Ajab Gazabb Love is best summed up by two apt Bollywood coinages: thakao (tiring) and pakao (boring). This love story, whose sole motive is to showcase its leading man Jackky Bhagnani and his ripped eight pack, is an arduous watch, stretched to an interminable two hours by a ridiculous plot and a hammy pack of actors.
Ajab Gazabb Love hinges on a one-line idea: rich boy likes girl. But girl hates the rich. So rich boy acts poor to win over girl. But girl herself turns out to be a poor little rich girl. They kiss and make-up and live happily ever after. End of story.
Jackky plays rich kid Rajveer. Within the first few minutes, we are told that Rajveer is the scion of a tycoon, is an automobile engineer himself and his dream is to make ‘DC’ — short for a Ferrari-styled Dream Car, at one-fourth the price. In his spare time, Rajveer shows off his toned abs, walks around in slo-mo, flashes his buck-toothed grin and breaks into song-and-dance on a yacht in Tuscany. A couple of songs later, Rajveer spies Madhuri (Nidhi Subbaiah) on the escalator of his office and falls head over heels for her. But this student of sociology who also works in an NGO can’t stand the rich. So Rajveer poses as a mechanic and then ropes in his reluctant richie rich family to play painfully poor — mom Rashmi (Kirron Kher) pretends to be blind while dad Yashvardhan (Darshan Jariwala) turns banana-seller from auto honcho and the family relocates from their posh Pali Hill bungalow to a one-roomed house in a slum. The rest of the film is taken up by one gag after another with the family pulling out all the stops to avoid being caught off-side by Madhuri and her twin brothers (played by Arjun Rampal).
Though just 120 minutes long, Ajab Gazabb Love overstretches its wafer-thin premise. As a result, even the few sequences that bring on belly laughs — Kher’s over-the-top antics and Jariwala’s predicament as a banana-seller — get quite unfunny beyond a point. It doesn’t help that there is nothing ajab or gazab about this prem kahani with the lead pair failing to conjure up any kind of chemistry. The songs — though filmed in exotic foreign locales — pop up too often, music men Sajid-Wajid churning out each in assembly-line fashion.
Producer-dad Vashu Bhagnani doesn’t cut corners for his son’s third film, but Jackky has neither the screen presence nor the acting chops to carry a film on his sculpted shoulders. Ditto for newcomer Nidhi who gets through the whole film with just two expressions. Two of Arjun Rampal — and three on this page itself! — is a little too much to take and the hunk, sporting his Chakravyuh moustache even here, sleepwalks through his role(s). Arshad Warsi, in a cameo, hams it up badly. It is left to Darshan Jariwala and Kirron Kher to save this sinking ship and it is to their credit that they at least make some scenes watchable.
At a time when Ek Tha Tiger man Kabir Khan is getting in the big bucks, Fanaa maker Kunal Kohli still manages the big stars and Siddharth Anand, the director of films like Salaam Namaste and Bachna Ae Haseeno gets movie and marketing muscle for his annual rom coms, it is disheartening to see another Yash Raj protege churning out below-average fare like Ajab Gazabb Love. Sanjay Gadhvi, the man who defined Bolly cool with the Dhoom films and then fell out with the Chopras, could well have been directing Aamir Khan today. Instead, he has Jackky Bhagnani. Now that’s more ajab than gazab!