Shiv and Saira are drawn to each other like long lost lovers, mostly because they are. Their love dates back centuries, and the reason why they drifted apart, has drifted back into their lives. The most common advice writers get is: “Show, don’t tell.” It means that a storyteller is expected to paint a picture as opposed to describing things mechanically. Raabta spends a lot of time telling you things, and not nearly enough in making them seem believable.
Shiv (Singh Rajput) is a ladykiller. But the next girl he lays eyes on, Saira (Sanon), will kill his long streak. She talks to herself in the mirror and tells us, by its way, that she’s been experiencing weird tribal nightmares. As they get infatuated and verbalize to each other that it’s all happening too soon, Saira starts feeling the same connection with Zakir (Sarbh) – another blast-from-way-past. We’re then told that in a previous lifetime, Zakir and Saira were in love, until a savage warrior seduced her away.
Writers Siddharth-Garima and debut director Dinesh Vijan’s conviction isn’t questionable, but it doesn’t quite translate to the screen. Even though the movie is technically sound and looks great, it is missing the raw passion required to sell a love story. Especially one that’s been brewing for 800 years! There are too many obvious influences: the saccharine first half is full of walk-and-talks in a beautifully shot European city (Before Sunset); the tribal past is right out of Game Of Thrones — Dothrakis are replaced by Murakis and astronomy is given similar importance; a scene towards the end is a forced throwback to Titanic. As much as you can force influences into a love story, you can’t force love itself. Neither with good-looking actors flirting with chocolates and flowers. Nor with an ambitious flashback that adds years as opposed to maturity to the plot. But Raabta relies on this kind of forced love rather than the force of love.
Sushant Singh Rajput is a fine actor but lacks the casual charm required to make the self-important Shiv lovable. Jim Sarbh’s dialogue delivery is painfully awkward; he doesn’t have the gravitas required for spouting that evil genius kind of lines in Hindi. Kriti Sanon surprises. She looks good and seems to have honed her acting skills. If sparks flew more organically, it would have been easier to make a connection with this epic tale of love. A 6/10 from us!