Director: Ajay Pannalal
Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Shruti Haasan, Ninad Kamat, Herry Tangri, Darshan Jariwala
Behen Hogi Teri could have and should’ve been a better film. Firstly, it’s got Rajkummar Rao as Gattu, the boy next door, in a Lucknow mohalla. Rajkummar has the ability to light up even the most banal scenes. Even as this film gets more convoluted and exasperating, his sincerity stays on point. Gattu is a hapless, bumbling lover boy whose object of affection is the girl next door Binny. He describes her as his ‘knicker ke zamane ki mohabbat’.
The other plus in Behen Hogi Teri are the dialogues written by Ajay K. Pannalal, Vinit Vyas and Sanchit Gupta. The film is peppered with funny lines that feel exactly right in this small town milieu. At one point, Gattu solemnly declares: hum bhi cultured launde hain. In another scene, his best friend Bhura talks about how he hardly ever met his father because he was always in jail. Director Ajay K. Pannalal, who has previously made a Punjabi film, gets the textures of the locality – it’s a microcosm of curious characters, high drama and of course, comedy.
This could have been fun. There are some lively scenes in the first half – Binny’s dadi’s funeral becomes an unexpected romantic highlight in Gattu’s life. But Ajay can’t sustain the comic momentum. Behen Hogi Teri unravels as the love story ties itself up in knots. The second half is stretched and tedious. The tangle of misunderstandings and lies goes on and on until you wish Bhura’s jailbird father, played by a glowering Gulshan Grover, would just shoot someone. Though I did enjoy seeing Ranjit on screen again as Bhura’s criminal tauji.
My other problem is that I didn’t get Binny, played by Shruti Haasan. This character is supposed to be a phataka. But she forces her sister to forcibly tie a rakhi to a boy she likes. Binny is in love with Gattu but she’s also happily doing wedding shopping with her fiancée Rahul. Basically, Binny is half-baked and poorly written. And unlike Rajkummar, Shruti doesn’t have the acting chops to camouflage that.
So Behen Hogi Teri sparkles and soon enough, sputters out. I’m going with two and a half stars. The additional half star is for Rajkummar who doesn’t let a sloppy script get in his way.