When innocents die on a railway platform lives snuffed out senselessly, the string-pullers behind this massacre arrested and released four days later and when general injustice and inequities abound all around, some people, who still have some hope and believe in imaginary friends, look heavenwards and ask “God , what are you doing?”
According to the Chopras, God (or Rab or Great Flying Spaghetti Monster or Bhagwan or whatever you want to call that person who sits up above) is busy with other things of greater importance.
He is making “jodis”. And that too “halle halle”. [The song “Halle Halle” in Rab Na Bana Di Jodi , for some unfathomable reason, brings to my demented mind memories of the Mammoth Koirala starrer “Market” wherein a lady of commerce tells her client “Zyara hallu hallu kar”.]
Coming back to God, his primary job description is to bring people who are meant to be together through what seems to you and me to be happenstance. However what you think is co-incidence or horribly cliched plotting or an example of the “Deus Ex Machina” construct is actually a part of the greater cosmic plan of matching hearts, hearts that are pre-ordained by God to beat as one.
Ek dujhe ke waaste.
As the great prophet of the true God, Yashji said once through one of his characters:
Bhagwan ne saare dil ke rishte pahele se hi jor diye hain. Bus unka milna hum par chor diye hain. Usne hum sabko joriyon main banaaye hain aur har ek liye ek jeevan saathi hain
(Except of course Elizabeth Taylor, Kishore Kumar and all Arab sheikh who are matched with more than one. Other exceptions are male engineering students, many of whom are matched with their own hands.)
In the midst of this gigantic endeavor of match every person in the world with one other, if a few genocides, massacres and invasions slip through the crack can you really blame God?
After all, he too is human.
Make no mistake. This job is not easy. When two pre-destined couples meet, God has to mimic Lata Mangeskar’s voice and go “La La La La La La” in order to give them the “sign”. Sometimes he needs to make stars fall out of the sky so that lovers may make wishes. He has to make it rain whenever the heroine gets out on the roof in whites and pines for her “made-in-heaven-match” whose face she has not seen yet but whom she can feel in her dreams. And its a thankless job because no matter what he does, people not understanding the great plans that God has for them look at the heavens and screech, in possibly one of the most overwrought sequences of Hindi cinema, “Tum bure ho”.
For the last fifteen years, the prophetic firm of the Chopras and also the Johars have been informing us of Rab’s work through different movies which all convey the same message, so much the same that some faithless fools call them monotonous, formulaic and inane. Forget them. They are jealous of the fact that like all prophets, the Chopras have been well-rewarded for their work of being God’s voice on earth.
“Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” (God has made the couple) is the latest chapter in the Chopra gospel which one again regurgitates God’s message in a heavenly way. A beautiful lady Taani (Anushka Sharma) loses her fiance to an accident and has to get married to a simple Simon with a moustache, Surinder Sahni (Shahrukh Khan). Surinder is a normal, colorless small-town middle-class man who declares “maine kabhi ladies se pyar naheen kiya” (leaving the opportunity open for prior encounters of the Dostana kind) who falls totally in love with his wife. In a plot device totally original (as original it was in “Woh Saat Din”, “Mauna Ragaam”, “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanaam” ) she however, buried under her past, declares that she will never be able to love Surinder, who is naturally heart-broken.
As a Chopra devotee, I have to confess I was initially surprised by the Surinder character. After all this was Shahrukh Khan, who if Chopras are the prophets, is Rab’s own son [The Trinity is completed by Hangal who is the Holy Ghost]. SRK was underplaying his role, and most importantly acting like a human being for the first thirty minutes. Most un son-of-Godlike. But then Chopra quickly rectifies the situation. In a plot development that restored balance to the force, Surinder decides to join the dancing school where his wife does “mass Physical Training”. Not as Surinder however but as a de-moustached, spiked-hair, cross between yellow parakeet-and-human-being Raj with the assumption that she might fall in love with this more boisterous alter-ego.
Relief ! Shahrukh Khan is now once again free to play Shahrukh Khan which means he can once more slant his head, exercise his dimples, pout and lisp, do that “sideways” smile, overact and in general bring out the bag of tricks Rab gave him when he sent him to earth. Tani is torn between her silent husband who fights Sumo wrestlers to win a trip to Japan and the flirtatous, loudly dressed Raj who plunges half the city in darkness to write “I love you” with the city lights. Impressed by that Jyoti Basu-like feat of selective load-shedding however, Taani starts moving towards the parakeet because as Chopra tells us there is nothing a girl wants more than someone who loves her like a Deewana (which, not coincidentally, is the name of a Shahrukh Khan flick). Will she leave with Raj or will she stay with Surinder? I think all of you know the answer to that one but if you don’t, I wont give it away. God doesn’t want me to.
Needless to say, Rab forms a vital part of the story, pulling strings, creating “coincidences” and “karishma”. For instance, God never lets Taani realize that this man she is hugging and dancing close with is her husband, minus the moustache and plus a hairdo. And when Taani is in the throes of despair and asks Rab for guidance, she opens her eyes and there right in front of her is the man she should be with—-as if Rab is saying “Here here young girl, chance pe chance maar le, go home and give this poor man some”.
In short, “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi” is a faith-affirming exercise that should make you believe that God is watching over your love-life always, if not actually over you. And that you should remember, even when your head gets blown off by a bomb, that this is all part of God’s plan—if at the time of dying, you haven’t fallen in love that means you were one of the persons whom even God could not match. And if at the time of death you already were in love with someone, that means that your love is actually matched with someone else.
Comforting realizations both of them.