"Behen hogi teri..." is a phrase in Hindi uttered in response to someone pointing out to a man, (usually someone harrassing a woman) that that particular woman could be someone's sister and should be treated as such. The retort to that usually is, by the unabashed man that "your sister maybe...!", implying a disregard for any respect to given to the woman.
Sure, the context of this phrase may vary given the situation, but generally this is how it's used. So it's weird to title a movie with that, and even weirder that it seems the movie itself has a justification as to why men don't (or shouldn't) see more women as sister / mother types, especially when that is more of a metaphor to convey that women should be respected and not degraded.
Near the end of the Trailer Rao's character even seems to do a public monologue trying to mansplain how no guy ever looks at a girl and wishes for her to be his sister. I don't get it. Is the movie's story and characters attempting to justify seeing women as sexual things and acting accordingly in public? It's an odd use of a phrase for a title, and even odder angle they seem to be attempting to convey in the story.
Besides that, for the sake of Rao and Haasan, I hope 'Behen Hogi Teri' isn't regressive or uses damaging gender tropes to try to tell its story, as the trailer does look interesting and, once again, fun.
'Behen Hogi Teri' stars Rajkumar Rao & Shruti Haasan directed by Ajay Pannalal. Releasing June 2nd, 2017.