Directed by Siddharth Anand
Running Time: 2:36
Ta Ra Rum Pum tried to step outside the bounds of typical Bollywood productions, but ultimately didn't step out far enough to make a real impact.
RV is your regular guy: he spends money he doesn't have and lives life like there is no tomorrow. While racing in a cab, he meets Radhika, a girl who is the exact opposite. She has her life planned out years in advance. They of course fall for each other and RV suddenly gets the chance to fulfill his dream as a race car driver. He immediately wins an astonishing amount of races in a row before a horrific crash sidelines him. A year later, he's back in the saddle, but memories of his accident haunt him. He is forced to leave racing and move himself and his family to a rundown apartment, where they pretend they're on a reality show where they have to be poor but remain happy. Throughout it all, the family sticks together until an accident puts one of the kids in danger, and RV is forced to confront his fears and get back out on the track to save his son.
It's not that Ta Ra Rum Pum was a bad movie. In fact I think most audiences will enjoy the usual song and dance routines alongside the large amount of racing that occurs. However for those of us who live in, or have any knowledge of New York, some of the scenes are too comical to be taken seriously. I won't go into detail, but to go from 33rd and Broadway to 50th and Broadway does not involve the need to drive 100mph and take a bridge. That being said, the majority of the film was shot in the city so it was nice to see New York once again in a Bollywood production. The movie was pretty nicely shot, and they got into a lot of places I wouldn't have expected, including one scene that appears to really take place at either JFK or LaGuardia.
The story line was the usual Bollywood-esque tale. Two people who are completely opposite fall for each other, even against the wishes of one of the parents. But strangely enough, the story never went too deep into their differences. Most Bollywood films will beat you over the head with how she comes from an important family and he comes from nothing. There will be times where they argue about something and she'll throw it in his face, and he'll tell her to leave and whatnot. This time around though, their differences were downplayed. The story was really focused on him being a racer and trying to get back his dream. And that's where the movie felt like something was lacking. I got the impression that the filmmakers were so enamored with racing, that the racing scenes went on forever, and after a while, there was nothing new about them.
How many times can you show a shot of a guy coming from behind to take first place? It seemed to me that within every race, at one point RV would be in last and somehow magically make his way into first. Then 10 laps later, he'd be in the same position. Then suddenly he'd be in the middle of the pack again and make another run into first. And then of course with one lap to go, he'd be in last and somehow win. I'm not against showing many races, but at least make them believable. Was it really necessary to have him win EVERY race he entered? Couldn't he end up in the top 5 a few times? Even the most prolific race car drivers in history couldn't put together a 27 race winning streak. I know this is a movie, but when you take what could be a really interesting story and add completely unbelievable aspects, it hurts the film. When RV makes his big comeback after a year he manages to go an entire race without once thinking about his accident, but then suddenly with only a few seconds left, he takes his foot off the pedal and coasts into last place? And does this 10 times in a row without someone seeing this as being a problem?
Saif Ali Khan is probably my favorite male Bollywood actor, and Rani Mukerji (or Mukherjee, someone really needs to give me a definitive answer on this) is far and away my favorite Bollywood actress, so from that standpoint alone I enjoyed the film. They both work well together and look like they really enjoy each other. I could probably watch Rani read a phone book while wearing a snow suit and be happy, so having her dance around in miniskirts for the first half of the film was a definite plus. I thought the movie was well shot and looked pretty nice. None of the music really stood out as being anything special but it wasn't bad. And there was this very bizarre animated sequence towards the end that had the family members dancing around with animated bears. I still am not sure if I liked it, but it was definitely different.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, Ta Ra Rum Pum was a decent effort, but not spectacular. I liked that it tried to go outside of the normal Bollywood story, but there was still too much that wasn't believable. All the elements are there, it just needed to be tightened up more.
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