Atrangi Re: A therapeutic hug filled with warmth and love

Atrangi Re on many counts is Ranjhanaa revisited but is not Ranjhanaa, the mere attempt to get back to his strengths puts Aanand L Rai back on the map following the Zero debacle.
A scene from 'Atrangi Re'
A scene from 'Atrangi Re'

Chennai

Cast: Dhanush, Sara Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar
Director: Aanand L Rai 
Music director: AR Rahman
Synopsis: A couple discover love in their forced wedding, wherein the hero (Dhanush) helps the heroine (Sara) to tide through her troubled past by making her embrace it.
Rating: 3.0/5
How often have we seen a hero's friend warning him "if you go save the girl, then who'll save you?". It is that kind of a Dhanush film we haven't watched in a long time.
Firstly, kudos to Dhanush for choosing this film. After back-to-back actioners Asuran, Pattas and Jagame Thanthiram, he never for a second look misfit as Vishu (Vishwanathan) in Atrangi Re.
The film starts with a gang chasing Rinku (Sara Ali Khan), she runs to the railway station and starts attacking the goons and then walks in slo-mo. We learn that her family wants to get her married as soon as possible before she elopes with Sajjad (Akshay Kumar) for the 25th time! In the turn of events, Dr Vishu (Dhanush) and Rinku get married. How the couple makes peace with this reluctant marriage is what Atrangi Re is all about.
Dhanush plays a Tamil boy. Most of the Hindi films that go down south digress to lazy and dishonest writing about this part of India. Aanand L Rai didn't commit that mistake in Ranjhanaa, he doesn't do that in Atrangi Re as well. We find a Tamil film in a Hindi film and vice versa. There are powerful lines in both languages. Two particular lines in the movie are emotional and powerful, one where Vishu confesses his life to Rinku at length in Tamil, and the other where Sajjad urges her to accept reality and move on.
In a megastar's movie, it is usually a foregone fact that the hero will have a namesake profession with zero utility. This movie again differs for good, Dhanush playing a doctor has a purpose. Akshay Kumar playing a magician in a circus group doesn't have much screentime, the less time he is present the stronger the impact he creates in the narration.  
The three lead characters are meticulously written, it is evident that Aanand Rai wants to recreate the Ranjhanaa magic. If Kundan and Zoya ever had a child, that would be Rinku. She is effervescent with that Kundan-like street smartness and Zoya-like shifty I-love-you-but-I-also-don't-love-you attitude. Sara can give herself a pat on her back for choosing this role.
The writing goes a bit downhill at the beginning of the second half but you still place your bets on this film with the belief that this trio will deliver, and they do. Dhanush is charming from start to finish playing a mellowed-down character, effortlessly getting back to the Kutty zone. Vishu doesn't resort to the regular girl-getting tropes even if such opportunities are present, he wants to win Rinku's love in the earnest manner possible. Vishu helps Rinku embrace her past rather than blinding her eyes to it, he enables her to be vulnerable than feigning protection. 
Chaka Chak and Little Little stand out in Rahman's music. Little Little though having funny lyrics and enjoyable rhythm looks forced in the narration. For the love Chaka Chak is receiving, the song's cinematography could have been a bit more lavish, for Madurai (where the song was shot) has a lot to offer visually.
Atrangi Re on many counts is Ranjhanaa revisited but is not Ranjhanaa, the efforts to get back to his strengths put Aanand L Rai back on the map following the Zero debacle.
True to its Tamil title -- Galatta Kalyanam -- the film has copious amounts of fun laced with love, tears and genuine courtship. When Dhanush shares his joy of his wife coming back to him to random strangers, you become one of them. That is how much you would root for him.

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