Note: I usually don't give spoilers in my review. But I had to give one or two in this review. Apologies
There is love after love failure. I would rather say there is love after a broken relationship. I take Director Atlee used love failure just to be laymanish and refrain from going in to the semantics.
Raja Rani is a story of Regina (Nayanthara) and John (Arya) who are forcibly put in to a wedlock by their parents. Their life starts as a hate relationship and ends up in a medical emergency for Regina. Regina then opens up to John about her past while she learns about his past from his friend Sarathy (Santhanam). How they fall in love after their heartbreaks is told in a usual way.
One of the biggest strengths of Raja Rani is the well defined characterisations (except for Jai's) and apt casting. Nayanthara shows fragility and conviction of a modern women perfectly whereas Arya subdued performance is sweet. Sathyaraj underplays and shows why he is one of the best. The relationship between Nayanthara and Sathyaraj is a treat to watch and a dream come true for every father-daughter. The comic sequences are not forced in to narration and Santhanam is not just a comedian in this movie.
Having said that, there is a problem with the basic premise. There have been multiple Tamil movies in which love after a broken relationship is shown perfectly. Be it Mouna Ragam or Rhythm, but Tamil cinema has moved from death based heartbreaks long back. The lovelorn partner because of a dead loved one is so 80s. Unnale Unnale for instance talks about the possessiveness between lovers. Although death of a loved one gives dramatism to the proceedings, why our directors are not moving on is a question that nobody can answer. Even though Surya (Jai) character is a typical guy breaks up because of his father, but Regina is depressed because he is dead. This whole premise seems to be artificial.
The second issue is the stereotype of Nazriya. I don't know when our directors going to stop Bommarilu Genelia type characterisations for leads. The back story of Nazriya and her character is a contrast. These kind of stereotypes are more dangerous than objectification of women. These characters add that extra cuteness to the movie but reality is far away from what's shown on screen.
I really need to say about the original score of GV Prakash. He needs to know that there is something called silence in this world. You don't need a loud score when a father and daughter is emotionally talking about her disappointment. GV gets it absolutely wrong in emotional scenes but scores well during romantic sequences.
Raja Rani should have ended a good 20 minutes before the climax. The love that blossoms between Regina and John is so natural and it needed a realistic end rather than a dramatic old school airport climax with an idiotic twist. There is a confusion in the director's mind on how to give closure to Regina's past relationship which was totally uncalled for. The way Nayanthara reacts when she sees Surya (Jai) alive breaks her characterisation in to pieces.
Atlee has a lot of talent. The deft handling of father – daughter relationship and the conviction to handle a breakup story is commendable. But as a writer he has a confusion on whether to handle the story completely modern or old school. When it gets mixed, the end product doesn't give the intended feel. Raja Rani could have been a modern take on post break-up relationships but it ended has yet another old school romance. Probably, you would see audience thronging the theatres but at the end of the day there is nothing new in this Raja Rani story
A 2/5 for Raja Rani – Wish it was as modern as it claimed to be.