Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (English: A Match Made By God) is a 2008 Indian romantic comedy film written and directed by Aditya Chopra and produced by Yash Chopra and Aditya Chopra under the banner Yash Raj Films. The film is inspired by The World of Apu of legendary Bengali film maker Satyajit Ray. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in the lead roles. Khan plays a mild-mannered office worker named Surinder Sahni, whose love for the beautiful and vivacious Taani (Anushka Sharma) causes him to transform himself into the loud and fun-loving "Raj" to win her love. It was released worldwide on 12 December 2008 and marked Aditya Chopra's return to directing after an eight-year break, following his previous film, Mohabbatein.
The film was not heavily promoted pre-release, contrary to previous Khan or Yash Raj films, mainly because of the filmmakers' decision to keep it low-profile because of the terror attacks in Mumbai. Upon release, the film received positive reviews and broke many box office records. It was declared a blockbuster despite the fact that it was released only two weeks after the 2008 Mumbai attacks, amidst uncertainty and apprehensions from the trade regarding market conditions at the time. At the end of its theatrical run, it grossed over ₹1.58 billion (US$25 million) worldwide and was also the highest-grossing film of the year in the overseas market, thus becoming Yash Raj Films and Shahrukh Khan's highest-grossing film at the time of its release. The film's soundtrack was composed by Salim-Sulaiman, and it became the first Bollywood soundtrack to reach the top ten albums sales for the iTunes Store.
The film's script was recognised by a number of critics and was invited to be included in the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, just a day after its release. The script is accessible for research purposes only; students, filmmakers, writers and actors are among the regular patrons.
Shy, introverted, and kind-hearted Surinder "Suri" Sahni (Shah Rukh Khan) is an office employee for Punjab Power. He meets the daughter of his former teacher, and professor (M.K. Raina), beautiful and vivacious Taani Gupta (Anushka Sharma), during the preparations for her wedding. A short time later, the shocking news arrives that her fiance and his wedding entourage were killed in a road accident. Taani's father suffers a major heart attack due to the news. On his deathbed, fearing that Taani will be alone in the world and unable to bear the trauma, the professor requests that Surinder marry her. Surinder silently concedes because he likes her anyway, and Taani agrees for her father's sake.
After an impromptu wedding, Surinder takes Taani to his ancestral home in Amritsar. While his good nature leads Surinder to treat her with exceptional care – he even lets her have his bedroom all to herself – he is too frightened to profess his love for her. Taani later tells him that she will try to be a good wife and thus respect her role in his life, but that she can never love him due to having no love left within her after the loss of her former fiance. Surinder, grateful for the increasing acts of wifely affection that Taani shows him, proceeds to indulge her wishes. These include regular evening trips to the cinema to see Bollywood movies which appeal to Taani's fantasies about romance and her passion for dancing. One day, while walking in the market, Taani sees a poster about a dancing competition. She soon asks for Surinder's permission to take the expensive dance class with a visiting Bombay company, as it would help her unwind from her mundane life at home. He grants her request and provides the entry fee.
During the evenings that Surinder and Taani spend at the movies, Surinder realises it is the strong and masculine images of men that Taani admires, and later on, he asks his long-time best friend, Balwinder "Bobby" Khosla (Vinay Pathak), a hair-salon owner, for grooming advice that could help him win her love. Bobby gives him a complete makeover, which includes trimming off his mustache (an accidental gag, due to the power cutting off), changing his hairstyle (putting on lots of gel and shaping it to be spiky), and fitting him out in a funky Western-style clothing, which he feels is very tight, from the front and the back, including aviator-style shades with oversize pastel lenses. Surinder is thus transformed into "Raj", a name he borrows from the hero of a movie that Taani had admired. After having that makeover change done by "Bobby", Surinder goes to Taani's dancing competition venue to see her dance, without her recognising him, but he then gets pulled into the dance recital by an instructor. At the end of that dance class, all of the participants were put into groups of two by random numbers given by the staff, and somehow, both Surinder and Taani had the number '21'. By chance, or, as Surinder puts it that it was not chance but it was by the divine choice of God and so he becomes Taani's partner in the competition. Despite Raj's initial over-the-top attempts to emulate the "cool" images given by heroes, in movies, after the first attempt of impressing Taani in that way, Taani reacts badly, telling 'Raj' to never flirt with her. He and Taani become friends as they work together on their dance routine. Surinder feels encouraged when Taani does not want to tie a rakhi on Raj's wrist during the festival of Raksha Bandhan (doing so would indicate that she thought of him only as a brother). Soon Raj is unable to dance and thus decides to quit the dance competition during the rehearsals and thus is encouraged by Taani. Finally they both are selected for the finals and decide to do a competition of Golgappa (an Indian snack) it is decided that whoever wins this competition can ask for any thing from the other. Raj wins the competition and doesn't ask for anything then. The next day, Raj then decides to invite her to his birthday, claiming the prize for beating her in an eating competition. He tells Taani of how he always spends his birthday alone. So they go on a day of visiting Punjab's wonderful cultures, thus, after some time, Raj declares his love for her.
Taani is shocked, to say the least, and enters into a period of internal conflict. Surinder also faces a dilemma in Taani's misery. He thus attempts to win Taani's love as Surinder, an act which only alienates her further. She eventually runs away to find Raj to tell him the predicament she is in, hoping he will help her. He offers to elope with her, which she agrees to, tearfully. They set the date for their elopement to the next night, the night of the competition (the finals). Surinder is disappointed that Taani cannot see his love for her as himself, only as 'Raj'. Later that night, Surinder tells Bobby that he will end the charade in his own way, sacrificing his cravings for her love, leaving her his property and transferring himself to Delhi.
On the day of the competition, Surinder takes Taani to the Golden Temple to gain God's blessings for her performance for that night and, internally, also for her life without 'Raj'. While there, Taani has a realisation in which she believes God has shown her a sign that her marriage to Surinder is divinely inspired. For the first time she reflects on her husband and becomes aware of the strength and integrity of Surinder's character, something which she can grow to love. Taani thus tells Raj on the night of the competition, that she cannot choose him over her husband. She leaves him in what appears to be a state of shock with tears in his eyes. When the time comes for their performance, Taani is stunned to see Surinder instead of Raj joining her on stage. While dancing Taani puts two and two together and through a series of flashbacks, she awakens to the fact that Surinder is in fact 'Raj'. Backstage, after their dance, she confronts Surinder, and when he confesses his love for her, she tearfully admits that she reciprocates his feelings. The two win the competition. The film ends with Surinder and Taani visiting Japan on their honeymoon.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi tells a story from the point of view of an ordinary person and, most importantly, conveys a message that being 'ordinary' is cool. The filmmakers were confident that it would be able to strike a chord with millions because the film has ordinary people as its target audience:
"As middle-class people, so many of us have a routine life. We wake up in the morning, get dressed, go to office, come back, sometimes for a change we buy things to take home, watch TV, eat dinner and go to sleep. And then we repeat this day after day, week after week. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi talks about one such man who lives a routine life. It is simple film at heart."
In February 2008, Aditya Chopra announced that he will helm another film titled "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" and that it will star his lucky mascot, Shah Rukh Khan. The female lead was to be a newcomer who would be chosen following a massive talent hunt for a young, demure woman with quintessential Punjabi features. In May, Yash Raj announced the casting of the 19-year-old model Anushka Sharma as the heroine opposite Shahrukh Khan. Yash Chopra commented:
"We were looking first for someone who could truly embody the spirit of small town Punjab. We know we have found her in Anushka. While she has no previous acting experience, we have seen that unique spark in her that makes us confident that she will be a standout even opposite Shah Rukh" Sharma was chosen over hundreds of girls for this role and was kept hidden from the media during the filming. When asked about that, Khan said: "The idea was not to keep her a secret; we wanted her work to speak for her. When new actors come into films, it is important for people to see their work and then question them. It becomes easier after the film releases." Vinay Pathak was cast to play an important role in the film, making it its first commercial outing.
Filming began in May 2008; Yash Chopra was present at the shoot. A portion was shot with Khan at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab. Khan had to lose the six-pack abs he developed for the song "Dard-E-Disco" of Om Shanti Om since he was playing the role of a very normal, regular person.
The first poster of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was released in October in theatres and multiplexes across India, with full-page advertisements in national dailies. The first theatrical promo was released on 14 November, during the screening of Karan Johar's Dostana. Initially very little was known about the movie, and there were many theories floating around on the Internet about the story. The first music promo of the song "Haule Haule" was released on 2 November 2008, across all leading television channels to coincide with Khan's birthday. The song promo had received unanimous praise from the public.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was released across 30 countries worldwide on 12 December 2008 on over 1,200 screens, including approximately 300 prints for the overseas market, making it the first time a Bollywood film was released on such a wide scale. Before release, the film witnessed a large volume of advance bookings. Aditya Chopra, who is known for maintaining secrecy over his films and not showing them to anyone until the day of release, made an exception and held a special screening on 23 November 2008 at Yash Raj Studios. The screening was attended by Khan and his family, Karan Johar, Yash Chopra and debutant Anushka Sharma.
There was a huge debate in the industry whether Aditya Chopra's decision to go ahead with the release of film in the wake of the terror strikes in Mumbai was the right one. With the trauma of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai city on 26, 27 and 28 November still fresh, there was divided opinion on the release schedule. While some felt that Chopra should go ahead with the release because the public, tired and depressed after watching news of the attacks and the aftermath on television screens, would be waiting for a true entertainer to divert its mind, others thought he should postpone the film release as the audiences, not just in Mumbai but all over the country, were still not in a mood to visit theatres.
Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama gave the DVD of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi 3.5 out of 5 stars stating that it is a good choice if you "want to watch a clean family movie at home." The DVD includes the documentaries, The Making of the Film and The Making of the Songs ("Haule Haule", "Dance Pe Chance", "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte") as well as a number of deleted scenes and interviews. The film was released on Blu-ray a year after its theatrical release.
Upon release, the film received positive reviews. Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times calls Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi an "agreeably amusing comedy/romance/musical" noting that, "the magnetic Khan is a skilled enough comic actor with his physical transformation—like a Peter Sellers-ish recessive turning into a Jerry Lewis extrovert—that believing Taani wouldn't notice isn't difficult." Rachel Saltz of The New York Times describes it as "soft, sweet and slow, in the words of one of its songs. It deftly blends comedy, the ruling tone of the new Bollywood, with melodrama, the ruling tone of the old." Manish Gajjar of the BBC gave the film 4 out of 5 stars noting that, "Shah Rukh Khan makes you laugh and cry as the nerdy-looking, clumsy, bespectacled Surinder and the all hip and happening Raj. A true professional in his own right, Khan breezes through his dialogues during the emotional and comic scenes." Frank Lovece of Film Journal International argues that it is "smarter and more self-aware of its rom-com contrivances than most Hollywood movies" and notes that while "the movie's cleverness eventually devolves into a simplistic Harlequin-Romance-for-males wish-fulfillment about beauty and the geek, it's a very well-acted variation on a Hollywood staple." Critic and author Maitland McDonagh of MissFlickChick.com stated that the film, "has been dismissed in some quarters as self-conscious and artificial, a coyly self-referential reworking of outdated movie tropes a la Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven, but it works for me in a way that most contemporary Hollywood romcoms don't."
Some critics did not give the film very favourable reviews. Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN was critical, giving it two out of five stars and stating that "Aditya Chopra's return to direction after eight years is marked by a flawed script, which in turn spawns a disappointing film. Where's the smart dialogue and the spirited characters that defined his debut film, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge? There's no trace of either in this film ... the problem then, at the root of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, is that much like those artificial sets in the film, the emotions too are contrived." Derek Elley of Variety argues that the film has "a huge, hollow center that sinks the project early on ... A paper-thin script drags itself to the finish line amid tiresome mugging by Khan, a huge credibility gap (she never recognizes him without his glasses and mustache?) and a blah score with only one showstopper (featuring five famous actresses)."
A number of critics have further noted the similarities between this movie and superhero films. Khalid Mohamed, of the Hindustan Times, gave the film three and half out of five stars stating that Suri "is a soul brother to the mousy Clark-Kent-cum-Superman" who "makes you laugh and sob alternately." Mayank Shekhar from Mumbai Mirror gave the film three out of five stars and argues that "[The] same person, oppositely twinned, is usually the stuff of super-hero films; the kinds of Clark Kent-Superman, Peter Parker-Spiderman etc. You feel entirely lost in this fantasy flick, because for most part, it’s built around something so intimate and real. It’d be much easier to travel to foreign countries around far-fetched situations with fake heroes." In addition, Sudish Kamath of The Hindu states that while Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi could have been an interesting art film exploring the dynamics of an arranged marriage, the director instead "treats this character type like Sam Raimi would treat Spider-Man ... Superhero 'Raj' slips into costume and out, complains how it gets uncomfortable around the crotch, to win over his Mary Jane with not much saving-the-world business to keep him busy. But while Spidey does it for a bigger reason than just MJ, Raj’s sole motivation is to stalk his wife and play out his fantasy as somebody else. His obsession with his alter-ego reaches new heights when he wants his wife to cheat on the real him—the goofy Surinder Saini who starts off well."
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi collected ₹420 million (US$6.5 million) in its opening week. By its fourth week, it had earned ₹860 million (US$13 million), making it Shah Rukh Khan's third consecutive blockbuster in two years and Aditya Chopra's third blockbuster as a director. The film grossed $8.43 million in the overseas market of which $2.09 million was contributed by the United States and $2.24 million from the UK, and was declared as a blockbuster overseas.
At the end of its theatrical run, it grossed ₹1,578.9 million (US$25 million) worldwide, thus becoming Yash Raj Films' and Khan's highest-grossing film at the time of its release. It was the second-highest-grossing film domestically and the highest-grossing in the overseas market that year.
The soundtrack of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi was composed by Salim-Sulaiman. The song "Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte" pays homage to Bollywood actors Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Shammi Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor and actresses Nargis, Nutan, Helen, Sharmila Tagore and Neetu Singh. The performance of the song includes appearances by Kajol, Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta, Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji.
The Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi film score is the first Bollywood soundtrack to reach the top-ten albums sales for the iTunes Store. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 19,00,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's second highest-selling.
|1||"Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai"||Roop Kumar Rathod, Shreya Ghoshal||4:44|
|2||"Haule Haule"||Sukhwinder Singh||4:25|
|3||"Dance Pe Chance"||Sunidhi Chauhan, Labh Janjua||4:22|
|4||"Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte"||Sonu Nigam||6:36|
|5||"Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai (Female)"||Shreya Ghoshal||1:43|
|7||"Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai" (Hinglish Mashup)||Roop Kumar Rathod, Jay Kadn||3:33|
Raghavendra, M. K. (31 July 2014). The Politics of Hindi Cinema in the New Millennium: Bollywood and the Anglophone Indian Nation. Oxford University Press India. ISBN 978-0-19-945056-5.